Iran elects a new president

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It is interesting that while a number of candidates were prevented from running in the presidential campaign, Rowhani was included in the list of candidates who could run. It is equally interesting that many Iranians who supported earlier reform candidates supported Rowhani and instead of boycotting the election, they chose to participate and celebrated his victory.

My hope is that the U.S. and Iranian governments would attempt to seek diplomatic solutions, with each testing the other's good faith, with the hope of beginning with modest confidence-building agreements that could phase in simultaneous lifting of sanctions against Iran and constructive Iranian actions to achieve nuclear accords, as well as an end to the carnage in Syria. 

There are major differences between the U.S. and Iran. There are real dangers that face both nations. There are major economic challenges facing the peoples of the U.S. and Iran. And there is too much war and hatred and violence that plague the Middle East, which hurts everyone from Tehran to Tel Aviv and from Damascus to Gaza. 

Given the magnitude of the challenges and dangers, we should hold no illusions that the road ahead will be easy. It will not be easy. 

But those who believe that making life better for people throughout the region that is home to great religions of the world is preferable to endless carnage and poverty and death should agree to "test the waters" and explore whether new possibilities are created by the election of a new Iranian president.