Iran diplomatic window rapidly closing: Another view

Introduction — June 19, 2013

Earlier this year academic Matthew Kroenig claimed the United States could militarily strike Iran without causing havoc and catastrophe in the region. Despite some opposition his arguments helped bolster the case for ‘regime change’ in Iran.
Koenig is in effect an intellectual whore helping to sell the aims of the ruling elite. For because Iran DOES NOT HAVE A CENTRAL BANK it is a thorn in their side and needs to be dealt with.
Koenig is among a number of other academics and journalists helping to accomplish this. Naturally he makes token gestures toward moderation but this is only to disguise the main thrust of his argument, which is essentially for war with Iran and regime change.
Trouble is it’s all so wearily familiar, echoing the arguments once used to pave the way for the removal of Saddam Hussein. Now however, the threat is not Saddam and his mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction but Iran and a similarly unproven threat that needs to be dealt with.
Here Koenig lays a timetable toward that end.

Iran diplomatic window rapidly closing: Another view

Matthew Kroenig — USA Today June 17, 2013

The results of Friday’s election in Iran could have conceivably been worse for U.S. interests, but there is little reason to believe that the election of Hasan Rowhani, a relative moderate within Iran’s theocratic system, should significantly change U.S. strategy toward Iran and its nuclear program.

The United States should continue to explore a negotiated settlement to the crisis in the near term, but the prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough remain slim and, as President Obama has stated, the window for diplomacy is closing. Indeed, by my estimate, we have somewhere between two and 14 months before that window effectively shuts.

When that time comes, President Obama has made it very clear that his policy is to prevent, not contain, a nuclear Iran and that all options, including the use of force, are on the table to achieve that goal. This is the correct policy. A nuclear-armed Iran would pose a grave threat to U.S. interests, and the United States must strike Iran’s key nuclear facilities if necessary to keep Tehran from the bomb.

Some have argued that Rowhani’s election changes these calculations because he might be more open to serious negotiations with Washington. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not President Rowhani, will call the shots on Iran’s nuclear program.

Others have argued that the election reveals discontent with Iran’s government and that the regime might soon crumble, resolving the nuclear issue for us, but Friday’s election demonstrates the stability of the current regime. Iran’s presidency was transferred, without violence or protest, to Rowhani, a cleric who is fully committed to the basic ideals of the Iranian revolution. Moreover, even if the clerics did fall, the problem might not be resolved because the nuclear program is also popular among the regime’s opponents.

In the end, Iran’s nuclear program is advancing much more rapidly than any domestic political changes taking place inside Iran, and we will therefore be forced to decisively address the Iranian nuclear threat well before any new government comes to power.

While it is always possible that we could be surprised by a drastic political change inside Iran, we shouldn’t hold our breath. Hoping for a miracle is not a strategy.

Matthew Kroenig, an assistant government professor and international relations field chair at Georgetown University, is a former adviser on Iran policy in the office of the secretary of Defense.


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