One gets the intuitive feeling that “the other shoe will drop” in Iran following the unrest caused by the fraudulent election results last June. Among other things, our standing offer to talk now begs the question, with whom? Clearly, the Ahmadinejad regime has been severely wounded and the world has been exposed to the lack of credibility in the moralism of the mullahs and their Supreme Leader. There are other, deeper issues. Polls show that 36% of Iranians 15-29 want to emigrate and fertility rates have declined significantly to below replacement levels, not a good sign in a Muslim country. This damage will not be lost on their opponents in the region, nor will it be misunderstood by the new Israeli government, which understands the increased risk in dealing with a humiliated enemy eager to demonstrate its resolve. All of this poses a problem for the U. S. in terms of its priorities, which are increasingly imbalanced in the belief that all problems in the Middle East originate in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. In its zeal to abandon the policies of the Bush administration and pursue more “engagement” with Iran, this administration seems to have become somewhat detached from the nuclear threat it represents and the absolute commitment by Israel to insure that this threat does not become a reality, at whatever the cost. The latter should be our top priority as well.
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