The election of Ahmadineyad as head of the Iranian state annoyed the Europeans who had bet for the election of Alí Rafsandjani. They were expecting these results to make new proposals to the Iranians. Ahmadineyad, in turn, who is supported by men and groups who want Iran to have a nuclear weapon, felt that his country was too weak to the Europeans. It is very unlikely that the old negotiation team remains intact and the discussions run the risk of starting from zero. Having said this, remember that the president is not the only one who makes decisions on nuclear issues: the leader of the revolution, the ayatollah Alí Jamenei, plays the role of a referee.
The election of Mahmud Ahmadineyad will provoke new tensions with Washington. While Rafsandjani was introduced as the man for reconciliation with the United States, the new president seems to adopt a stance that reminds that of North Korea: in short, as long as the U.S. remains hostile to Iran, he will not change his. I do not think, however, that risks for a U.S. military intervention have increased. Washington might turn to the Security Council before planning an attack.
The Iranians are playing with the time to set up a greater number of facilities and capacities that might be used to manufacture the bomb, but we should not consider in advance that the final decision would be to have the nuclear weapon. On the other hand, I do not think that the Europeans will be misled: Europe hopes that Tehran makes a rational decision between isolation, the sanctions and even a confrontation, or a new commitment within the international community.

Le Monde (France)

Trois questions à ... Bruno Tertrais”, by Bruno Tertrais, Le Monde, June 26, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.