(from my [poorly-written] post on a recent openDemocracy forum)
The Iranian elections signal a good measure of hope for the country and the region. Ahmadinejad campaigned (to a narrow win in 2005) on a populist platform and spent it all on embarrassing Iranians with his belligerent rhetoric and antics that, I think, draw instant parallels vis-à-vis the United States and Bush.
It is clear that the Iranian people want to defang their renegade president and hopefully steer their future toward a more moderate standing viz. the U.S., if not outright reform. There is still room for good-faith negotiations; there is also still plenty of time. If they have no (perceived) reason to acquire a nuclear deterrent, they probably won’t have one.
Iran, to be sure, is not a free country. But the youth there are said to be quite pro-Western and pro-American, and that’s very good. A crucial mistake would be to further isolate the country, including signs like that as well as the now-defunct reformist movements that can be jump-started, by screwing this up with further steps of aggressive threat and covert war-plans. Iraq is a basket-case next to this.