Iran and the Problem of Tactical Myopia

Jim Walsh, Thomas Pickering, and William Luers

It seems that every conversation about Iran is a conversation about sanctions. Even in the midst of negotiations, the talk is as likely to be about the sanctions that might follow as it is about the negotiation itself. This is an odd and unfortunate state of affairs.

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Eric Ferguson, Netherlands said...

The article states:

Ongoing turmoil in Iran’s domestic politics may give Tehran new incentives to settle disputes with the outside world so that it can focus on internal concerns.

This is a weak argument. Governments facing internal difficulties may welcome international tensions, which allows them to brand the opposition as traitors.

Dr. Clifton W. Sherrill said...

The article's authors have missed two fundamental points. First, the current regime in Iran is entirely dependent on its Islamist foundation for its legitimacy. This requires the regime to maintain a hostile anti-western orientation. Accordingly, it cannot be seen as compromising with the west on any key issues, most of all the nuclear question, without undermining its own legitimacy. Second, because of this, the goal cannot simply be a nuclear-free Iran; rather, the goal must be regime change. The reason we oppose nuclear arms in Iran is because of the nature of the regime. Even if we succeeded in forestalling Iranian acquisition of nuclear arms, we would still be faced with a regime that supports terrorism, disrupts the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, undermines stability in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, and abuses human rights on a widespread and systematic basis.