from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for October 22nd, 2010:
Jerusalem Post: Israeli President Shimon Peres endorsed linkage â€” the concept accepted by many in the Obama administration and military leadership that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will help the U.S. pursue its longterm strategic objectives in the Middle East â€”at a conference of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute on Thursday. According to the Jerusalem Post, â€œPeres said that, â€œfor our existence, we need the friendship of the United States of America,â€ and â€œâ€¦the president said Israel could be of help to the US by enabling an â€˜anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East, and the contribution will not be by declaration, but if we stop the secondary conflict between us and the Palestinians,â€™ in order to allow the US to focus on the Iranian threat.â€
The Race For Iran: Peter Jenkins endorses Gareth Evans post which lays out why Iranâ€™s leaders will not pursue nuclear weapons, but adds that while pressure and persuasion may help deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it may also have the opposite effect. Jenkins suggests that Western powers start focusing on addressing broader regional concerns about a nuclear weapons possession and the impact on the regional balance of power. â€œNow that most of the evidence points to Iran having opted for self-denial, a new policy is needed, a policy that gives priority to allaying Israeli and Arab fears that a threshold capability will enhance Iranâ€™s regional status and self-confidence,â€ he concludes.
Commentary: Evelyn Gordon writes on the Contentions blog that the incoming Congress must do everything it can to support the Iranian opposition. She says â€œSwiss cheese sanctionsâ€ wonâ€™t work. â€œThat leaves two choices: a military strike, which everyone professes to oppose, or regime change â€” which probably wouldnâ€™t end the nuclear program but would mitigate the threat it poses,â€ she writes. She says this entails â€œvocal and unequivocal moral support,â€ and â€œtechnological support.â€ She concludes: â€œWhat Congress must do is find out from movement organizers themselves what they need â€” and then give it to them.â€
The Guardian: Foreign affairs columnist Simon Tisdall writes that â€œneither sanctions nor diplomacy can wholly obviate the dread possibility of military confrontation unless something fundamental changes soon at the heart of Iranâ€™s fundamentalist regime.â€ Tisdall points to some of the effects of sanctions, but says their overall impact inside is difficult to know, noting comments from Iranâ€™s finance minister that the countryâ€™s cash reserves are enough to withstand the pressure. He also mentions resistance to the program from China, Turkey and Iraq. He says that while Iran is due to come to the negotiating table next month, it will likely limit the talks. â€œ[T]here is little or no evidence so far that Iranâ€™s top leadership is willing, or can be forced, to fundamentally change its ways,â€ he writes. â€œAnd so the dread juggernaut of direct, physical confrontation rolls ever closer.â€