The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for October 2 – 4, 2010.

  • New York Times: Though details are not available, William Yong writes that Iranian authorities have arrested an unspecified number of “nuclear spies” in connection with the Stuxnet virus infecting computers at Iran’s nuclear operations. In his announcement, Iranian intelligence minister Heydar Moslehi said: “The intelligence Ministry is aware of a range of activities being carried out against the Islamic Republic by enemy spy services.” Separately, the head of Iran’s state-run information technology company hopes to clear the virus out of Iranian systems in the next “one to two months.”
  • Washington Post: Former peace process negotiator and State Department advisor Aaron David Miller lays out “Five Myths about Middle East Peace.” The Wilson Center public policy scholar attempts to debunk the myth that Arab-Israel peace is critical to securing U.S. interests in the Middle East with an anti-linkage argument: White “[i]t would help [regional issues… Arab-Israeli peace] will not stop Iran from acquiring enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon.” Writing on her Commentary blog, neocon and reverse-linkage crusader Jennifer Rubin gets Miller’s name wrong and gives him a back-handed complement in her select reading of his analysis. But Think Progress’s Matt Duss dissents, writing that “no one has ever claimed that Arab-Israeli peace would do any of these things,” but rather peace will “make addressing those problems easier, by sealing up a well of resentment from which demagogues and violent extremists have for decades drawn freely and profitably.”
  • National Journal: At the magazine’s National Security blog, editor Richard Sia poses a question: “Will Saber Rattling And Sanctions Work Against Iran?” Steven Metz of the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College, responds, “No, of course not.” But of a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, he writes: “It is hard to imagine a greater strategic folly.” Metz lists a myriad of disastrous likely consequences of such a strike, and argues for Soviet-style containment of a nuclear Iran. “There is absolutely no evidence that a nuclear armed Iran would undertake conventional aggression,” he writes. “However repulsive the Iranian regime, there is no evidence that it is suicidal.” He writes that in a cost-benefit analysis, the costs of attacking Iran are too high for the U.S.: [A]s the United States develops its approach, the the focus must remain on AMERICAN national interests (Are you listening, Senator Lieberman?).”
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Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.