Mar. 2, 2016
- An Ominous Election in Iran – Ilan Berman
A new survey of Iranian public opinion by the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies found that 71% expressed unfavorable views of the U.S. There’s good reason to suspect that the new nuclear deal is to blame for this trend. First, the agreement undercuts confidence in the West among ordinary Iranians as a champion of human rights and democratic ideas in the face of repressive clerical rule. The sanctions relief inherent in the agreement has greatly strengthened Iran’s current regime without compelling any meaningful change in its domestic behavior. At the same time, Western nations – worried about ensuring continued Iranian compliance with the terms of the accord – have systematically downgraded their concerns about the regime’s internal deformities. As a result, to Iranians it appears as though the West has abandoned them.
Second, the nuclear deal has helped fuel a rising sense of Iranian nationalism. Its conclusion in a fashion overwhelmingly favorable to Iran’s interests has helped convey the sense that the regime has gotten the upper hand in its dealings with the West. As a result, the once-rickety political standing of the Iranian regime is more stable, and its persistent anti-Western outlook is more accepted. The writer is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington. (U.S. News)