The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, a Newsmax contributor, expresses skepticism
about President Barack Obama's recent assertion that a nuclear agreement would help Iran become "a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules."
This, Obama said, "would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people."
Goldberg writes that "this is a wonderful notion, the idea that the end of Iran’s isolation could lead it to moderate its more extreme impulses. But there isn’t much in the way of proof to suggest that Iran’s rulers are looking to join an international order whose norms are defined by the United States and its allies."
In reality, "there is proof of something quite opposite: Iran seems as interested as ever in becoming a regional hegemon, on its own terms. And its supreme leader, and his closest confidants, have made it clear, over and over again, that he is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States."
Iran "supports Shiite insurrections in Yemen and Bahrain; it attempts to manipulate Lebanese politics through its Beirut-based proxy, Hezbollah; it intervenes in Gaza and against the already-fading hope for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab crisis; and certainly its unceasing threats to eradicate a fellow member-state of the United Nations, Israel, suggest that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has a vision for Iran that differs from Obama’s."
But nothing underscores Tehran's imperialistic nature more than its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"Without Iran’s assistance, Assad would have fallen a long time ago. The death toll
in Syria is more than 200,000; half of Syria's population has been displaced," Goldberg writes. "These dark achievements of the Assad regime would not have been possible without Iran. Thousands of Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops and advisers, plus Iranian weaponry, have made all the difference for Assad."
Goldberg hopes President Obama is correct and is able to achieve "a strong nuclear deal" with Iran.
"But I worry that he is empowering an Iranian government that isn’t about to change in any constructive way," he concludes. "In the meantime, the Iranian regime continues to get away, quite literally, with murder."
Goldberg has defended Obama from charges that he is hostile to Israel
and dismissive of its legitimate security concerns.
And Goldberg has cautioned that if Iran is subject to a preventative attack targeting its nuclear program, "many of the U.S.'s allies in the sanctions campaign will melt away." Much of the world "will express sympathy for an Iran under attack, and Iran could capitalize
on that sympathy to rebuild its nuclear weapons program in the open," he wrote recently.
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