In a hurriedly arranged telephone call, Mr. Obama reached Mr. Rouhani as the Iranian leader was headed to the airport to leave New York after a whirlwind news media and diplomatic blitz.
The two agreed to accelerate talks aimed at defusing the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and afterward expressed optimism at the prospect of a rapprochement that would transform the Middle East.This isn't rocket science. Obama needs to get his poll numbers back up and salvage the Syria disaster. The call was also beneficial--coming moments before his hastily arranged speech in the press room--as a contrast to the group he is currently refusing to negotiate with, his one true enemy the Tea Party.
Second-term presidents are all about legacy and this one wants to be the socialized medicine, spread-the-wealth, peace in the Middle East president. As for the Iranians, this is about strategy pure and simple.
The Ayatollahs run the country, not the 'presidents', who are mere figureheads chosen to address whatever threat they feel is on the horizon. When Bush the Cowboy was president the Iranians needed an attack dog to counter him, hence Ahmadinejad. Now that a quasi-Marxist has been reelected they feel less threatened so the world gets to see the kinder, gentler Rouhani. The long-term goals haven't changed.
These are the same people who arranged for the Khobar Towers to be blown up and might have had some hand in 9/11, while doing their best to disrupt military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Death to America is a normal chant in their ruling body, as was evidenced today upon Rouhani's return. As Krauthammer and others have said, they are clearly stalling for time to finish their nuke. As long as official diplomatic talks are proceeding it will be difficult for Israel to attack their centrifuges, especially if Obama is saying they have a right to peaceful nuclear power.
What does the US, the West, and Israel get from these talks? Diplomacy is designed to provide benefits for both sides. The Iranians surely get extra time and a de facto guarantee they won't be attacked for awhile. Unless this is part of the most clever ruse in military history, Obama gets a useful diversion and a short-term poll bump. But if he really cares about the fate of the region he needs to demand they stop enrichment NOW, before anymore hastily arranged phone calls or meetings occur. To quote John Kerry--this is not a game.