Wishful Thinking on Iran

This letter is in response to an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times on December 8, 2013.

Letter to the Editor
The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Iran, From Enemy to Ally” (Dec. 8):

Wishful thinking is not a productive basis for serious foreign policy decision-making. Unfortunately, David Patrikarakos is guilty of a whole bunch of that in his arguing for a new approach to Iran.

There is no doubt that a different Iran, one that abandons terrorism, its nuclear weapons program, its hostility to America and Israel, and one that observes human rights would be welcome.

To achieve those things, however, would require a major ideological realignment resulting in a different regime in Tehran.  The clerics who ruled Iran for more than 30 years may have a pragmatic side, as Mr. Patrikarakos claims, but they still are driven above all else by ideology.  That ideology puts radical Islam first, is predicated on fierce anti-Western values, and is almost inevitably a continuing threat to the Jewish state of Israel, which Iran rejects, and to Sunni regimes in the Persian Gulf.

If there is any chance for the nuclear talks to bring an end to an Iranian nuclear threat they must be predicated on a clear-eyed look at who we are dealing with. The Islamic regime won't change its ideology but still may yet change its nuclear aspirations if the West is steadfast in its approach. 

Mushy thinking, as exhibited by Mr. Patrikarakos, about a new Iran emerging while this Islamic radical regime is in power will neither bring significant change nor will it help to address successfully the nuclear threat.


The Anti-Defamation League

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