There are two overriding reasons for a bold US response. First, Iran’s opening is a reflection of the democratic will of its people, as expressed in the June elections, which demonstrated that Iranians want to rejoin the full international community and develop their economy unhampered by the sanctions they have endured for a decade. But there are limits to this popular support for constructive engagement and to the leadership’s embrace of it. It is conditional on US acceptance of the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic and its right to a peaceful nuclear program. And it is limited by the fact that hard-line regime elements would be happy to use a lack of US good faith as a reason to roll back this democratic-based opening. (more…)

But where both of these worldviews equally miss the plot is precisely the dehumanising of the other side. None of which was in the square, and which is so urgently needed now. The MB need to recall, for example, that many of those who protest against Mr. Morsi today, are the same people who defended the MB when they were in jails under Mubarak. More radical supporters of the opposition also need to recognize that while the MB are their political adversaries, they are an integral part of the Egyptian political arena, and must be viewed as such. (more…)

Not only many countries are trying to use the situation to further their own interests, but also some such as the Romney campaign are trying to use the matter for their own special interests. And so it is, that the Romney team is making secret promises of a deal should it be elected and the Islamic Republic not make an agreement before the November Presidential elections in the US., while openly shouting its determination for a war on Iran. (more…)

Emadi: We don’t need a miracle. It is more prudent to not lose hope since we seem to be moving out of the chapter of pessimism and into a new chapter of cooperation. Although taking small and slow steps, but taking steps nonetheless. Even if a miracle happens in Baghdad, it is because of hope for the triumph of wisdom … hope that at the moment of truth, helping hands will reach out to hold one another … hope that the right words will be spoken during these peace talks, quietly, constructively and far away from tensions and chaos. (more…)

The alternative to a diplomatic soft landing is a war that shatters the ethnic mosaic in Syria. It’s easy to imagine Sunni militias gaining control of central cities such as Homs, Hama and Idlib, while Alawites retreat to parts of Damascus and Latakia province in the north. Assad might still claim to be president in this scenario, but he would be little more than a warlord (albeit one with access to chemical weapons). It’s a grim scenario in which Western air power would have limited effect. (more…)