So the potential for threat from Iran is the same as it was a week ago. The media narrative will flog incessantly the theory that it isn’t, but the truth will be that nothing has changed in that regard.
What we do not want to undersell, however – any more than we want to oversell it – is the expansion of possibilities that will come with increased, and competitive, engagement by European and Asian powers with Iran. Although we can predict with some certainty how nuclear negotiations will go in the near future, what we cannot predict is either how important they will be as a nexus for relations with Iran, or what other influences and pressures will come into play. We can’t count on those pressures and influences being marshaled and unified through U.S policy – and that means that decision factors for everyone, including terrorists and other non-state actors, will be more diverse, and not less.
Perhaps perception shouldn’t be able to produce such important outcomes. But in the case of Hassan Rohani’s election, the perception meets a preexisting need, one felt by many nations. The dynamics unleashed in a global response to this perception will change the game – whether Iran wants them to or not.