LobeLog on Facebook   LobeLog on Facebook











The Art of No Deal

by Gary Sick In the past few weeks, President Trump has given the world an...

Message no image

Published on January 4th, 2012 | by Jim Lobe

2

Things Are Getting Very Serious – Vali Nasr

When I was in Tehran last May, I was assured by a number of apparently well-connected journalists that the Nasr family had a direct line into Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s inner circle. As a result, I always pay close attention to what Vali Nasr, who served as a special adviser to Richard Holbrooke during the first two years of Obama’s presidency, writes about Iran’s foreign policy. In a very important column entitled “Hard-Line U.S. Policy Tips Iran Toward Belligerence” published today by Bloomberg, Nasr made clear how close to a military confrontation we are coming and how we appear to be misunderstanding the perceptions and calculations of Tehran’s leadership.

While the column really must be read in full, Nasr argues that recent actions taken by Iran add up to a “defiance [that] marks a change” in its previously muted response to Western pressure.

They now see the U.S. policy on Iran — of toughening sanctions and also, at the United Nations, addressing Iran’s human-rights record and support for terrorism — as one aimed at regime change.

That makes attaining nuclear weapons of critical importance to the clerics. Without such weapons, Iran could face the Libya scenario: economic pressure causing political unrest that invites intervention by foreign powers that feel safe enough to interfere in the affairs of a non-nuclear-armed state.

In Nasr’s view, the “policy debate in Tehran” appears to have been settled in favor of a considerably more hostile stance. The column concludes:

Obama administration officials think Iran is weak and isolated. They focus on the country’s shambolic economy, its faltering relations with Europe, and the effect the Arab Spring has had in turning public opinion in the Middle East against Iran.

But Iran’s rulers have a different outlook. Here’s what they see: The U.S. and Europe are economically weak and extremely vulnerable to high oil prices. China and Russia have broken with the U.S. and Europe over Iran. The U.S. is hastily leaving Iraq and abandoning the war in Afghanistan. U.S. relations with Pakistan are unraveling.

Iran’s rulers believe the new Middle East is a greater strategic challenge to the U.S. than to Iran. For the U.S., the region will be far less pliable under rising Islamists than it was under secular dictators. As those Islamists take control of governments from Morocco to Egypt, new opportunities arise for Tehran to forge diplomatic and economic ties.

Consequently, the Iranian regime thinks it can counter international pressure on its nuclear activities long enough to get to a point of no return on a weapons program.

Rather than discourage this aggressive Iranian position, U.S. policy is encouraging it, making a dangerous military confrontation more likely. There are no easy options for dealing with Iran, but not persisting in a failing strategy is a good place to start.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


2 Responses to Things Are Getting Very Serious – Vali Nasr

Show Comments >



  1. avatar Omid Darvishi says:

    “Inoccent until proven guilty”. But in Iran’s case it’s guilty until proven innocent.

    When Mr. Vali Nasr says, “the Iranian regime thinks it can counter international pressure on its nuclear activities long enough to get to a point of no return on a weapons program.”, and before it you imply Mr. Nasr has some insider knowledge through family connections, one could get the impression that this is an indirect confirmation that Iran’s nuclear program is weapons oriented. I think this needs clarification.

    To head off war Iranian leaders need to give America and Israel full access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and like prosecutors come over and prove that Iran is guilty of pursuing nuclear weapons. If they are not able to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt then they agree to remove all sanctions and end their threats against Iran.

  2. avatar scottindallas says:

    Ever consider constructing “a neo-con web” that shows all the incestuous links within the 10 various lobbies and their principle funders, spokespeople, journalists? Perhaps something like a “family-tree” model may do it?


About the Author

avatar

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



Back to Top ↑
  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Popular Posts

  • Comments Policy

    We value your opinion and encourage you to comment on our postings. To ensure a safe environment we will not publish comments that involve ad hominem attacks, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language, or anything that is written solely for the purpose of slandering a person or subject.

    Excessively long comments may not be published due to their length. All comments are moderated. LobeLog does not publish comments with links.

    Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!