Thirty-six years have elapsed since the Iranian revolution of 1978/79 toppled the Shah’s pro-Western monarchy and spawned Ayatollah Khomeini’s theocratic pluralist Islamic regime, with an anti-American and anti-Israeli posture. Placing Iran between the "sovereignty of God" and the "sovereignty of people," the regime has continually been confronted with major domestic and foreign policy challenges. Whilst the regime has proved resilient and has survived these challenges, Iranian society has paid a high price. The June 2013 election of moderate-reformist President Hassan Rouhani has finally brought the Islamic Republic of Iran face-to-face with the need for domestic reforms, based on foreign policy flexibility that could enable it to secure a major breakthrough with the United States. In the era of President Barack Obama, who has been keen to reach out to Tehran for a diplomatic resolution of the two sides’ differences, especially in relation to the Iranian nuclear program, the prospects for a breakthrough, based on mutual need and vulnerability, appear as good as they can get. What has made the Islamic Republic so resilient? What can be expected of a possible US-Iranian rapprochement in the region?
RSVP to Angella Matheney.