FROM Karim Sadjadpour
A Moment of Opportunity in US-Iranian Relations? America's rapprochement with Cuba has changed international diplomacy and domestic politics. Could Iran be next? President Obama recently told NPR that Iran has "incredible talent and resources and sophistication" — if it could "break through its isolation." President Hassan Rouhani recently took on his country's hardliners in a speech of "jaw-dropping boldness." That has some diplomats and reporters talking about a nuclear deal that could be a game-changer. Is that wishful thinking? Would Congress and America's allies, including Israel, find it unacceptable?
US and Iran Talk after Three Decades of Silence President Obama spoke by phone last week with the new President of Iran, who was in New York for the United Nations' opening session. It was the first such conversation since Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries took over the US Embassy in Tehran 35 years ago. Only 10 years ago, a journalist in Iran could be sent to prison for even advocating such a thing. Despite years of suppression of political protest, both supporters and demonstrators turned out when Hassan Rouhani arrived home on Saturday. Karim Sadjadpour is senior associate in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace .
America's Tangled Diplomacy in the Middle East In Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, diplomats from some 50 countries are meeting this week on the future of Iraq . Prime Minister al-Maliki is under intense pressure, asking forgiveness of $50 billion in debt rolled up by Saddam Hussein while trying to show he can hold on to his own job. Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Syria's foreign minister--the countries' most senior diplomatic contact since 2005, when the US pulled its ambassador from Damascus after the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister. Rice may also meet her Iranian counterpart, but there are new problems with Saudi Arabia. Will King Abdullah help Iraq rebuild by forgiving debts racked up by Saddam Hussein? Is America's most important Arab ally trying to distance itself from US interests in the Middle East?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.