[lit-ideas] Re: Ought we to do something about Iran?

>>Count on the fact that young Iranians, even those who may be opposed to the current regime, will rally to their country's defense if we attack it (just like Americans would if the USA were attacked).


This argument, which seemed important, is now starting to look wrong-headed. Seems that the intention of acquiring nuclear weapons is in fact uniting Iran. Consider this excerpt from http://www.slate.com/id/2135232/fr/rss/


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The regime has been extraordinarily effective in galvanizing support from Iranians across the political spectrum on the nuclear issue. Nuclear energy has become intimately linked to the national character, heralded as an inalienable right. Newspaper editors have been warned against deviating from the official line in their treatment of things nuclear, while melodramatic TV programs promote the merits of nuclear energy and, by extension, independence, on a daily basis.

And what of the reformist politicians Western pundits love to wax lyrical about? In his modest office at Tehran University, Hamid Reza Jaleipour, a strategist with Mosharekat, the country's largest reformist faction, told me, "Our hands are tied, we can't even move." Other than foiled presidential candidate and former parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi's attempt to launch a newspaper and satellite channel (the latter already blocked), little initiative has been taken to reinvigorate a reformist camp that is devastatingly out of touch with the majority of the Iranian people. Outside Iran, the exiled Mujahideen Khalq Organization, which is probably the largest opposition bloc, is more of a cult than a viable political alternative. And within Iran, external support, especially from America, would be the kiss of death—immediately delegitimizing any opposition group.

So, how far can the regime afford to push the nuclear issue? Plainly, it believes it can manipulate oil prices at will and seems to think that clutch trading partners Russia and China, which have preached moderation until now, will protect its interests in the end. Importantly, Tuesday's "reporting" to the security council is short of a more substantive "referral," and Iran's nuclear dossier will not be considered by the council until March. Negotiations about outsourcing enrichment to Russia will continue, and if it comes down to it, some of the more intransigent members of the regime are already saying that Iranians have survived sanctions before—they can most certainly weather them again.

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