But Iran must do its part to make any future dialogue with the US a success. In talks with members of Iran’s policy community, I am continually astounded that they see resolving the nuclear conflict (or, indeed, other problems in which Iran has a stake) to be primarily the responsibility of the US, Europe, and other major powers, not of Iran.
Such passivity is not in Iran’s interest. As the Middle East’s essential regional player, Iran can trigger and heat up conflicts as well as contribute to their solution. Yet few in the Iranian establishment understand that being the leading regional power brings responsibility; and that only responsible behavior can create legitimacy and acceptance that Iran craves. Iranian policymakers must, therefore, try to develop their own ideas for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear and other regional security issues, as well as to think about how Iran can rebuild trust in its actions.