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How to engage Iran?

Iran has been a regular topic in the news. How do you think the U.S. should engage Iran regarding its nuclear enrichment program?

I thought the best approach was where Iran could build reactors but then would have worked out a nuclear fuel exchange program with presumably Russia. In exchange Iran would have to allow full U.N. inspections. With this solution Iran gets the nuclear energy they claim to want (and evidence shows they need) and the world gets an open view of their facilities. Iran refused that solution....

I'm not much for attacking Iran, not because they don't deserve it, but rather their one sustained oil price drop away from economic disaster. The mullahs run a screw ball economy, the link gives a bit of detail on this:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/08/opinion/edstern.php

I think recent news out North Korea and the history of Libya show that global cooperation on sanctions do work in bringing a regime around.

Political change could occur from within in Iran if the economy falls apart. Reform started under Khatami... but has been stunted over the last few years.

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How to engage Iran?

Perhaps in another life I will have the intelligence and motivation to really engage these matters. But two things concern me: 1) say I do come up with the answers - does the rest of the nation/government/planet have the moral fortitude to follow me? ... 2) it concerns me how provocative the Iranians appear to be - especially after the pummeling Iraq took for being provocative (or at least being non-cooperative). Hmmmm.

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How to engage Iran?
Serious Hunter wrote:
P1) say I do come up with the answers - does the rest of the nation/government/planet have the moral fortitude to follow me? ...

I think that is the root of all politics; forging a collective solution from diverse interests.

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How to engage Iran?

Personally, I don't share your enthusiasm for sanctions, and I don't see where they've worked. North Korea isn't so much a testament to sanctions as it is to Chinese pressure to reign them in. China has eyes on Taiwan, and can't afford an arms race in WESTPAC driven by a North Korean threat. Without China, North Korea dies.

One big reason sanctions don't work is because there's always people willing to undermine them to gain advantage. The oil for food scandal is a prime example. In the case of Iran, there are also too many nations that prefer Iran just the way it is because it keeps the US pinned down and so far has been costing the US on a strategic level.

Sanctions also don't gain a lot because they generally give despots more justification to impose more draconian controls over their countries. Most of these nations aren't democracies with free press like us; it's unrealistic to think that internal pressure from the populace will cause the government to cave.

The key to Iran is their economy. It's in Amahdinejad's best interests to be as nutty as possible because it drives oil prices up and helps shore up his troubled economy. Whether or not they have a nuke program is irrelevant -- what's important is for the world to think they do. All Amahdinejad has to do is threaten Israel or talk nukes, and the price of oil goes up. Chavez is doing the same thing in Venezuela. In that case, Chavez is about to enter a death spiral due to a lack of foreign investment in Venezuela's oil industry. Private enterprise, not government, will shut off the flow of petrodollars that Chavez is using to pay for social programs he's using to buy the votes of the lower class.

However, Iran's a lot more connected than Venezuela and sits in a much more strategic location. Gutting their economy won't be easy because there's too much money to be made and too much interest in using Iran against the US.

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How to engage Iran?

I should have defined what I meant by "sanctions work". I think sanctions, assuming strong collaboration among security council nations, can strangle wmd development. Iraq and Libya are good cases, NK is another. None did or have developed a bomb under international sanction pressure. NK tries, but fails, I simply don't think they have the technical or financial abilities that sanctions deny.

That said, sanctions fail at regime change if anything they reinforce the current regime, because of corruption. If you want a regime change in Iran, I think it has to come from within, end of story. The mullahs must fail their people and be directly to blame, something of a reverse Iranian revolution.

Good point about Amahdinejad (degree of nutty is directly related to the price of oil) and Chavez, they highlight the politics of oil. Venezuela is definitely much further along in the economic destabilizing, largely because their oil reserves are capital and technology intense to extract compared to Iran. Pull out the foreign investment, and the clock starts ticking on when production will fall. Iran is in the same position but for different reasons. The big question is how much will China step in with $$$ to help out Chavez and Iran. They might help quite a bit, because of China's thirst for raw resources.

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How to engage Iran?

Please remember that China wouldn't even be a factor if Truman had listened to MacArthur during the Korean conflict.

If Truman hadn't fired MacArthur and gave him what he wanted, we would have won the war instead of ending up in a stalemate and settling for the split between North and South Korea. In turn, the police action/war in Viet Nam would have never happened.

As far as Iran is concerned, it all started with Jimmy Carter and the Ayatollah Khomeini. President Carter gave him the country of Iran, let him hold hostages, and in the end gave him about $8 billion. We're still paying for it today.

Iran is the old Persian empire. They wish to have the entire world under their control with their religious beliefs. They believe that if you are not an Islamic Jihadist Muslim, you should be put to death. What that means my friends, is that if you are a Christian, Pagan, Atheist, Jew or even a peace loving Muslim, they want you eradicated from the face of the planet. They will settle for nothing less than world domination.

Sounds a bit like a few others out of the history books doesn't it? Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Napoleon just to name a few. History will repeat itself unless we learn from it.

You say world domination can't happen? I beg to differ. If Hitler hadn't made a few mistakes (thank God) we would be living in a much different world today.

We should also be thankful that FDR didn't believe the United States should remain separatists and nuetral. We are the police of the world. We cannot stand idly by while atrocities happen throughout the world. Tough times sometimes call for extreme measures.

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