I would say that this counts as a more conciliatory posture from our side starting to bear fruit:
With campaigns for the June 12 presidential election in full swing, none of the three challengers have shied away from publicly criticizing Ahmadinejad on topics long considered off-limits for debate in Iran, such as his stance on the country’s nuclear program and his vitriol for Israel. Reformist challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi accused the president of so sullying the nation that Iranian passports are now on par with those of Somalia, the African state that has become a hub of poverty, piracy and terrorism. […]
Mehdi Karroubi, another liberal challenger, took on the president’s handling of the nuclear program, which Iran says is aimed at civilian energy production but the West believes is meant to eventually produce weapons. Karroubi said Tehran needed to be more transparent and rational in pursuing its goals abroad.
This is one of the virtues of expressing a clear desire for an improved relationship with Iran. Doing so lowers the temperature over there and opens up political space for disagreement about foreign policy objectives. It also clarifies that there’s a real upside to responsible behavior, and a real downside to pushing the envelope on nuclear issues.