In a recent article from the Economist, a passage I found most arresting pointed out the political reality that Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holds; part of his position is to adjudicate between an elite group comprised of clerics, generals, politicians, academics and business people. These groups represent competing factions and coalitions. In short, a political marketplace that is confusing and ever-shifting.
This is exactly what is worrisome and discredits Iran’s wish for a nuclear program. In the near future, an election where a president whose policies were similar to Mr Ahmadinejad, and now with nuclear weapons is not too hard to contemplate. Or worse, a more radicalized political scene that endangers the current balance of power in the Middle East.
The current chorus of Western leaders and media to strike a deal with Iran as the deadline approaches focuses on the expediency of the situation and not the long term damage for the U.S. and Israel and other regional powers.
Iran may no longer be the bogeyman to America as it once was, and Iranian youth may spend more time shopping than in the mosque, but the fundamentalist ideals of the Iranian Revolution remain. And the youth can be radicalized as fast as Western designer jeans are purchased. The likelihood of the latter is possibly more realistic. This should make the U.S. pause.
The external threat to Israel is real. Rhetoric is important. So Is action. While, much of the hateful pronouncements from Iran about Israel is for domestic political consumption, Iran has, in action, done nothing to convince Israel and it’s allies that it wishes to be a partner in peace for the region. In fact, it continually does the opposite in overtly and covertly supporting Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Shi’ite groups.
A nuclear Iran is a concern for other regional powers. Turkey and Saudi Arabia for different reasons are weary of the Persian nuke. For one, it is the usurpation of a historic regional power status, while for the former the loss of Sunni dominance is unacceptable.
In truth, it is unacceptable for the West as well, and the sooner leaders awaken to this realization the better for Israel.