(CNN)History suggests that as countries get more integrated into the world and the global economy, they have fewer incentives to be spoilers and more to maintain stability. That is surely why so many hard-liners in Iran are opposed to the nuclear deal. They believe it will take Iran in the wrong direction, one that might soften the revolutionary edge of the regime.
Is Iran deal like China opening?
Of course, Iran will follow its national interests and sometimes these will conflict with U.S. policy sharply. But on the United States' most pressing challenges in the Middle East right now — the threat from the Islamic State and the stability of the Iraqi and Afghan governments — Iran and the United States actually have overlapping interests. (Yes, Iran is funding militias in Iraq and Syria, but they are the single most effective force on the ground that is fighting the Islamic State. Should it stop?) The sectarian war in the Middle East — being fueled by Sunnis as well as Shiites — will continue. But finally Washington and others can talk to both sides of the divide to try to broker a reduction of tensions.