Mea Culpa, Europe. We know that no one has been a better friend to the religious dictators in Iran as our President, George Bush. He helped it get rid of Iraq, its most formidable enemy on its Western flank, while creating a vacuum of power in Afghanistan that it could exploit to buttress its East. And for a president with a tin ear for pr, he has managed to boost Iran’s ratings throughout the Arab world—traditionally no friend to the Persians—by letting them stand strong against the U.S. while American-financed Sunni dictatorships waffled.
But as liberals, we're worried about Iran. It has the highest death penalty rate of almost any country in the world, according to Amnesty International, and has no qualms about executing minors. It is a country whose leaders sanction stoning women to death for adultery, and hanging teenagers for homosexuality. Union organizers are being arrested, as are human rights activists. To give a country like this even more power to oppress its own people with impunity is repugnant.
For that reason, we are hoping that Europe will look past its own anger with the U.S., and its economic self-interest, when George Bush comes to ask for help on economic sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Related: FP Passport: "Iran's oil industry could completely collapse by 2015, according to Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University. (...) Surveying their oil debacle, Stern believes Iran's desire for nuclear technology for power generation is genuine, and that the U.S. should just "hold its breath" until Tehran's position softens. "What they are doing to themselves is much worse than anything we could do," he said."
• Duck of Minerva looks for evidence in the accusations that Iran has provided "support" for Shia militias in Iraq.
• American Future summarizes a "promising proposal for a 'Grand Bargain' with Iran" outlined by Michael McFaul, Abbas Milani, and Larry Diamond in The Washington Quarterly. Quote from the proposal A Win-Win U.S. Strategy for Dealing with Iran (pdf):
If they rejected such an offer, the regime in Tehran would pay a significant price domestically. The vast majority of the Iranian people yearn for more engagement with the West and the United States in particular. Iran's economy urgently needs foreign investment, new technologies, and greater trade opportunities for the nonenergy sectors. A government that openly rejects such inflows will face a potent popular backlash.