Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ahmadinejad Too Busy to Deal with U.S. Efforts on Nuclear Issue?

By Barry Rubin

It really is amazing, and often amusing, what passes for Middle East analysis nowadays. Here’s someone named Reza Aslan, quoted at length in Reuters:

“`To think that at the same time as putting together his cabinet in the midst of the largest uprising since the Iranian revolution, and oh by the way, figure out a way to respond to the United States, that is just not going to happen,’ said Iran expert Reza Aslan.”

"`He is going to have such a difficult time forming a government, let alone governing, and quite likely he will not even last another year. Any previous idea of a timeline needs to be thrown out the window,` Aslan said.”

So that’s the problem! Ahmadinejad’s just too busy to deal with the world’s only supposed superpower which says it has stopping Iran’s nuclear program at the top of its agenda along with all its dozens of allies? Sorry, America, but Ahmadinejad can’t make time for you. Take a number, sit down, and he’ll get to you when he can.

Aslan is identified as “an Iran expert and author in Los Angeles.” (On his website he explains that he's "internationally acclaimed.") Hey, those are good enough credentials for me. He has degrees in religion and has written a book on Islam. And does this make him an expert on international affairs?

Let me suggest two better reasons why the Iranian regime won’t answer Obama:

First, because it has no intention of doing anything but pursue getting nuclear weapons at top speed. It will offer no concessions whatsoever. So it has nothing particularly to say.

Second, it doesn’t take the U.S. government seriously. The Iranian regime believes the Obama administration is weak, fears confrontation with Iran, and will not do anything to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. The same analysis applies to Europe.

Whether this is a misreading of the Obama administration is up to that government to disprove. I know that administration officials can find a pile of quotations, policy statements, backgrounds and talking points to show that they mean to be tough and apply strong sanctions.

But you know what? That doesn’t matter. If Tehran laughs at them this is all that’s important.

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