US-Iran Rapprochement Signals Low War Risks, For Now
BMI View: Latest developments point to a notable impr ovement in relations between Iran and the West. Although a major breakthrough in negotiations on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme appears off the cards for the time being , risks of an Israeli military attack against Iran have declined significantly over the short term . W e have recently raised Iran's short-term political risk rating to 49.6 out of 100 from 42.5 previously as a result.
In our latest article on Iran's politics we wrote that, as a result of the victory of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani in presidential elections held on June 14, Tehran would likely adopt more conciliatory tones towards the West. Therefore, we believed that confidence in the West for a negotiated solution to the stand-off on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme would increase ( see 'Presidential Election: Improved International Climate', June 17). Indeed, Rouhani has repeatedly called for constructive interaction with the world, a significant shift in tone compared to the stridently anti-Western rhetoric of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the latest development, Rouhani vowed on September 18 that his government would never develop nuclear weapons, and reiterated that he has complete authority to negotiate a nuclear deal with Western powers. Importantly, Rouhani gave responsibility for nuclear negotiations to newly appointed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, a US-educated diplomat and former ambassador to the United Nations. Zarif is widely respected in Western diplomatic circles, and is seen as a credible partner to engage in negotiations.
Positive Signals From The Supreme Leader
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