Browsing Posts published on April 14, 2009

Iran has been in the news once again this week, as world leaders continue their diplomatic efforts to halt the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.  While these talks are an important development, it is no less crucial to recognize the dangers inherent in such a high-stakes diplomatic process.  Michael Rubin notes some of those dangers in an Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this week, in which he dissects how Iran has taken advantage of Western good will in the past.  We excerpt:

On Apr. 9, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, announced that the Islamic Republic had installed 7,000 centrifuges in its Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The announcement came one day after the U.S. State Department announced it would engage Iran directly in multilateral nuclear talks.
Proponents of engagement with Tehran say dialogue provides the only way forward. Iran’s progress over the past eight years, they say, is a testament to the failure of Bush administration strategy. President Barack Obama, for example, in his Mar. 21 address to the Iranian government and people, declared that diplomacy “will not be advanced by threats. We seek engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.”

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A report in the New York Times todayhighlights the Egyptian accusations that Hizbullah has set up cells in Egypt to provide arms to Gaza and to carry out terrorist attacks.  As the Egyptians realized, this attempt by Hizbullah highlights Iran’s desire to influence regional politics–even to the extent of taking over an Arab country.  While it’s unclear how this will all play out, it does reinforce the regional differences between Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah on one hand and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other moderates on the other.