Islamic Republic of Iran

All of Western Civilization Could Soon Be Threatened By a Nuclear Iran
February 25, 2012

I don’t know whether it’s time just yet for someone, anyone to bomb Iran. But it’s been quite a few years since the wise folk in the strategy profession have been saying “sanctions need time.” This sounds very reassuring unless, of course, Tehran’s nuclear option beats out Tehran’s financial collapse. Just how much economic pain will the world’s self-appointed moral monitors permit even a repellent and perilous Islamic power to endure until all the strings of conscience are played and the will to act is foreclosed.

A Tour of Egypt’s Half-Finished Revolution
February 17, 2012

I arrived in the Egyptian town of Edfu on a Friday in early February. The temple there, a wondrous reminder of the Egyptian pharaohs’ obsession with eternity and architectural monumentalism, was eerily quiet and empty of tourists. But the silence was more than filled by the blaring sound of the Friday sermon, broadcast over loudspeakers at unavoidably high volume.

War With Iran: What Do Americans Think?
February 16, 2012

As tensions between Israel and Iran have grown in the past few weeks over the latter’s nuclear ambitions, the press has been asking how the U.S. might react to Israeli military action—or whether the U.S. might itself get involved. How do Americans feel about different military scenarios vis-à-vis Iran? According to a study from Pew Research released yesterday, Americans might be more supportive of war with Iran than you might expect.

Obama’s ‘Hawkish’ Foreign Policy? If Only It Were So.
February 16, 2012

A New Republic blogger last week pronounced the president’s foreign policy record “hawkish.” This is especially odd, given Barack Obama’s ongoing attempt at persuading himself and the world that he had altered the model of international relations so that it now worked by talk and suasion. This is probably how his enthusiasts—and young enthusiasts, especially—still experience him. Illusions die hard. But even Obama can no longer be wholly persuaded by this, his own fantasy.

Iran, Europe, And Oil: The Cost Of An Export Halt
February 15, 2012

Today, state media in Tehran declared a halt to oil exports to six European countries, apparently in retaliation for recent EU measures aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. (A conflicting statement from the country’s oil ministry, however, is creating confusion about whether the export cutoff will actually occur.) If the oil stoppage goes forward, what impact will it have on Europe? Information from the Congressional Research Service suggests that the move’s impact would vary considerably from country to country.

How Iran Produced the Best Film of 2011—and What Americans Can Learn From It
February 07, 2012

The Iranian film A Separation, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, seems to me the best film of 2011. It is one of the Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Picture, but by any sense of justice in any nation (let alone the self-assessed greatest in the world) it would have been nominated for Best Picture before anything else. The ways in which the characters in A Separation struggle for truth and honor, while yielding sometimes to compromise and falsehood, is not foreign to us. Few other films made last year give such a striking sense of, “Look—isn’t this life?

Slideshow: Let Slip the Dolphins of War!
January 21, 2012

The prospect of Iran laying mines along the Strait of Hormuz is no laughing matter, but we did have to suppress a giggle when we found out what the U.S. response might involve: Flipper. Deploying dolphins to locate underwater mines (as a retired Navy admiral suggested in an interview last week with NPR) is, we learned, a tried-and-true military strategy.

Are We Sliding Toward War With Iran?
January 18, 2012

The sanctions against Iran may well succeed on their own terms while producing regrettable, if unintended, consequences.

How Serious Are Iran's Oil Threats?
December 28, 2011

Yesterday, a senior Iranian official, in response to threats of U.S. sanctions, declared that the proposed measures could spark an energy crisis. Referring to sanctions aimed at deterring Iran’s nuclear program, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice president, said that an American crackdown would mean that “even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” Just how crucial is the Strait of Hormuz? According to information from the U.S.