May 19, 2005


U.S. rules out giving incentives to Iran (GEORGE GEDDA, May 19, 2005, AP)

A senior State Department official ruled out on Thursday the possibility of providing Iran with fresh economic incentives as a means of curbing its nuclear ambitions.

"There is no reason to believe that extra incentives offered by the United States at this point would make a real difference," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said.

This is a mistake. We should not only provide incentives but the President should personally go to Tehran to work out the deal and while there do a Reagan and appeal over the mullahcracy's head to the people. Such a speech would emphasize our historic ties and the contributions to American society of Iranian immigrants, explain that we supported the Shah for purposes of reform but now recognize his limitations and in particular regret the coup, and look to a rapidly approaching future when the Iranian and American people will recognize that they are natural allies. It would also lay out the rather modest structural reforms--though epochal in nature--that the Iranian state requires to be fully liberal: removing the final say of the Guardian Council on political matters. Iran is a low hanging fruit--pluck it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2005 5:25 PM

I guess he figures that even if he gave that speech, they would smile for PR purposes, and use his visit to legitimatize themselves. In other words the opposite effect of what you think the result would be. After all they would assume he's making nice because they have a bomb coming on line, and that if they didn't he wouldn't be sucking up to them. You of course are assuming that a wedge would be driven between the Mullahs and the "people", while it might be possible that the people would be in awe of the power the Mullahs have over the President of the USA. (similar to the begging philosphy of Jimmy Carter's foreign policy, which has had the effect of encouraging the Bin Ladens and Zarquawis) Also similiar to the FDR Yalta approach that you are always bringing up.

Just speculation on my part.

Posted by: h-man at May 19, 2005 6:54 PM

Better to give the speech in Afghanistan (or Iraq, but Afghanistan's probably safer, unfortunately). Maybe right after the Iranian sham elections, to draw stark attention to the divide between the political situations in backwards Afghanistan and the glorious Persian nation...

Posted by: b at May 19, 2005 6:59 PM

I'd do it before the elections.

Iran needs a local dude to rally around. Needs to become a cause celebre and get rejected by the Guardian council or get exiled. The sons of both the Shah and Khomenei have supported reforms. I've always thought it would be helpful if they stepped up together.

Condi or Fmr. President Clinton may be the ones to visit Iran. I don't like how he phrases it, but Clinton seems to get Iran. It's like they loaded the software for democracy but need to reboot to get it to work.

Posted by: JAB at May 19, 2005 7:27 PM

The wedge is there already. W can just keep pushing it.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 8:23 PM

Your ignorance of how the Islamic world works is very entertaining, sad, but entertaining. There is no more similarities between the USSR and its workings and Iran then an orange and a donkey.

Posted by: BJW at May 20, 2005 11:05 AM


Obviously not, the USSR was never as liberal as Iran already is today nor was its revolution popular. This'll be much easier.

Posted by: oj at May 20, 2005 11:54 AM