At the ofﬁcial level, certainly in the Iranian foreign ministry, caution prevails. Among those preoccupied with interpreting Washington’s intentions in the region, US conduct in Iraq manifests lack of knowledge, not to say prejudice, as much as it points to material interest in access to oil and reconstruction contracts. The worry, even for those otherwise reasonably well disposed towards America and its people, is that neo-conservative ideology may prevail over old-fashioned realpolitik in Washington.
This at least was how Iran’s predicament looked during a recent visit with colleagues from Chatham House. Our conversations were not conﬁned to talks with ofﬁcials and intellectuals in Tehran. We also ventured further aﬁeld and visited Mashad, near the eastern border with Afghanistan. There we met students and faculty at the Department of Law and Science at Mashad University.