Vali Nasr and Ray Takeyh – The Iran Option That Isn’t on the Table – washingtonpost.com
Paradoxically, to liberalize the theocratic state, the United States would do better to shelve its containment strategy and embark on a policy of unconditional dialogue and sanctions relief. A reduced American threat would deprive the hard-liners of the conflict they need to justify their concentration of power. In the meantime, as Iran became assimilated into the global economy, the regime’s influence would inevitably yield to the private sector, with its demands for accountability and reform.
It is important to appreciate that Iran has a political system without precedent or parallel in modern history. The struggle there is not just between reactionaries and reformers, conservatives and liberals, but fundamentally between the state and society. A subtle means of diminishing the state and empowering the society is, in the end, the best manner of promoting not only democracy but also nuclear disarmament. Credit Photo Sack/Star Tribune