Iran’s actions regularly capture global attention, but there remains too little understanding of the country’s internal priorities and politics. This includes Western governments seeking to negotiate directly with Iran. The words and actions of would-be negotiators – especially those in the United States and Europe – resonate loudly in Iran. After the long-haul diplomacy that led to the nuclear deal in 2015, the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran has pushed the mainstream of Iranian politics away from support for engaging with the West. Meanwhile, arguments put forward by political forces inside Iran that present themselves as protectors of the 1979 revolution have gained traction. If European capitals wish to advance their Iran policy, especially in light of the upcoming US presidential election, they should seek deeper insights into what influences decision-makers in Tehran.
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