Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Iran May Be More Open To Negotiating On Its Nuclear Program

Barry Rubin observes the continuation of Obama's Iranian policy as The Obama Administration Puts Its Trust in Negotiations with Iran.

He addresses the claim that between the impact of sanctions on the one hand and the election of a potentially more flexible in June president come June 2013 -- and notes:
I won’t dismiss this altogether. The truth is that despite extremist statements and radical tactics, the Iranian regime is by no means ideologically or theologically mad. The rulers want to stay in power and they have been far more cautious in practice than they have in rhetoric. Despite the claims that the Iranian regime just wants to get nuclear weapons to attack Israel as soon as possible, a serious analysis of this government’s history, its leaders and factions, indicates otherwise.

A key factor here is that Iran wants nuclear weapons for “defensive” purposes. By this I do not mean that a poor Tehran regime is afraid that it will be attacked for no reason at all and thus needs to protect itself. Not at all. It is Iran’s aggressive, subversive, and terrorist-sponsoring positions that jeopardize the regime. Like it or not, if the Tehran government got on with the business of repressing its own people without threatening its neighbors the world would be little concerned with its behavior. But it has refused to take that easy and profitable choice.

Rather, Iran wants nuclear weapons so it can continue both regime and behavior without having to worry about paying any price for the things it does.
The situation, he observes, has changed:
  • Instead of increasing Iran's influence in the region the “Arab Spring” has put an end to Iran's hopes for gaining leadership in either the Middle East or in the Muslim world. Sunni Islamists are on the rise and have no need for either their Shiite rivals or for ethnic Persians. Thus, Iran’s sphere of influence is now limited to merely Lebanon, Iraq, and the rapidly failing Syrian regime. Under these conditions, having nuclear weapons will not provide the Iranians any great strategic gain.

  • Though their actual effect may be exaggerated, sanctions have taken a toll on Iran. In addition, there are Iran's internal problems, resulting from incompetence and corruption.have been brought on by the rulers own mismanagement and awesome levels of corruption. In order to stay in power -- with the benefits that brings -- the Iranians may yet be amenable to stopping their nuclear program.
Rubin also discusses the other side -- the perspective of the Obama administration as well as examining the most likely possibilities of what will happen.

Read the whole thing.

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