Ahead of Iran’s presidential election in June, President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei are squabbling over the succession. Ahmadinejad wants Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, his chief of staff, to run but Khamenei disapproves. Regardless of who wins, the real loser will be Iranian democracy.
Our new eBook is now available! Bringing together a broad range of important articles from Foreign Affairs and ForeignAffairs.com, Iran and the Bomb tells the story of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and the outside world’s struggle to respond.
Threat Inflation with Micah Zenko
After yet another foiled terrorist plot, what does the United States really have to fear? Editor Gideon Rose discusses “threat hyping” with author Micah Zenko, who argues that the nation is much safer than politicians and government officials would lead the public to believe. A near-nuclear Iran, unstable Middle East, occasionally aggressive Russia, and unstoppable China do not, in fact, pose these often cited dangers. Cutting military spending should not incite such anxiety, when even international terrorism does not qualify as a real threat to the existence or freedom of the United States.
Sanctions have succeeded in bringing Tehran back to the negotiating table, but they are a tactic, not a strategy. Any long-term policy has to aim for a democratic Iran.
(From the new issue, out next week.)
Nuclear weapons are hard to build for managerial reasons, not technical ones. This is why so few authoritarian regimes have succeeded: they don’t have the right culture or institutions. When it comes to Iran’s program, then, the United States and its allies should get out of the way and let Iran’s worst enemies — its own leaders — gum up the process on their own. Read the full article.