The June 30 deadline for the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group -- the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany -- to reach a comprehensive agreement has once again been extended. Both the supporters and opponents of the agreement in Iran and the United States have intensified their efforts. But a speech on June 23 by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has attracted wide international attention.
Iranian officials have on numerous occasions insisted that sanctions relief must come immediately upon the signing of an agreement. This has been at direct odds with the position of the U.S. government and its allies, who insist that relief only can come after Iran has taken numerous steps limiting its nuclear activities.
Qassem Soleimani, Iranian military leader, ideologue, and commander in chief of the Quds force- a branch of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps that conducts extraterritorial military and clandestine operations- has been coming out of his shell and becoming more vocal in stating his opinions.
Instead of negotiating with Iran, Israel and the Gulf States would have preferred the US to have conducted air strikes on that country, even if those strikes would have only temporarily set back Iran's nuclear program. The real interest in these regional rivals is to weaken Iran in any way possible.
After thirty-six years of mutual satanization, it is easy to advance pessimistic arguments and to be doubtful about a future in which Iran and the United States will no longer be enemies. However, the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of a final nuclear accord demonstrate the fiction of the idea of permanent enemies destined to be in conflict with each other.