US Confused About Iran

November 14, 2006

President Bush has affirmed his tough position on Iran. Despite talks of seeking out Iran and Syria, Iraq’s neighbor’s, to help with the Iraqi crisis, the US continues to maintain that the Iranian nuclear program is illegitimate; Syria is accused of incursions into Lebanon.

It is important to note that Bush’s comments came as the US president was meeting Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, and Iran is Israel’s constant critic in the face of President Ahmadinejad. Also, Israel is in need of a diplomatic boost after its mishap in Beit Hanoun: it was the US that saved Israel from having a UN Security Council resolution passed against it this weekend. Thus it is only natural that President Bush will stand by Israel; the US is the country’s closest ally, receiving the biggest amount of US aid (Egypt is second).

The problem with this approach to foreign policy, however, is that it unnecessarily targets Iran, a potential partner in resolving America’s troubles in Iraq. There has been no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and Iran has repeatedly affirmed its desire to follow the norms established in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

What Bush might be doing is looking tough publicly, while understanding that the US will potentially have to work with Iran. After several years of calling it a state that supports terrorism and a state that wants to target the US with nuclear weapons, the President has to justify going to Iran for help. And he has to look tough doing it, otherwise it would seem that Americans were simply lied to by their leadership for the past few years.

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