Op-Ed

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

Appeasing a Tougher Tehran

Author: Mohamad Bazzi, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
June 12, 2010
GlobalPost

Share

One year after the tainted presidential election provoked a popular uprising in Iran, the Islamic regime has lost significant legitimacy at home. But contrary to a seductive narrative that emerged in the West shortly after the election, Tehran's influence in the Middle East did not diminish as the regime scrambled to ensure its survival.

The clerical hierarchy and military apparatus realized that they needed to shore up their Islamic and populist credentials after the election protests and crackdown. Their strategy was to focus outward: an imperial Iran trying to extend its dominance over the Persian Gulf and the region as a whole. As it sought to maintain its grip on power, the Iranian regime engaged in more, not less, adventurism abroad.

By surviving its internal challenge, the Iranian regime has emerged stronger. The Sunni Arab states still view Shiite Iran as a significant threat, but they are now largely resigned to negotiation with Tehran instead of confrontation. Arab leaders are no longer convinced that their best hope for countering Iran is to stick with the United States.

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Middle East has been polarized between the so-called “axis of resistance” (anti-imperialist, anti-Western, led by Iran and its allies Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas) and the “axis of accommodation” (Sunni Arab states allied with the United States).

The leaders of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah rarely miss an opportunity to portray themselves as defenders of the Palestinian cause, who reflect the popular will of millions of Muslims chafing under regimes that “sold out” to the United States. The Islamic Republic spent decades nurturing its allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and, more recently, in the Palestinian territories. Tehran would not allow these alliances to wither because of internal or external pressures.

View full text of article.

More on This Topic

Op-Ed

Expect More Adventurism from Iran

Author: Mohamad Bazzi
Wall Street Journal

Mohamad Bazzi argues, "Internal problems won't stop Tehran from stirring up trouble abroad."

Op-Ed

Iran Remains America's Biggest Challenge

Authors: Eric S. Edelman, Dennis B. Ross, and Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

The inherently opposing interests of Iran to those of the United States challenge the notion of a U.S.-Iranian alliance to face the crises in...

Op-Ed

Playing Small on Iran

Author: Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

The United States must stop underestimating its power in order to reach a negotiated nuclear settlement with Iran, according to Ray Takeyh.