Iran: Not taking yes for an answer

A colleague once said of Bosnia “when you think you’ve got the answer, they change the question”. If I were an Iranian, I suspect I’d feel the same about the West.
The Iranian strategy has always been simple and clear. As a fiercely independent people who have suffered foreign meddling in their affairs for generations, and the unremitting hostility of the West for thirty years, they want to develop a nuclear breakout capability which will enable them to produce nuclear weapons in a few years if things get really rough. If the wild talk of American or Israeli politicians about wiping them out ever starts to be put into practice, they will then have a large enough stick to make aggression less attractive. A single nuclear weapon would inflict casualties that no invader could tolerate. At least that’s the hope. (This, by the way, would put them in the same league as Japan and Germany, both of whom could go nuclear very quickly if they wanted to.)
The West will not tolerate being deterred., and so no answer the Iranians give is ever going to be satisfactory, and for political reasons everything they say and do has to be unacceptable.
Whatever you think of the current regime, this is a stupid way to treat any country. Simply put, the West is threatening to attack them if they defend themselves, a bit like “Monty Python”‘s  Doug and Dinsdale Piranha threatening to beat people up if they gave them money. I used to wonder whether “Monty Python” was a good guide to the essentially surreal world of international politics. Now I’m sure it is.


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