Wednesday, September 22, 2004

iran, iran, and more iran !

pace yourself, take lots of deep breaths and breaks to walk around, but keep reading about iran. Because its only getting hotter and the problems aren’t solving themselves while bush tootles about flip-flops. Three worthwhile stops:

Iran is rolling on uranium enrichment. This does NOT mean they can produce nukes – it means that they will have everything in place to produce nukes if they choose to do so. Chilling, no doubt.

Iran has conflicting interests in Iraq. While one expert says ‘stability’ I say ‘influence’. Iran walks a tightrope between promoting the military strength of the shiite groups and ensuring that elections (which will surely be shiite dominated, particularly given the sunni insurgency) take place producing a ‘legitimate’ shiite-dominated, and thus iran-sympathetic, government. I’m not convinced that a stable Iraq is more attractive to the theocrats in teheran than a chaotic, high-maintenance Iraq that demands 99% of american military and diplomatic attention. The notion that Iran might be ‘blamed’ by washington for ongoing troubles seems absurd, and nearly moot given the increasing tensions. Even if it were true (and it almost certainly is to a degree) bush’s need to pin responsibility on someone who doesn’t work for him will undermine any credibility he might have. (thanks juan cole for the link)

Is there a reformist movement in iran ? there undoubtedly is. I'm not into 'blogosphere' pimping, but i have to believe that this kind of thing is symbolic of meaningful undercurrents of dissent. The delicacy is in finding a way for the US to support it without destroying its nationalist credentials.

- LH


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