Iran Punditry Roundup – 7-2-09 edition

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Opinions abound on how we, along with our allies, should deal with Iranian regime. Here are what three experts on foreign policy think.

Cliff May:

Can anyone still believe it’s possible to sweet-talk Iran out of developing nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists beyond its borders? Can anyone seriously imagine lifting a glass of pomegranate juice and offering a toast to Ahmadinejad, Khamanei, and the so-called Islamic Republic?

This brings us to the hard task of formulating an effective policy toward Iran based on what we understand about those in power there and America’s vital interests. At this point, I’d argue that such a policy needs to include five key initiatives:

  1. Express strong moral support for Iran’s dissidents.
  2. Provide funds and communications assistance to the rebels.
  3. Use diplomacy to persuade our European allies to recall their ambassadors from and suspend trade with Iran.
  4. Sharply increase the economic pressure on the regime by cutting off its gasoline imports.
  5. Fully fund and build a comprehensive missile-defense system so Iran’s rulers understand that the nuclear weapons and missiles they are developing are a waste of resources: The United States will have the means to prevent them from reaching their targets.

Victor Davis Hanson:

had President Obama voiced early, consistent, and sharp criticism of the Iranian crackdown, the theocracy would have worried that the president’s stature could have galvanized global boycotts and embargos to isolate the theocracy and aid the dissidents. And the reformers in the streets could have become even more confident with a trademark Obama “hope and change” endorsement.

Internal democratic change in Iran is the only peaceful solution to stopping an Iranian bomb, three decades of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, and a Middle East arms race. When thousands risked their lives for a better Iran, a better Middle East, and a better world, we, the land of the free, simply were not with them.

John Bolton:

Those who oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons are left in the near term with only the option of targeted military force against its weapons facilities. Significantly, the uprising in Iran also makes it more likely that an effective public diplomacy campaign could be waged in the country to explain to Iranians that such an attack is directed against the regime, not against the Iranian people.

This was always true, but it has become even more important to make this case emphatically, when the gulf between the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the citizens of Iran has never been clearer or wider. Military action against Iran’s nuclear program and the ultimate goal of regime change can be worked together consistently.


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