Accommodating Iran Will Be No More Successful than Accommodating Russia

(Tablet) Emanuele Ottolenghi - The shocking and horrifying scenes from Ukraine that we witness on our television screens should be foremost in the minds of Western leaders as they blindly embrace a new nuclear deal with Tehran. Like Putin's Russia, the Islamic Republic is a non-status-quo power whose actions are driven more than anything else by ideology. The ayatollahs' Iran aspires to reassert Shiite predominance over the Sunni world, much like Putin's Russia seeks to resuscitate the czarist empire. Washington's Iran policy remains focused on the misguided belief - which the Biden administration shares with its Democratic predecessors - that well-placed safeguards (which the JCPOA is lacking in any case) in exchange for economic dividends will not only constrain Iran's nuclear quest but also potentially change Iran's behavior. Yet what ultimately motivates Tehran is not rational calculations of national self-interest, but a burning desire to spread its revolutionary ideology and undermine and destroy the Western rules-based international liberal order. The desire to push this agenda more aggressively and more successfully is what drives its quest for nuclear weapons. 43 years after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Tehran continues to invest considerable resources, even under extreme economic duress, to export its revolution to every corner of the globe. It is entirely reasonable to assume that Iran is seeking the protection that nuclear weapons clearly provide Russia to impose its will on its neighborhood - and to do so with impunity. Emboldened by its nuclear breakout, Iran's revolutionary leadership will seek to cement partnerships and dependencies and establish its dominance far beyond the Middle East. Tehran makes no secret of its aspiration to become the node for all anti-Western movements. Tomorrow's nuclear Iran will back a network of radical, violent groups that will rush to Tehran in search of a powerful patron. The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2022-03-07 00:00:00

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