Iran Won't Give Up on Its Revolution

(New York Times) Soner Cagaptay, James F. Jeffrey and Mehdi Khalaji - The announcement last month of a preliminary agreement between the U.S. and Iran has led some to believe that Tehran will now enter the international system as a responsible actor. But such optimism ignores the fact that Iran's current government still bears the imprint of a long imperial history and longstanding Persian regional ambitions. Iran is a revolutionary power with hegemonic aspirations. It is a country seeking to assert its dominance in the region and it will not play by the rules. It uses an assortment of terrorism, proliferation, military proxies, and occasionally diplomacy to further its dominance. History offers few examples of bringing such powers into the international system. Ayatollah Khamanei's legitimacy stems from the Iranian revolutionary project, and any compromise would be an admission that he does not believe in that narrative of world history. Do not expect Iran to compromise its principles any time soon. Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. James F. Jeffrey is the former American ambassador to Iraq and Turkey. Mehdi Khalaji is a Shiite theologian.

2015-04-27 00:00:00

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