Now after the phone call…

Now after the phone call between Pres Obama and Rouhani, the AP morning news had this analysis:

The Guard is something of the Pentagon, CIA and Wall Street rolled into one. Its reach extends deep into Iran’s economy through investment arms and front companies. These, too, have suffered under Western sanctions, which have included black-listing Iran from international banking systems.

Guard leaders may insist that Iran can ride out any kind of economic squeeze, but the numbers say otherwise. Iran’s inflation and unemployment are rising and — perhaps more so than political crackdowns — the stumbling economy risks feeding widespread dissent.

This may be the overriding reason for Khamenei’s green light to Rouhani’s overtures. The Guard’s leadership also does not want to be seen as blocking a chance at easing the U.S.-led sanctions.

It’s uncertain whether Washington will decide to pull back some of the embargoes as part of step-by-step bargaining in nuclear talks. Iran, too, has given offered no concrete plans on what it would do in return to address Western concerns over the country’s nuclear program.

But Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the “very different tone” from Iran could open up a new course in the negotiations, last held in April after a series of dead-end rounds. Other exchanges, including letters between Obama and Rouhani, hinted that the outreach is not only confined to the nuclear standoff and could open room for deeper contacts on many overlapping issues, including perhaps Syria’s civil war.

Sounds remarkably similar to my last blog. Let’s hope Rouhani continues with positive actions and ignoring the “Death to America” crowd. We shall see.

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