News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 12-14:

  • The Washington Post: On her “Right Turn” blog, Jennifer Rubin asks “Will Obama now reverse course on Iran?” “We should re-evaluate the ongoing, useless talks with the Iranian regime on its nuclear weapons program, which have the effect of legitimizing the regime and depressing the opposition,” says Rubin. “Instead, in international bodies and with allies we should pursue a full court press to isolate the Iranian regime and highlight its dismal human rights record.” The neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative’s Jamie Fly tells Rubin “If the administration is serious about regime change, it is going to have to give up its hopes of a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
  • Commentary: Abe Greenwald writes about the reports on protests in Tehran and the house arrest of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. “Given the regional political temperature, the Iranian regime’s historical inclination to absolute security, and the new suspicion that Washington is content to be a witness to atrocity, there could be a perfect paranoid storm brewing in the minds of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Amadinejad.”
  • The Wall Street Journal: Melik Kaylan opines on Iranian official’s decision to “outlaw Valentines Day” and observes, “The state, for its part, continues to respond with a Whack-a-Mole approach to any social ripple not dreamt of in its philosophy.” He goes on, “[W]ith mosque and state firmly conjoined, there’s no stray detail of daily life so arcane that the scriptures can’t be mobilized to rein it in.”
  • The Wall Street Journal: The Journal’s editorial board writes, “The hard men of Tehran are now seeking to tap into Egypt’s revolutionary fervor, hailing Hosni Mubarak’s downfall as “a great victory,” but acknowledge that the Iranian government is concerned about the upsurge of pro-Democracy movements in the region. “Clearly the mullahs are nervous about contagion,” they conclude.