An End to Iran's Containment?

(Washington Post) Editorial - The Obama administration is seeking to assure U.S. allies and congressional skeptics that the nuclear accord it is contemplating with Iran will not lead to a broader detente with the Islamic republic. "We will not take our eye off of Iran's other destabilizing actions in places like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula," Secretary of State John Kerry declared last week during a visit to Riyadh. In recent months, the notion that President Obama is prepared to scrap the 35-year-old U.S. policy of seeking to contain Iranian influence in the Middle East has been widely accepted by Arab and Israeli officials and U.S. commentators; opposition to such a reversal is one reason the prospective nuclear deal is generating bipartisan unease in Congress. Obama said in an interview in December that he hoped a nuclear deal "would serve as the basis for us trying to improve relations over time"; if Iran agreed to the accord, he added, it could become "a very successful regional power." A relaxation of U.S. efforts to resist this bid for regional hegemony would be a strategic calamity for Israel and the Persian Gulf states. Moreover, what will the administration's response be to further Iranian adventurism following a nuclear deal? Will it help its allies fight back, or will it restrain itself in the interest of preventing a rupture of the nuclear accord and in order to "improve relations over time"?

2015-03-13 00:00:00

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