The west is clear in broad terms what it wants from Iran: an end to support for terrorism, improved human rights, responsible criticism of the Arab-Israeli peace process and nuclear non-proliferation. Iran, for its part, would like to see a lifting of US sanctions, recognition of its strategic and economic importance in west Asia and an acknowledgement of past, imperialist, actions against Iran.
More speciﬁcally, there are issues on which Iran has legitimate security interests, where western policy formulation and understanding are needed. In particular, on Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, on a shared security system in the Gulf and on Iran’s need for a strategic deterrent. It is certainly possible to envisage reasonable, and lasting, understandings on all these. It is far from clear, given the prevailing political situation in Tehran and Washington, and the volatility of the region from Kabul to Tel Aviv, whether this can be achieved or, if achieved, sustained.