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The nuclear agreement with Iran is a deal, not a grand bargain. In both Iran and America, the issue is a proxy for a more fundamental debate—in Tehran, about its identity—revolutionary state versus ordinary country—and relationship to the outside world; in Washington, about whether the U.S. objective toward Iran should be behavior change or regime change. This embedded status accounts for the protracted length of the negotiations and the sharply divergent reactions in the United States to the agreement.

About the Author

Robert S. Litwak image

Robert S. Litwak

Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies
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Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more

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