News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 2, 2010.

  • The Washington Post: Scott Wilson writes that shared regional fears of a nuclear weapons possessing Iran might be a catalyst for a breakthrough in this week’s Arab-Israeli peace talks. “Iran’s ambitions, which have cast a long shadow over the greater Middle East, may serve as a common bond keeping a frail peace process intact despite threats that have arisen even before the negotiations open Thursday at the State Department,” he says. Wilson suggests that, if Israel is seriously considering a unilateral strike on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons facilities, Netanyahu will need to stick with peace talks and win goodwill with the White House.
  • The Wall Street Journal: Daniel Henninger defends the U.S. invasion of Iraq as preemptively cutting off Iraq’s nuclear ambitions. Henninger theorizes that had the U.S. not invaded, Saddam Hussein would have been driven to pursue nuclear weapons in order to match Iran’s alleged pursuit of the bomb. “In such a world, Saddam would have aspired to play in the same league as Iran and NoKo. Would we have ‘contained’ him?” he asks. Henninger continues his exercise in hypothetical history by suggesting that Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan would enter the “nuclear marketplace” if Iran and Iraq acquired nuclear weapons. He concludes: “The sacrifice made by the United States in Iraq took one of these nuclear-obsessed madmen off the table and gave the world more margin to deal with the threat that remains, if the world’s leadership is up to it. A big if.”
  • Foreign Policy: Author Hooman Majd contests a recent U.S. talking point that sanctions are working. Citing political infighting between various conservative factions, the Obama administration argues that sanctions are having an effect. But Majd asserts that this is politics as usual — not a sign that there might be political space for a resurgent Green Movement. In fact, he says, no matter what happens, the real power center in Iran, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, remains firmly in the driver’s seat and the nuclear calculus is still a point of mutual agreement between the many political factions.
  • JINSA Report: The ultra-hawkish advocacy organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), issued it’s latest e-mail blast calling Iran the “elephant” in the room in nearly every U.S. and Israeli strategic challenge in the region (this mirrors the ‘road to peace leads through Tehran’ meme discussed in yesterday’s TP’s). The U.S. needs “to tame it or remove” that elephant from Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the “the Israel-Palestinian ‘peace’ talks,” JINSA argues.