This morning as I was jogging I remembered what it was like to go for a jog in Iran. The stifling plastic garment called a "badgyr" (wind catcher) I had to wear over my body in order to look gender neutral, lest the gaze of a male graze my way.
Any objective perspective on Iran has to step back to include its opponents in the overview. Why is it that the loudest yelps against Iran's alleged nuclear capability come from Israel, a state that itself has a large nuclear arsenal?
Yesterday Hassan Rouhani was sworn in as Iran's new president thus putting an end to the volatile Ahmadinejad era. There are many issues that separate Iran and the United States -- the most urgent one that needs to be addressed is the nature of Iran's nuclear program.
Those of us who have long been Iran-watchers were elated by the June election of moderate Hassan Rouhani to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of the Islamic Republic. But the sad thing is, President Obama is not prepared to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
In an Israeli-Iranian confrontation, who would their leaders call? How would they communicate? There may be backchannels but these are slow, cumbersome and unreliable. The danger of a catastrophe would be unacceptably high.
All the players (Iran, the P5+1, and Israel) have for years been using the Iranian nuclear question for their own political purposes. Although most informed experts believe there is no imminent danger from the Iranian nuclear project, there is a dangerous, ongoing, global political game.
To better resist Iran's nuclear ambitions, powerful nations like the United States should employ methods that will not perpetuate conflict, hinder the global economy or violate state sovereignty. Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities will do all of the above.
The country is essentially facing two critical -- and opposing -- timelines. In one the Islamic Republic of Iran acquires the nuclear bomb. In the other, freedom and democracy take root in Iran. Which will it be?