Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


On Iran, Time May Actually Be On Our Side

Evidence is that regime is shaky, arguably making attack less advisable

Print Email
President Ahmadinejad today.(Aamir QureshiAFP/Getty Images)

Here’s why we should perhaps believe claims like Dennis Ross’ that, despite the Iranian regime’s apparent intransigence, diplomacy has enough of a chance of working that we should at least give it a shot: Iran—not Israel, but Iran—may be running out of options.

Certainly that’s one takeaway from yesterday’s events. On the one hand, Iran trumpeted new nuclear “achievements,” complete with a ceremony involving President Ahmadinejad donning a white lab coat to observe domestically produced fuel rods being put to work. On the other hand, experts suggested the new “advances” were largely trumped up. Said the State Department’s spokesperson, “This is not big news; in fact, it seems to have been hyped.” And also, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s equivalent of a foreign minister, confirmed receiving a letter from Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator which hinted at a willingness to resume talks. The point isn’t that we should believe him. The point is that the combination of bluster and supplication—along with a string of massively failed assassination attempts against Israeli targets in Georgia, India, and Thailand—display a regime that is at best divided and at worst acutely feeling the pressure wrought by sabotage, assassinations, sanctions, a wrecked economy, a devalued currency, and a looming embargo. As one expert told the New York Times,” If there’s a meta-narrative here, it’s that Iran tends to speak loudly but carries a small stick. Their alleged terror attacks projected incompetence more than fear, their announced nuclear progress is likely exaggerated, and their threat to pre-emptively cease oil exports to Europe turned out to be another bluff.”

In an excellent op-ed today, Fareed Zakaria argues that, contrary to so much rhetoric from those contemplating attacking Iran, time may actually be on our side. More specifically: if the histories of World War One and the Cold War are any guide, a strategy of deterrence rather than preemptive attack is soundest. And that goes double if the Iranian regime is less tiger and more paper, as increasingly seems to be the case.

Iran Nuclear Claim Met By Skepticism [LAT]
EU’s Catherine Ashton Has Received Iran’s Letter on Nuclear Talks [Yahoo! The Envoy]
Aggressive Acts By Iran Signal Pressure on Its Leadership [NYT]
How History Lessons Could Deter Iranian Aggression [WP]
Earlier: Dennis Ross on Iran: The Message Is the Medium

Print Email

Amen, brother. But is Netanyahu determined to attack, and risk Israel’s existence in the process?

Let us hope not.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

On Iran, Time May Actually Be On Our Side

Evidence is that regime is shaky, arguably making attack less advisable

More on Tablet:

Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

By Lee Smith — Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose