Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thoughtful essay on Iran in the New York Rev. of Books, which has been essential reading for several years

The New York Review of Books: Defiant Iran: "Right now, though, the Iranian government feels more confident than at any time since it was placed in the 'axis of evil.' The Iranian leaders calculate that Hezbollah's success in resisting Israel's attacks, assuming that it continues to be in a position to threaten Israel, may diminish the likelihood that America or Israel will attack Iran's nuclear facilities, as some commentators have suggested they intend to.[9] Iranian officials have made it clear that if there are strikes, they will respond by attacking American interests in the region. American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are obvious targets, though Iranian civilian and military leaders have also threatened to disrupt world oil supplies passing through the Straits of Hormuz.

By engaging itself militarily, politically, and morally across the Middle East, George Bush's America has become vulnerable. In the face of an overstretched competitor, Iran is less likely than ever to relinquish its nuclear program unless it gets something it wants in return. It is still far from clear that America's weakness will force it to accept Iran's demands, particularly the demand that the US relax its sanctions and end its efforts to destabilize the Islamic Republic. If the US does not, it is hard to imagine today's Iran suspending its enrichment program for very long."

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