Could Iran’s Defiance of Western Nuclear Demands be a Rational Choice?

Despite mounting pressure on Tehran to engage in substantial negotiations over its nuclear program, no serious analyst is expecting a diplomatic breakthrough any time soon. After all, the Iranian leadership continues to signal defiance despite sanctions pressure, and the ferocious power struggle currently underway within the Tehran regime militates against any near-term strategic change of course. But there’s another, more telling reason why Iran shows little interest in reaching a compromise deal to break the standoff right now: A cold-eyed realist assessment by Tehran’s leaders that their position grows stronger while America’s grows weaker in the course of the current deadlock. Just as Washington is waiting for the effect of sanctions to weaken Iran’s resolve, so are Iranian leaders waiting for the Arab Spring uprisings to further weaken the position of the U.S. and its allies in the region.

China and Russia this week both criticized Tehran’s conduct, and urged it to get serious about talks. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told Presid… >>>

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