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Despite Experts’ Concerns, President Obama Says in Interview That Iran Should “Seize Chance” To Make Nuclear Deal

President Obama held out hope that Iran has “a chance to get right with the world,” by coming to a nuclear agreement with the West in an interview with NPR, Reuters reported yesterday.

“They’ve got a chance to get right with the world,” Obama said in the interview, which was taped at the White House on Dec. 18 and is set to air this week. …

Obama told NPR that Iran should seize the chance of a deal that could lift crippling sanctions.

“Because if they do, there’s incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of Iran and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules – and that would be good for everybody,” he said.

Despite the president’s apparent optimism about the possibility of a deal with Iran, Reuters noted that “Vice President Joe Biden earlier this month said he thought there was a ‘less than even shot’ of an agreement.” While President Obama was generally positive about closer ties with Iran, he did criticize Iran for “adventurism, the support of organizations like Hizbollah, the threats they’ve directed at Israel.”

Yesterday NPR published a complete transcript of the interview with the president, which covered both domestic and foreign issues and has prompted much discussion.

Others are not as optimistic in their assessments of the possibility of Iran becoming, as President Obama put it, “a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules.”

David Daoud, in Replacement Theory: The Administration’s Crazy New Middle East Illusion, which was also published in the December 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, cited Michael Singh of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy to spell out why courting rather than challenging Iran will work against American interests.

Singh has pointed out that whatever Iran can offer in the short term, its expansionist ideology—wholly hostile to the United States and the West—will remain unchanged, making it a long-term force for instability and violence. Every gain Iran is allowed to make will be a problem to confront in the future. In fact, even in the short term, Iran is not the force for stability that the administration seems to think it is, nor do its interests align with the U.S. in any way. Iran’s continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank inflames the regional instability which the U.S. so desperately wants to extinguish. Its exacerbation of sectarian tensions in Iraq by strengthening Shi’a militias is directly at odds with the U.S. strategy of a politically inclusive Iraq that will restore Iraqi Sunnis’ confidence in the Baghdad government. In Syria, the United States wants Bashar al-Assad to cede power in favor of genuine reform, whereas Iran does not want to lose an important ally; even if it agrees to Assad’s departure, it will do so only if his replacement is more or less identical. And while Iran might temporarily restrain its terrorist proxies, it will retain the ability—and the will—to reactivate them whenever it so chooses. As Badran put it, “Not only will Obama’s strategy not achieve his own stated goal of defeating ISIS” and quieting the region, “it will bring untold disruption to a Middle East that has already seen enough.” A “Pax Iranica” would benefit Iran alone, not the U.S. or its regional allies.

[Photo: CNN / YouTube ]