Behind Iran's Hard-Line on Israel

(Boston Globe) Karim Sadjadpour and Ray Takeyh - At a time when most Arab governments, including the elected Palestinian leadership, have come to accept Israel's existence as an unalterable fact, non-Arab Iran continues to call for eradication of the Jewish state. In actuality, however, the Middle Eastern country where Ahmadinejad's declarations resonate least is Iran. By pressing a dogmatic position on Israel, Ahmadinejad may perceive an opportunity to rekindle the long-extinguished revolutionary fires and reclaim Iran's leadership of radical Islam. There exists no inherent reason why the Israeli-Palestinian struggle should be an overriding concern to the average Iranian. Iran has no territorial disputes with Israel, no Palestinian refugee problem, a long history of contentious relations with the Arab world, and an even longer history of tolerance vis-a-vis the Jewish people. To this day, the Jewish community in Iran is the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel. Karim Sadjadpour is an analyst with the International Crisis Group. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2005-12-23 00:00:00

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