from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 24th, 2010:
The Atlantic: Marc Lynch responds to Jeffrey Goldbergâ€™s cover story on the likelihood of an Israeli air strike on Iran. Lynch disagrees with Goldbergâ€™s assertion that a failure for the Obama administration to act militarily will result in an Israeli strike on Iranâ€™s alleged nuclear facilities. â€œInstead, I see an attempt on the part of Goldbergâ€™s Israeli sources to prepare a policy climate in which such an attack seems increasingly plausible and other options are foreclosed â€¦â€ writes Lynch. He concludes that both Israelis and people in the United States are aware of the disastrous consequences of a military strike and are not nearly as fixated on the â€œnever ending seriesâ€ of deadlines as Israeli and U.S. hawks would like to suggest.
The Wall Street Journal: Gerald F. Seib suggests that as the costs imposed by sanctions on Iran go up, Tehran is looking for a face-saving â€œexit rampâ€ to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program. Seib disagrees with hawks, such as John Bolton, that Russiaâ€™s assistance in fueling the Bushehr nuclear power plant pushes Iran closer to having a nuclear weapons program. â€œBy providing the fuel, and taking away spent fuel, the Russians have undercut Iranâ€™s argument that it has to do its own enrichment,â€ said Seib. He continues, â€œBeyond calling Iranâ€™s bluff, thereâ€™s a genuine need to find out whether Iranâ€™s leadersâ€”at least some of themâ€”might actually be interested in a way out.â€
The Wall Street Journal: Foundation for Defense of Democraciesâ€™ Michael Ledeen argues that internal conflict and sabotage are becoming more widespread within Iran and, â€œ[e]ven the governmentâ€™s campaign of repression seems increasingly sloppy.â€ Ledeen has been one of the more vocal neoconservative supporters of the Green Movement, even when Iranian pro-democracy reformists have said that explicit U.S. support of the movement could damage its legitimacy within Iran.
Los Angeles Times: Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim report on how international sanctions designed to punish Iran for its nuclear program are benefiting Iranâ€™s most hard-line elite and the Revolutionary Guard. The sanctions are succeeding in increasing the cost on items of importance to ordinary citizens but, â€œkey businesses and government operations controlled by the Revolutionary Guard have found ways to skirt the sanctions, which ban trade with state-run firms connected to the nuclear program, by enlisting private-sector firms as fronts.â€ Well-connected firms are reported to be benefiting from a â€œsanctions-breakingâ€ industry.