President Barack Obama lost his way on Iran policy when he reneged on an election promise to negotiate with that country’s leaders in order to find a way to normalize relations. Playing the blame game now won’t help, since Iran seems to be winning, at least in the short-term. The US has over played its hand and painted itself in a corner. Desperate moves might result in catastrophic outcomes such as giving Israel the green light to go rogue on Tehran.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will both attend the Non-Aligned summit in Tehran despite enormous US pressure to isolate Iran.
While sanctions are hurting Iran it might not cripple the regime to the point that it might fall. Saddam Hussein of Iraq survived crippling sanctions until a calamitous US invasion of that country ousted him. Tehran might be praying for an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities since that would for certain change the power game in the region in Iran’s favor in the long-term.
If Israel went rogue, its security will be threatened for at least a decade, if not longer, and Syria’s Assad regime might enjoy a brief lease of life. It might become clear in the end whose bidding Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is doing if such a preemptive strike materialized. Knowledgeable Israeli security voices have predicted catastrophe if Israel chose a suicidal path.
Sanity would require that unconditional US talks with Tehran begin as soon as possible. If not, a nuclear Iran could be contained in the same way as North Korea, India and Pakistan found their way to the nuclear club.
An emboldened nuclear Iran would be bad news for Iran’s citizens combating a repressive clerical regime. Sure, Iran’s nuclear status might start an arms race in the region encouraging Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to seek such weapons too. But it might paradoxically change the balance of power in the region and might result in some unpredictable gains for disenfranchised Palestinians.