Right on schedule, the accommodationists have begun to come out of the woodwork. Vali Nasr and Ray Takeyh — the always-predictable CFR’s resident Iran hands — had a piece in yesterday’s International Herald Tribune laying out their ironclad logic for cutting a deal with Iran’s ayatollahs. Here’s a sampling: “Iran, as the National Intelligence Estimate noted, is hardly the radical power determined to upend the regional order. Iran is an unexceptionally opportunistic state seeking to assert predominance in its immediate neighborhood… The task is to conceive a situation in which Iran would want to be contained – in other words, one in which it would see benefits in limiting its ambitions and abiding by prevailing norms.”
This argument would actually be quaint if it wasn’t being taken quite so seriously. After all, until very recently, the idea that Iran’s radical regime can be bribed into a cooperative mood had been the driver of Europe’s Iran policy. We all know how that has turned out.
To my mind, the real question here is whether — now that regime change, military action, and comprehensive international sanctions are all essentially off the table — there is anything that we can actually offer the Iranians that is more attractive than their current circumstance. My personal suspicion is that the regime there thinks it has things pretty good at the moment, thank you very much.