The number one aspect hindering US-Iran relations is Washington’s naïveté in believing that Iran’s nuclear ambition and its regional ambitions are two separate matters that can be dealt with separately when in reality they’re one in the same. If the US really wants to settle the nuclear question once and for all with Iran, there needs to be a clear understanding between Tehran and the US of what Iran’s role is in the region, and how much can these two mutually tolerate each others sphere of influence in the region in the long road ahead (not being ignorant to how Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel would define their interests in such an arrangement). Leaving questions like Assad’s role in Syria, Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon, or what a governed and Unified Iraqi state looks like- leaving these questions dormant with only ambiguous answers and with an informal and undefined consensus will only ensure that Iran’s nuclear proliferation will be something imminent.
And a nuclear Iran is a Pandora’s box that can’t be shut. It promises the spread of nuclear proliferation into the gulf states- as many have signaled the idea of purchasing such a device from Pakistan should such a reality emerge. Demographically, these are countries comprised of a significant portion of young people, and significantly dependent on a welfare state that’s coming to terms with what it’s oil exports can provide, which seem bleak- we have no idea what type of sheiks are going to be incharge there in the coming years. It also ensure that the Israelis will act unilaterally if need be to defang this messanic regime from possessing such a device of which the consequences are unfathomable (The Iranians can simply throw a sea mine from the 50s into the strait of Hormuz and turn the world economy into a depression). It ultimately facilities a scenario where the US’s ability to project its influence in the region becomes more and more difficult. The ability to descalate such an scenario requires the diplomatic/military precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, but instead the United States is plagued on both sides of the political fence with think tanks who have a peverted Manichean outlook on global affairs, and have walked into the surgery and have diagnosed that the problem can be solved with a sledge hammer (let’s bomb the s**** out of them, destabilise all civil structures in their society whilst labeling it “democratisation,” and hope for the best).
The United States is reaching a point with the Middle East where it is on a path of no return of being sucked in the region in which it cannot disengage from, and from there American resources will bleed until it’s standing in the global pecking results in a multilateral world inheriting the contemporary arrangement of US hegemony. Make no mistake, this is what Russia wants, what China wants, even what ISIS wants- an America that’s bogged down in democracy building and regime change in the Middle East, which is an America all to busy to hault Russia’s consolidations in its near abroad and whatever fantasy China has in the South China sea.