I am troubled by the editorial, “Tehran showing some welcome signs of desperation” (TNT, 1-11), and the conclusion that President Obama should keep tightening sanctions.
I was in Iran in 2010. Though no “Iran expert,” I noted that the government is brutal and all-powerful, while the people are the friendliest I have ever met, eager to meet Americans.
The sanctions may or may not be effective and could be counter-productive. The aged clerics who rule supreme apparently see no need to comply with Western/American demands. They have their own weapons and could close the Strait of Hormuz.
An Iranian bomb is “unacceptable,” we are told, but have we told Pakistan, India, Israel that their nuclear arsenal is unacceptable, since we aided those nations in building them?
As for danger to Israel, there are at least as many Muslims as Jews in Israel and the territories. Any attack on Israel would kill many Muslims. Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu shout populist rhetoric at each other, but isn’t it time for quiet diplomacy?
America cannot afford a third war, and wars no longer seem to be winnable. Instead of “tightening,” I would say to President Obama, “Cool it.” Rather than taunt the mullahs, let 80 million Iranians know that we welcome their friendship and will work for it.