There are few who will actually raise the point, however after 40 years of hostility, and with Iran being openly allied with Russia, those kind of people will remain decisively in the minority. However yes you are correct in assuming that the public opinion in America against Iran is much more lukewarm ittl than otl.I didn't just mean the perception of Iran within the population of the Neo-con geopolitics wonks, I mean among the general public of the west. In our world, while American conservatives and liberals are basically in agreement that Iran isn't a good place to live, there is a decent number of people (they tend to be liberals) who are aware that there are a large amount of people in the country who want political and social reform, and a smaller number understands that there even is some level of official recognition of these people by Iran's political system; Not much, it should be said, but it's democratic in comparison to the Saudis. How could it not have become a point during the US presidential campaign that Iran had just come out of its own elections with it's reformers winning in a landslide, for example?
Even if speeches to woo over the general public can't display a nuance about Iran, in their heads American political figures have to be thinking about ten or twenty years into the future; if their partisan line is to foam at the mouth for regime change in Iran whatever the cost, can they be sure they aren't just demanding something that's probably going to happen by itself anyway, with the cost of continuing to push Iran into Russia's arms? Russia will then have a Middle East ally that it will be able to rely on more and more as time goes on, as the two socially liberalise and accept more of the same ideological groundings. While the US is entangled with Saudi Arabia, an ally that already by that point is proven thoroughly unreliable and within which barely anything other than a total social 'reset' ala 1789 or 1917 will modify in the foreseeable future a society that the vast majority of Americans despise.
Surely somebody in the American foreign policy scene is thinking that the cost of rapprochement with Iran is worth it if it means pulling a potential valuable ally out of the Russian/Eurasian orbit? For now, I understand it being a minority position, but it couldn't be unthinkable, right?
Both. It was true for around 1990 to 1998, but after that, when the Stan's economies started to improve and more inter-CSTO and inter-CIS cooperation, they've pulled ahead as a fast growing economies.How is it redundant? Do you mean that the 'nugget of truth' about the post-soviet states factually just isn't there, or are you talking about their perception from abroad?