Select media and Iran experts had a rare face-to-face with the Iranian president last week. Fareed Zakaria mentioned it on his Sunday GPS program. Here, Friedman gives his takeaway on what to think about Iran’s President Rouhani:
1) He’s not here by accident. That is, this Iranian charm offensive is not because Rouhani, unlike his predecessor, went to charm school. Powerful domestic pressures have driven him here.
2) We are finally going to see a serious, face-to-face negotiation between top Iranian and American diplomats over Iran’s nuclear program.
3) I have no clue and would not dare predict whether these negotiations will lead to a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.
4) The fact that we’re now going to see serious negotiations raises the stakes considerably. It means that if talks fail, President Obama will face a real choice between military action and permanent sanctions that could help turn Iran into a giant failed state.
5) Pray that option 2 succeeds.
Which leads to the question–Is Rouhani sincere? Can we know now?