Nuclear deal with Iran presents chance of change in alliances and rivalries that have dominated the region's politics
Under Rouhani Tehran’s clerical regime might now see the benefit of negotiating solutions to the region’s problems
The interim deal between six leading world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme, agreed in late-night talks last weekend, could – if it bears fruit in the long term – transform the wider region; it could redraw the map of an area that has been gripped by conflict or the threat of conflict for generations.
In the midst of a growing schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East, fuelled by the war in Syria, an agreement that reduces the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, sanctioned by the US, presents enormous possibilities as well as potential threats.
The first and most obvious benefit of the deal, ignored by Israel's hawkish prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, his allies in the US Congress and Saudi Arabia, is that the diplomacy that led to the interim six-month agreement is the first indication that under the new president, Hassan Rouhani, Tehran's clerical regime might now see the benefit of negotiating solutions to the region's problems, rather than its previous angry posturing under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad