News has just come in that Iran's Grand Ayatollah Montazeri passed away today, a leader of the reformist movement who was first picked by the Assembly of Experts to succeed Imam Khomeini in 1985. This decision was later rescinded in 1989 as it became obvious his sympathies toward the reformist movement were out of line with Iran's hard liners. So the current Supreme Leader was chosen instead, Seyyed Khamenei. Montazeri was watched closely by the leaders of the Islamic Republic for the rest of his life
With the recent Iran elections foretelling the mixed opinion on where Iran is to go in the future, President Barack Obama has gained a good amount of diplomatic leverage in regards to Iran. It's clear a good number of Iranian citizens would like to see some sort of change, how much and at what cost are key elements crucial to United States foreign policy. A hasty decision, faulty analysis, or miscommunication could literally wipe out beyond repair any thought of Iran coming to the table to discuss its nuclear energy program.
The players in this ongoing saga are many, with all sides developing strong cases to base their arguments on in the months to come. On one side you have Iran's Supreme Leader Seyyed Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the student reform movement keeping thses two honest. On the other side is President Barack Obama surrounded by a Jewish-American community that has been very vocal in wanting the Obama administration to put as much pressure as possible on Iran to stop their nuclear program. In recent months since the Iranian elections, Iran's leadership has been very cognizant of the fact that the court of international opinion may play a roll in how much pressure will be applied. They have softened their stance and numerous issues.