The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for October 7, 2010.

  • National Review Online: Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ president Cliff May writes that Iran and Al Qaeda are “two sides of the jihadi coin,” adding that “[s]ometimes they cooperate.” He pronounces the Islamic Republic of Iran “the first modern jihadi state” and calls for “agressive enforcement of sanctions” — something he maintains the Obama administration has failed to do. “Iran’s rulers should be under the guns — metaphorically for the present,” he asserts. Iran’s leaders have the “goals and a strategy to achieve” Al Qaeda’s “mission,” he concludes.
  • Foreign Policy: On the Middle East Channel blog, Century Foundation Iran program director Geneive Abdo encourages the U.S. to take up Iran’s offer to renew discussions on the Tehran Declaration–a fuel swap deal brokered between Turkey, Brazil and Iran– as a confidence building measure toward resolving the West’s nuclear crisis with Iran. She reports that a Turkish delegation has twice been in Washington, including last week, to jump start the talks. Since it was introduced last May, Washington has spurned idea. “Rather than pursue talks over Iran’s broader nuclear program and risk failure,” she writes, noting little Iranian interest in the broader track, “a wiser move would be to talk with Iran first over the Tehran Declaration as a way of building trust.”
  • National Review Online: Victor Davis Hanson writes that two years into the Obama administration, it’s becoming clear that Obama’s worldview, based partly on appeasement, has resolved few of the problems facing the U.S. in the international arena. “[F]ailing to support the Iranian freedom protestors, ignoring the abuses of the Cuban and Syrian totalitarian regimes, and keeping silent about the destruction of democracy in Venezuela — has resulted in even more animus, just as appeasement of the unhinged and dictatorial always does,” contends Hanson. While listing the numerous ways that rising powers are becoming more confident in challenging the U.S., Hanson concludes Russia “… weighs the downside of having a nuclear Islamic Iran in its neighborhood against the upside of having such a rogue state, which, at least in the short term, is more a problem for America than for Russia. Chaos in the Middle East, Putin knows well, is always good for the oil business.”

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.