News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 28:
- Washington Post: The Post picks up a report from the Associated Press about the upcoming arrival in Tehran of an Omani delegation to secure the release of the two remaining American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, detained by Iran under suspicion of espionage. Oman was also involved in the release of third hiker, Sarah Shourd, two weeks ago. The timeline for the arrival of the Omani delegation is at odds with an article in the Iranian newspaper Jomhuri-e Eslami, as reported over the weekend by the New York Times. The detention of the three — now two — Americans has been a point of tension between the U.S. and Iran for more than a year since their arrest in the mountains along the Iraqi-Iranian border.
- Washington Times: In an op-ed subtitled “passive response to Iran’s proxy wars needs to end,” American Foreign Policy Council vice president and neocon pundit Ilan Berman urges the U.S. to actively and militarily engage Iran’s alleged proxies operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. Berman says the U.S. needs to publicly lay out their opposition to Iranian involvement in those countries and secure their borders with Iran. He adds: “A range of other irregular warfare initiatives can be harnessed as needed to help dismantle, disrupt and deter Iranian activities in both theaters.” Berman thinks this will restore U.S. credibility and “convince Iran that a military option, while not desirable, is both viable and inescapable if Tehran does not change course.”
- National Review Online: Foundation for Defense of Democracies fellow Benjamin Weinthal writes that the Obama administration’s “intense preoccupation” with ending Israeli settlement construction resembles “the meaningless rituals of obsessive-compulsive disorder.” Weinthal echoes the discredited reverse linkage argument that a more assertive strategy towards Iran would halt Iran’s nuclear program and its support of Hamas and Hezbollah: “the key impediments to meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.” For him, “In short, it’s the Iranian regime — and not the construction of housing projects — that is the be-all and end-all of obstacles to peace in the region.”
- Foreign Policy: Raja Karthikeya looks at where India stands on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, concluding it is not a simple answer. India believes a nuclear weapons possessing Iran would be destabilizing, but sees Iran’s impetus focused on Arab and Sunni threats rather than Israel. India has chosen to align itself with Arab calls for a denuclearized Middle East in an attempt to address terrorism and energy interests. India will continue to support the UN sanctions and oppose U.S. sanctions because: they would be detrimental to the population of Iran; they would impede Indian companies doing business outside Iran; and India has a tradition of opposing sanctions-based diplomacy. “The majority of Indian strategists see unilateral sanctions as a path to war,” Karthikeya concludes.