The Misery Index is the sum of the inflation, interest, and unemployment rates, minus the annual percentage change in per capita GDP. It provides a clear picture of the economic conditions facing Iranians.
Everything depends on whether Tehran, and not just President Hassan Rouhani, is serious. No surprise, many analysts -- and more importantly, paladins of Capitol Hill -- remain skeptical. And that doubt has fueled efforts to impose new sanctions, which would impede if not kill efforts to reach a final accord.
All around me, from pundits to presidents, I hear fear of, and loathing for, Vladimir Putin. I do not believe that that's the proper attitude, and I base my opinion on what I've learned from three men, Pat Buchanan, Igor Makunin and Dmitry Medvedev.
Iran must now cope with the new reality, which may well explain why Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and why its efforts in this regard will set Israel further apart from Tehran, rather than bring them together to form an unholy axis.
By next year this time we should have a better picture into his intentions. Till then, Rouhani is certainly a breath of fresh in the Islamic Republic's repertoire of failed Presidents.
Seeking to discourage a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel threatened military action against Iran and dared others to do the same.
If Iran's new president is really interested in fulfilling his campaign promise of alleviating international sanctions and reducing tensions with the world, one bold step could be meeting with President Barack Obama during the upcoming UN General Assembly.
The power of hope in Iran cannot be overstated and the electing of Rouhani is a symbol of both the progress that has been made and the progress that is still to come.
Only a few hours following Rouhani's victory, too many governments directly tackled the nuclear issue within the few lines of their communiqués. The Iranians just got out of an election, Rouhani won: congratulations!
Those data that are reported tend to possess what I've described as an "Alice in Wonderland" quality. In light of this, it is fair to suggest that any official data on Iran's inflation be taken with a grain of salt. So, how can this problem be overcome?
As the elections signified, it is the Iranian people who will ultimately shape the destiny of Iran. And it is the Iranian people who have borne the brunt of sanctions, and it is these human impacts that must always be at the forefront of U.S. sanctions policy considerations.
Iran is not a democracy, its elections have little to no bearing on the critical issues the country faces, and its leadership and corrupt political system deserve none of the credit that comes with the conduct of a free vote.
A reformist government is Iran's best bet for an exodus from the current economic hardship, for changing Iranians' political status from duty-bound minors to full citizens, and to establish a democratic regime worthy of such citizens.
Iran is located in the middle of a region which is on the edge of conflagration. A destabilization of the regime would not only undermine the stability of its power; it would also put the Iranian nation at stake and potentially collapse the regional balances of power.
Iran is Exhibit #1 for the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists gaining control of government. Iranian repression is increasing and the space available to regime opponents is diminishing.
Americans need to stop pointing the finger at the "bad guys" Washington is so keen to warn us about, and start paying attention to their own government's crimes.