Iran Is Getting Away with Murder

(Atlantic) Jeffrey Goldberg - Since becoming president, Obama has made the argument that Iran could be induced, cajoled, and pressured into compromise. Yet so far, the Iranians seem unwilling to make the truly creative concessions necessary to meet the West's minimum requirements. Iran seems as interested as ever in becoming a regional hegemon, on its own terms. And its supreme leader, and his closest confidants, have made it clear, over and over again, that he is not interested in normalizing relations with the U.S. Iran supports Shiite insurrections in Yemen and Bahrain; it attempts to manipulate Lebanese politics through Hizbullah; it intervenes in Gaza; and unceasingly threatens to eradicate Israel, suggesting that Ayatollah Khamenei has a vision that differs from Obama's. Gary Samore, a former Obama administration official who was in charge of the National Security Council's Iran nuclear file, told me this month: "Confronting Iran forcefully in Syria and Iraq increases chances for a nuclear deal because Iran will only meet our nuclear demands if it feels weak and vulnerable. Conversely, Iran's sense that it is winning in Syria and that it is indispensable in Iraq decreases chances for a nuclear deal because the Supreme Leader won't make nuclear concessions if he feels strong and ascendant." Obama seems to believe that Iran is ready to play the part of a rational and constructive actor, rather than an extremist would-be hegemon. I worry that he is empowering an Iranian government that isn't about to change in any constructive way.

2014-12-31 00:00:00

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