South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al-Monitor on what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani can expect at this years UN General Assembly:
NEW YORK — When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to New York last year for his debut at the UN General Assembly, there was optimism that a fundamental shift between the United States and Iran was at hand.
Rouhani seemed the ideal interlocutor for the administration of President Barack Obama because of his stature as a pragmatic pillar of the Iranian regime, strong showing in presidential elections and record of diplomatic achievement when he was a top nuclear negotiator a decade ago.
But as Rouhani returns to the annual gabfest on the East River, it is no longer sufficient for him to be the anti-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While Iran is certainly in a better position now than it was under Rouhani’s dysfunctional predecessor, the Iranian leader has yet to achieve a long-term nuclear agreement that would definitely ease international economic sanctions against Iran and permit its full integration into a still heavily US-influenced global power structure.