The Heat explores how US, Iran can find common ground

The Heat

Iran RouhaniIran’s President Hassan Rouhani leaves after a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create “a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region.” He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

It’s been 35 years since relations between the United States and Iran imploded during the Iran hostage crisis and bilateral relations have been confrontational ever since. As the United States is now leading a war against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, there may be some new common ground between the U.S. and Iran.

Both nations share a joint interest in defeating ISIL. At the recent United Nations meeting in New York, U.S. Secretary John Kerry said that in the fight against the Islamic State, “There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran.”

But Iran and the U.S. are also engaged in sensitive talks over the future of Iran’s nuclear program. At the same U.N. meetings last week, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, hinted that any cooperation in fighting ISIL hinges on a nuclear deal.

“A final accord regarding Iran’s peaceful nuclear program can serve as the beginning of multilateral collaboration aimed at promoting security, peace and development in our region and beyond.” -Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama is sending his own signals.

“My message to Iran’s leaders and people has been simple and consistent: do not let this opportunity pass. We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful.” -Barack Obama

Any potential cooperation between the United States and Iran is also being watched very closely by Israel, which insists that Iran should never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Israel says a nuclear Iran would pose an even greater danger to the region.

“ISIS must be defeated, but to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu.

Is Washington softening its stance towards Iran to win its cooperation in dealing with ISIL? The Heat was joined by American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett who has 25 years of experience in U.S. foreign policy.

The Heat also spoke to Raymond Tanter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University.

Addressing Iran’s plan for the dramatic rise of the Islamic State, The Heat also spoke to Mohamad Marandi, the dean of faculty of world studies at the University of Tehran.