Friday, August 05, 2005

Iran: What Does Ahmadi-Nejad's Victory Mean?

Middle East Briefing N°18
Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad's presidency may aggravate tensions between Iran and the West, and the U.S. in particular. But it would be unwise to act upon hasty conclusions about the new leader. The new president won with populist economic appeals and conservative establishment support and is indifferent at best to improved U.S. relations, but major foreign policy decisions are not made by the president. Iran is governed by complex institutions and competing power centres that favour continuity over change. Bottom line positions on the nuclear program, Iraq policy and other regional interests likely will not vary. Ahmadi-Nejad may diminish Washington's slim appetite for engagement, but with the Iraq situation bad and the Baghdad government reaching out to Tehran, need for direct or indirect coordination will only become greater. If nuclear talks with Europe break down, absence of U.S. engagement would make chances for real nuclear resolution -- remote as they may be -- nil.


Blogger Joe Matthews said...

I think it's clear that one of Iran's interests for the near term is bringing their country farther from the current proximity to failed state status. I'm sure this guy will try hard to make the place better. That can only help us.


12:41 PM  

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