Iran wants its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) -- to peaceful nuclear research and nuclear power -- recognized by the United States. And it wants U.S.-UN sanctions lifted.
The United States wants more than verbal assurances that Iran is not building a bomb. We need intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities to assure us that she is not building an atom bomb.
As Reagan said, trust but verify.
Yet this seems not beyond the realm of possibility.
Despite the hysteria about Iran's "mad dash" to an atom bomb, Tehran has never tested a bomb and never produced the 90-percent-enriched uranium needed for a bomb, and does not have sufficient 20-percent uranium to further enrich for a bomb test.
Netanyahu's initial prediction that Iran was "three to five" years away from a bomb came -- in 1992. Since then we have been getting monthly updates on the imminence of the Iranian bomb, but no bomb.
Moreover, Khamenei has declared nuclear weapons anti-Islamic, and U.S intelligence agencies have never retracted their declarations of 2007 and 2011 that Iran has made no decision to build a bomb.
Rouhani's political future, the continued allegiance of his Iranian followers who want to re-engage with the West and the world, hangs on whether he can get a deal on Iran's nuclear program and a lifting of sanctions. He knows this.
What Rouhani cannot do is surrender Iran's rights to nuclear power and research. On this his nation is united. But he may be able to give the West what it requires, intrusive inspections, to prove that what Iran claims to be true is true -- that it has no nuclear weapons program.
If we can get that, we should be able to get a deal, and America can lift her sanctions, their objective having been achieved.
That would be the crown jewel of Obama's second term.
Who would be against such a deal? Bibi and the War Party that wants Iran smashed, as we smashed Iraq, even if that means another trillion-dollar unnecessary war.
Obama can, however, defeat the War Party coalition. He should congratulate Rouhani on his inauguration, declare his readiness for direct talks with Tehran, and appoint as negotiators national security hawks who want no war with Iran, but no Iranian atom bomb either.
History beckons. Obama should seize the moment.