News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 25:
- The Weekly Standard: Jaime Daremblum, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, blogs on the “underreported news” that the U.S. government is investigating “whether Venezuela recently defied American sanctions by sending gasoline to the Islamic Republic.” “‘Hugo Chávez and PDVSA are actively helping Iran bypass both U.S. and international sanctions in its pursuit of nuclear weapons,’ said Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL). Over the past several years, Chávez has effectively turned his country into an Iranian satellite,” writes Daremblum. He ominously concludes that the Obama administration needs to “promulgate a coherent, robust strategy for addressing the Chávez threat and repelling Iranian influence in the region (which continues to grow).”
- The Washington Times: Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Danny Ayalon, writes in the Washington Times that the last few weeks have thoroughly dis-proven the importance of “linkage”—the concept accepted by both the Obama administration and the U.S. military’s top brass that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would help further U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. “The WikiLeaks revelations proved that among Arab decision makers and policy-shapers, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was fairly low on the list of urgent priorities in the region,” writes Ayalon. He argues that instability in the region is due to food insecurity, rising desertification, and vanishing water resources.