Dobbins November 8th reading.docx

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Political Science
Justin Bumgardner

thDobbins November 8 readingAmerican objectivesThe United States has 3 objectives with respect to Iran restraining its external behaviour moderating its domestic politics and reversing its nuclearweapons programme policy should work towards all three Objectives are in tension Containment isolates Iranian reformists as well as the repressive elements of Iranian society and Sanctions help rally public opinion around the regime and increase popular support for its nuclear ambitions American efforts to promote political reform are used by the regime both to justify repression and to discredit the oppositionIranian objectivesIranian grievances go back to the American role in overthrowing Irans democratically elected government in 1953 followed by Washingtons backing of the shah for the next 26 years and by American support for Saddam Husseins war of aggression against Iran during which the US Navy shot down an Iranian civil airliner over international waters in the Persian GulfAmerican grievances begin with the seizure of the US Embassy and the holding hostage of its staff in 1979 followed by Iranian links to terrorist attacks on American forces in Beirut in 1983 and in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and Iranian support for extremist movements in Lebanon Gaza Iraq and Afghanistan the nuclear program now Americas dominant concernArab governments to directly influence their populations Iran has no modern history of military aggression and only limited capabilities to threaten its neighbours militarily It is not however the Iranian military that its neighbours fear most but rather the Islamic Republics appeal to their populations as the ideological bastion of antiAmerican antiIsraeli and proShia sentiment as the patron of Arab rejectionist forces and as a source of funding advice and arms for insurgent and extremist groupInternational reactionsRegional states and global powers are currently fairly united in opposing the Iranian nuclear programme but few do so with the concentration that marks American policy For most other governments Israel aside Irans nuclear programme is one consideration among many The Obama administration has nevertheless been quite successful in securing broad international support for the sanctions regime This coalition remains fragile however and probably cannot be led too much further absent some new Iranian provocationThe Arab monarchies of the Gulf will likely resist the domestic reforms that offer the best antidote to Iranian influence and they will offer little support for American efforts to encourage Iranian democracy Iran has nothing to offer the democratising Arab societies either as a model or as a source of assistance Tehrans main source of leverage in the Arab world has been its capacity to undermine the legitimacy of authoritarian regimes linked to Washington and by
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