Report on Iran Fuels Arab Fears

[Los Angeles Times] Jeffrey Fleishman - The dwindling possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran is changing the dynamics of Middle East politics and raising Arab concern that Tehran now feels emboldened to strengthen its military, increase its support for Islamic radicals and exert more influence in the region's troubled countries. Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations opposed military action against Iran's nuclear program. But they were privately relieved that Washington's threats kept Tehran preoccupied, despite its manipulation of politics in Iraq and Lebanon and its support of the radical group Hamas in Gaza. The U.S. intelligence report has eased international pressure for sanctions and invigorated the country's hard-liners. This comes as the Arab world has been countering Ahmadinejad's rhetoric and his government's influence over the presidential turmoil in Lebanon, the politics in Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The report did not allay Arab fears over Iran's nuclear intentions and its secretive program to enrich uranium.

2007-12-06 01:00:00

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