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The Realist Prism: No Magic Bullet on Iran

Friday, Feb. 26, 2010

In examining possible approaches to Iran policy in my last several columns, I concluded that "focusing on deterrence in the short run while increasing efforts to promote regime modification -- by internal means -- over the long haul" might end up being the most effective one. Some of the feedback I received suggested that I was being too pessimistic about current efforts to bring about a new round of punitive sanctions on Iran, and that there were signs that even Russia and China were moving closer to the U.S. position.

Those hopes received a serious setback on Thursday, when Russia appeared to throw cold water on the Obama administration's efforts to build a new coalition of great powers to enact tough sanctions on Iran. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quite blunt in his remarks yesterday: "There is no evidence that Iran has made a decision to produce nuclear weapons. . . . If we go with the sanctions, we'll not go beyond the goal of . . . defending the nonproliferation regime. We don't want the nonproliferation regime to be used for . . . strangling Iran, or taking some steps to deteriorate the situation [and] the living standards of people in Iran." ...

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