Some Saturday Iran Links

Stephen Schwartz, via the Center For Islamic Pluralism, is not happy about the deal nor the Syrian part of the equation:

The White House celebrates an Iranian “interim nuclear deal” that, like the Syrian chemical weapons deal, ignored Iran and Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria. Predictably, Al-Assad was thrilled by the outcome of Iran’s Geneva performance. Al-Assad, official Syrian media crowed, “saw that Iran’s achievement will reflect on Syria due to the strategic relation between the two countries. President [Hassan] Rouhani, for his part, reaffirmed Iran’s standing by Syria.”

Perhaps it’s safe to assume that Putin’s going to do what’s best for Putin, Assad for Assad, and Rouhani and the mullahs for Rouhani and the mullahs.  These are people with whom we can barely do business, if at all.

Walter Russell Mead and his staff remain skeptical.  Remember, this deal is a first tentative step in which the Iranian regime will be expected to meet many conditions.  What have they sacrificed so far?

‘As it stands, Iran looks to be emerging from the sanctions saga with the upper hand. Its influence is spreading and its clients succeeding, from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon. Foreign Minister Zarif is currently on a tour of the Gulf, looking to expand that clout by mending and strengthening financial links and touting Iranian diplomatic prestige. This is not the behavior of a country that has just ruefully acquiesced to western demands.’

One of the more positive pieces I could find comes from Foreign Affairs.   What needs to be done in the meantime if the deal’s going to survive?:

‘Washington must therefore convince the Gulf States that it is committed not only to halting Iran’s nuclear program but also to containing Iran’s principal means of projecting regional influence through asymmetric operations. This would likely take the form of intelligence collaboration and prosecutions that target the Gulf operations of Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah and military units such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — both of which engage in violence, subversion, and terrorism outside Iran’

A lot of leadership, diplomacy, and engagement are required.

Addition:  It’s easy to envision many ways in which this will break-down into a much more volatile and difficult situation for our interests.