Last Saturday, incoming Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted approvingly that "131 [U.S.] Congressmen have signed a letter calling on President #Obama to give peace a chance with Iran's new president #Rouhani." He followed it later in the day with a tweet announcing, "National Security & Foreign Policy Committee of Iran's Majlis [parliament] to look into potential change in US approach to Iran presstv.ir/detail/2013/07…"
Set aside for a moment the fact that the incoming Iranian President tweets. Rouhani's move to highlight a largely symbolic letter by a powerless group of House Democrats is part of his broader effort to shore up Iranian political support for improved relations with the U.S. And it shows just how big an atmospheric shift is under way in Iranian diplomacy in the wake of Rouhani's election. Whether the change is just atmospheric, or is something more substantive, is a key question for President Obama as he decides how to respond to Rouhani's outreach.