As the United States and Iran negotiate the final stages of a nuclear deal, they are still oceans apart on another area of conflict: the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad seems more likely to survive the Syrian crisis than at any point since it began four years ago. Iran’s support is as solid as ever to its confident-looking ally in Damascus.

The days when Assad was largely absent from view and his mere appearance was news have given way to almost daily reports on his activities; recent visitors included four French members of parliament who defied their government’s policy to see him. […]