NEW YORK -- The agreement constitutes an important political and diplomatic milestone, and it contains more detail and is broader in scope than many anticipated. But, for all that, the text leaves unanswered at least as many questions as it resolves. In reality, major issues have yet to be settled. It is closer to the truth to say the real debate about the Iran nuclear accord is just beginning.
Today's young generation in Iran does not know the history of this coup; it is the stolen narrative of the Iranian revolution. Many people do not know that the current regime of repression and corruption is not a result of the Shah's overthrow but an outcome of a coup against the goals and guiding principles of the revolution.
Most people think that the recent fracas between Jerusalem and Washington is about Iran. They are wrong. Israel has what it takes to turn much of Iran into a radioactive desert. Nor are the mullahs unaware of that fact. It is about Netanyahu playing the Jewish-American card for the upcoming elections in Israel.
It should be mentioned that in response to my protest against massive vote rigging during the first election of the parliament after the Revolution, Khomeini told me in a private conversation that people have no vote whatsoever and that we only conduct such elections in order to close the mouths of Westerners.
Not only does Khamenei approve the Geneva Accord, he also supports the resolution of the standoff over Iran's nuclear program in an equitable and just framework, one in which Iran's nuclear rights are respected and the economic sanctions are lifted, in return for Iran's guarantee of not pursuing nuclear weapons
Much to the West's chagrin, Iran continues to find a market for its crude, and while sanctions on the oil and banking sectors may have a temporarily crippling effect, Iran's bounty of natural gas may mean its people laugh all the way to the bank. The country's gas reserves are second only to Russia.
President Obama has announced a strategy for fighting ISIS that, in many respects, is at odds with the interests of the allies in the Middle East whose support he is seeking. Trying to keep his allies happy and in line with the new ISIS battle has trapped the U.S. in a policy full of contradictions.
Pundits who attribute the current war between Israel and the Palestinians to a changing Middle East landscape caused by Iran and its 1979 Revolution ignore the most important factors contributing to the present horrible situation, namely, the changed political landscape in Israel, and Israel's immunity from international laws.
Rouhani is angry because Khamenei and his supporters have blocked him from implementing his program and opening up the political system, giving more freedom to the people. On August 13, Rouhani said, "I am aware that some people are done opposing me in their think tanks and are now opposing me in practice."
We do not need to become an "ally" of Iran, but we should recognize that we will need to provide military support to the Iraqi government in the time ahead and, indeed, our special forces are already on the ground there. Iran will do the same. We will therefore have U.S. security activities alongside those of Iran in the Iraqi national battlespace. We should at least discuss the situation, and at a minimum, de-conflict our activities, from special forces advisors to airstrikes.
Diplomacy in war and peace negotiations requires strategy and patience, not an illusory quick fix. Diplomacy is messy, often involving difficult compromises with unseemly governments. But it is also how the vast majority of international crises are actually resolved -- through negotiation rather than through the barrel of a gun. Those are worthy lessons to remember after the Iraq and Afghan wars.