Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nukes aside, the real problem with Iran

By Alastair Crooke
Conflicts Forum

"The country is emerging as a regional power. Is the West ready for that?

It was pure drama: The leaders of the United States, Britain, and France stepped onto the stage at the Pittsburgh Group of 20 meeting last week to unveil Western intelligence that showed that Iran had a second nuclear fuel enrichment facility under construction, which Iran had declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency the preceding Monday.

The Western leaders gathered in Pittsburgh implied that their revelation was just as devastating for Iran as a credible player.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates subsequently pronounced Iran to be “boxed in” and “in a very bad spot now.” But anyone who listened to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s interview with Time magazine’s correspondent on the day of the presentation, and to subsequent Iranian statements, can gather that Iran, at least, does not see itself as boxed in.....

For the US to elevate the nuclear issue to an ultimatum, while ignoring the new strategic reality of a powerful Iran, is, as Ahmadinejad hinted, a course of action that Obama, in time to come, may regret. The Pittsburgh theatrics may prove to have been short-sighted."

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