Remember the Iranian bomb? We don’t hear much about it from our president these days, but
Iran is proclaiming significant gains in its nuclear program, progress that Western officials and experts say could effectively erase setbacks from recent cyber attacks and shorten the timeline for acquiring nuclear weapons.
Scientists from Iran’s atomic energy program, in announcements over the past three days, said they have successfully tested advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium and are less than a month away from starting the country’s first commercial nuclear reactor. The announcements, linked to the observance of “nuclear technology day” in Tehran, underscore recent assessments by intelligence officials and Western nuclear experts suggesting that Iran is preparing to speed up its production of enriched uranium. — Washington Post
I guess the ‘biting sanctions’ were more or less toothless, and the tough talk about nothing being off the table was just that — talk.
Indeed, almost any criticism of Iran coming from the White House has been muted recently, despite the violent suppression of demonstrations (several demonstrators were killed in February), and multiple attempts to ship massive amounts of weapons to Hizballah.
Our administration has been also particularly easy on the Iranian ally/satellite regime in Syria, where hundreds of anti-regime protesters have been shot.
And it hasn’t stuck up for traditional US allies, either. Barry Rubin writes,
In an unprecedented statement, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) has condemned Iran for trying to overthrow them. Tehran has been at it since 1979 but this is the first time that these countries have been so bold…
Meanwhile, Iran is threatening Saudi Arabia, which the Iranian parliament’s foreign affairs and national security committee said, “should know it’s better not to play with fire in the sensitive region of the Persian Gulf.”
The Saudi government responded that this was an “irresponsible” statement containing “void allegations and blatant offense against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” And, said the Saudi version of parliament, Iran’s position “fuels sectarianism,” a codeword for pitting Shias against Sunni Muslims. Iran must “stop these hostile policies and respect the rules of good neighbourliness … so as to preserve the security and stability in this region which is key for the entire world.”
The GCC’s secretary-general, Abdullatif al-Zayani, … condemned “Iran’s meddling in the internal affairs of GCC countries” that “threatened security and stability in the region.”
Where is U.S. policy in all of this? Nowhere at all. It is not siding with the GCC. At best, the United States is neutral between the two sides. Such a position is a terrible mistake. The new development is that the U.S. government has stopped criticizing Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. But it hasn’t started helping them.
If Washington doesn’t support the GCC against Iran, who will? And the expansion of Iranian influence–on the eve of Tehran getting nuclear weapons–is catastrophic for U.S. interests.
On the other hand, the US did take sides against Egypt’s Mubarak, the other pillar of opposition to Iran in the Mideast.
What I want to know is this: it sounds absurd to say that the US has taken a turn toward Iran and away from its former friends, Israel and the conservative Sunni regimes. But the old saying “if it walks like a duck, etc.” seems to apply here.
Is American policy becoming pro-Iranian?