Juan Cole explains why Israel ...,
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iran offers to de-rogue:
Hindsight being what it is there probably should have been more rapprochement with Iran after the reformists swept elections in 1997 - under the pretext of recognizing that Iran has legitimate security concerns, that it really isn't all that awful compared to governments actually recieving active support from the US, and that the embargo is a massive injury to a nation already tortured and brutalized by a US puppet state for 30 years - and not after they were kicked out of the elections by clerical diktat.
Present indications from the administration are "mixed" - in the face of Iran's willingness to de-rogue itself - because the neocons still, obviously, want to destabalize the regime in Tehran, and would like a security pretext, such as the "threat" of Iran going nuclear in the face of threatening noises from Washington. Is the embargo for disarmament and anti-terror? Is it for democratic reform and human rights? Or is it for imposing a new regime designed in Washington? Apparently it's not for either of the first two, or Bush would have done more to engage the reform government. At least Clinton had mildly opened it up as a remote possibility.
Simple exclusion leaves reason three, which is the same confused policy we took on Iraq, which has since become an impossibly fucked up debacle, probably incompetent up enough to prevent any future adventures in neo-con brand imperialism. The embargo itself was never all that effective anyway because there was no international cooperation on it: all it serves is, one way or the other, to shore up the conservatives, who can play up threats from the US to build nationalist support, or seek detente to shore up the economy, as they're doing now. There were 8 years in which we could have slowly normalized relations, to the benefit of everybody, without helping the mullahs politically. Our government has, for numerous reasons of its own making, little leverage with which to help the opposition.
It would be better, all told, if the US and the crazies in the editorial pages stopped giving Iran good reasons to build nukes. If I was on Washington's hit list and surrounded by a host of US bases, allies, and puppet states - two of which are armed to the teeth with nukes - I'd want a deterrent myself.