U.S. should seek detente with Iran to give pragmatists ability to moderate radicals
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The most effective way for Washington to resolve this uncertainty in its favor would be to practice more imaginative diplomacy. That would require more than a policy shift; it would require a paradigm shift. Guided by the notion of containment, U.S. policymakers have long seen the normalization of relations as the end result of a long process of negotiations. But with a new policy of engagement, normalization would have to be the starting point of talks; it would then facilitate discussions on issues such as nuclear weapons and terrorism. A strategy that seeks to create a web of mutually reinforcing security and economic arrangements has the best chance of tying Iran to the status quo in the region. In essence, a new situation would be created in which Tehran's relationship with Washington would be more valuable to the regime than either its ties to Hezbollah or its pursuit of nuclear arms.To provoke such a change, Washington must strengthen the hands of the pragmatists in Tehran by offering Iran relief from sanctions and diplomatic relations. Washington's recognition of Iran's regional status and deepened economic ties with the West might finally enable the pragmatists to push Khamenei to marginalize the radicals who insist that only confrontation with the United States can allow Iran to achieve its national objectives.
In addition to accomplishing its limited aims of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the nuclear deal benefits U.S. interests in the region by opening up the possibility for greater cooperation with the Iranian regime to handle mutual threats such as the spread of ISIS.