- Europeans wish to persuade Iran to compromise on strategic issues – but, unless they understand the dynamics of domestic Iranian politics, they will not get far.
- Three main power blocs compete to influence Iran’s supreme leader, including the ‘modernisers’, who were instrumental in building the case internally for the nuclear deal. The US ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has placed them on the back foot.
- Improving the economy remains the most pressing issue in Iran. Without a Western economic offer, the other two power blocs – the conservative ‘Principlists’ and IRGC-linked ‘securocrats’ – will continue their recent ascendancy and press for a confrontational ‘maximum resistance’ response.
- Immediately after the US presidential election, Europeans should embark on shuttle diplomacy with Washington and Tehran to agree an interim deal on the nuclear issue. This could also strengthen modernisers ahead of Iran’s own presidential race in 2021.