The Senate approved a resolution on Wednesday urging the Bush administration to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, and lawmakers briefly set aside partisan differences to approve a measure calling for stepped-up diplomacy to forge a political solution in Iraq.
Since last month, the White House has been weighing whether to declare the Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group or to take a narrower step focusing on only the Guard’s elite Quds Force. Either approach would signal a more confrontational posture by declaring a part of the Iranian military a terrorist operation. [complete article]
TRITA PARSI: Israel has for a very long time been a critical factor in America’s formulation of a policy vis-à-vis Iran. But what’s really interesting is that the influence of Israel has gone in completely different directions, if we just go back fifteen years. During the 1980s, in spite of the Iranian Revolution, in spite of Ayatollah Khomeini’s many, many harsh remarks about Israel, far, far worse than what anything Ahmadinejad has said so far, Israel at the time was the country that was lobbying the United States to open up talks with Iran to try to rebuild the US-Iran relations, because of strategic imperatives that Israel had. Israel needed Iran, because it was fearing the Arab world and a potential war with the Arabs.
After 1991, ’92, that’s when you see the real shift in Israeli-Iranian relations, because that’s when the entire geopolitical map of the Middle East is redrawn. The Soviet Union collapses. The last standing army of the Arabs, that of Saddam Hussein, is defeated in the Persian Gulf War. And you have an entirely new security environment in the Middle East, in which the two factors, the Soviets and the Arabs, that had pushed Iran and Israel closer together suddenly evaporate. But as their security environment improves, they also start to realize that they may be ending up in a situation in which they can become potential threats to each other. And that’s when you see how the Israelis shift 180 degrees. Now the Israeli argument was that the United States should not talk to Iran, because there is no such thing as Iranian moderates.
And ever since, the Israelis and the pro-Israel interest in the United States have lobbied to make sure that there is no dialogue or there’s no rapprochement between the United States and Iran. And the Iranians have done similar things. They have undermined every US foreign policy initiative in the Middle East that they feared would be beneficial to Israel. So the real shift in Israeli-Iranian relations come after the Cold War, not with the revolution in 1979. [complete article]