by Massimo Calabresi
| Jun. 6, 2009
The U.S. has never been good at making sense of Tehran's knotty power structure, and the distrust is mutual: many in Iran suspect that the U.S. is looking for an excuse to attack their nation, as it did Iraq.
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Only readers well-versed in the complexity and difficulty of conducting negotiations in the Middle East will appreciate just how enterprising this story really is. Those of us who have followed Dennis Ross' career will cheer from the sidelines; it would be hard to imagine a more astute steward of this process. Since there is little question that, without intervention, Iran's nuclear program will be used to develop nuclear weapons, the matter of negotiating a different outcome will soon go critical. Massimo Calabresi conveys both the urgency of the situation and the difficulty the Obama administration faces; conflict with Iran, centered on the nuclear issue, is likely to become the first major international crisis of Obama's ... More »
My time at Berkeley brought me into frequent contact with Dennis Ross, during which time I became an admirer. Between 1984 and 1986, Ross headed up the Berkeley-Stanford program on Soviet International Behavior, and my emphasis was Soviet Studies.
Very weak story, lending credence to Israeli propaganda line that Iran has a covert scheme to develop nuclear weapons, when there is no evidence of this. The story lauds the approach taken by Dennis Ross, who is seen by some very well informed observers as the representative of the Israeli militarists rather than the US.
Ross was an appalling choice to serve in the role given him, and Obama may have placated Aipac by choosing him but undermined his own best chances to achieve rapprochement with Iran. Obama should tell Israel not even to consider attacking Iran. The head of the IAEA thinks Iran has no secret program to develop nuclear weapons, and talk of war is dangerous and essentially idiotic (comparable to the insanity that took the US into the Iraq War).
With no supporting evidence, Calabresi adopts the hawkish Israeli claim that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. The author seems to salivate at the notion that Ross will start using sticks and attack Iran. His quoted history of Iran-US relations conveniently starts after the US overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran and installed the Shaw, and never mentions this enduring sore point.
The U.S. deserves deeper and more balanced reporting on this topic.