Iran Not Nearly as Crazy as Neocons Claim

Its leaders aren't stupid—and deterrence can work: Greenway
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2009 9:00 AM CDT
A satellite image showing a suspected nuclear enrichment facility under construction inside a mountain located about 20 miles north northeast of Qom, Iran.   (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)
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(Newser) – Iran has no nuclear bomb, but already the old Bush-Cheney chorus has returned to insist it's time for another war in the Middle East. It's true that sanctions may not stop Iran from ramping up its nuclear program, but that doesn't mean that deterrence and diplomacy can't help, writes Boston Globe columnist HDS Greenway. Not unlike the Soviet Union, "Iran is a very calculating and rational society," and it knows full well what the US and Israel are capable of.

Neocons seem to believe that Iran is ruled by a death cult that "wouldn’t hesitate to commit national suicide if it could get at Israel’s throat," even though Israel has had the power to annihilate Iran for decades. In fact, Iran's nuclear program is coldly pragmatic—with Iraq and Afghanistan on its borders, the country is surrounded by US troops. With the right carrots and sticks, "there is still a chance that the West can persuade Iran that it is in its interest to stop shy of completing a weapon."