Even prior to the nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif had publicly cited addressing differences with neighboring countries and returning stability to the region as being among their priorities. Four themes in Iranian policy, and the roles they could play in moving forward, are important in understanding the nature of this outreach.
Acknowledging the dead end ahead
In the past, Tehran’s receiving an offer to talk from a regional rival meant that its opponent’s military effort had reached a dead end. Iran understands the psychological importance of such a moment and its role on the future of a crisis. The preconditions set for resolving various regional crises have done nothing but extend and deepen disaster.
Zarif and Rouhani have frequently said that no military solution is feasible in resolving regional issues and therefore seek alternative means of crisis management. In this vein, realization on the part of Iran’s rivals that the current approach only leads to a dead end could pave the way for Iran and other countries to find new solutions to their issues.
Iran appears eager to dissuade sectarian rhetoric and the narratives on which they are based to avoid escalation on the ground. Ever since religious identity became a driving force in regional politics, crises in the Middle East have become broader and more entrenched. In such an atmosphere, the Middle East’s major players have faced mounting challenges in terms of regional stability and the impact of the latter on internal security.