Achieving a long-term deal in the next five months requires not just negotiating with the P5+1, but also winning the battle against [President Rouhani's] critics at home. His real challenge, therefore, goes beyond reaching a deal with the West or selling it to Iran’s middle class. It is to convince the poor and working class that there is something for them at stake in a rapprochement with the West.
Although the first semester of the 2013/14 academic year is coming to a close on campus and residential students are finishing up coursework and preparing for the break, the timelines are more asynchronous for students registered for 10 currently running online offerings. This batch of 10 consists of courses and modules launched by HarvardX at different times during the Fall of 2013.
Continuing his trip through the region, Gary Samore writes in from Saudi Arabia:
On the Iran nuclear issue, I was struck that the Saudis are less concerned with the details of the nuclear negotiations and more with how the nuclear issue fits into the broader geopolitical threat they perceive from Iran. Unlike Israelis, who see the Iranian nuclear program as an existential threat, the Saudis see the Islamic Republic itself as an existential threat.
The interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program holds important implications not only for international security and global affairs but for domestic Iranian politics as well. The deal has preserved and broadened the support base of President Hassan Rouhani’s administration—one that was already the most plural and cross-factional in the history of the revolution. It has also furthered the rebalancing of the Iranian elite toward moderate political forces and kept open the door for the possibility of meaningful economic and political reforms in the future. How this transformative process unfolds though will largely depend on both the developments that occur regarding a final nuclear deal as well as the political fissures and interplay among the elite and the populace. The domestic implications of a final comprehensive settlement, however, would be tremendous.
I am leaving Israel more concerned than when I arrived. The level of distrust and anxiety among Israeli officials over the Iran deal is worse than I expected. . . . Whatever progress is made (in upcoming U.S.-Israeli deliberations), the suspicion and mistrust will linger. And, as one Israeli said to me, 'Bibi thinks he can play the Congressional card.' That's a dangerous card to play.
The interim deal with Iran on its nuclear program has prompted some legitimate questions about whether such a deal is in the interest of Israel, a vital US ally. I joined eight other former American ambassadors to Israel and former under secretaries of State in writing a letter that answers that question: We believe the interim deal is very much in Israel’s interest as well as that of the United States. Our key points are these:
By his own metric that he famously set using a red marker and homemade bomb drawing at the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have welcomed the interim deal signed last week in Geneva—rather than deriding it as a “historic mistake.” If Iran fully implements the agreement, the country's entire stockpile of 20% enriched uranium—which Bibi singled out using his "red line"—will be eliminated by mid-2014.