There are eight common elements in the two big breakthrough stories on Iran and Syria from New York on Sept. 26.

First, both crises are in the Middle East, a region racked by turmoil and upheaval since the outbreak of the Arab Spring two years ago. The regional fault lines, and the ways in which they connect to global major power fault lines, have been deeply unsettled and the contours of the new Middle East are anything but clear.

Second, both crises have been about weapons of mass destruction, nuclear (Iran) and chemical (Syria). Iran is party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but has long been suspected of using its technology-accessing benefits as a cover to acquire and develop components, material, facilities and skills to be just one screwdriver away from the bomb if and when it chooses to cross the threshold. Iran reiterated its abhorrence and rejection of nuclear weapons. Syria has agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).