The question of engagement with the United States has, to varying degrees, been a domestic issue in Iran since the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution. It has emerged in recent years in connection to important events and junctures, particularly with regard to the Iranian nuclear program. In Iran, just as in the US, this issue serves as a tool in political struggles between the various camps and is raised when it furthers some political purpose or other.

The question of relations with Iran and policy toward its nuclear program played an important role in the election campaigns of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and will likely retain its centrality in the window of time that is left before Iran’s presidential elections in June. On the eve of the US elections, reports were published on contacts between US officials and senior Iranian officials including Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister and current adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on international affairs, who has also been mentioned as a presidential candidate.

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