President Obama should "ditch his conciliatory tone" with Tehran, says Rosemary Righter in The Times. In spite of the missile tests conducted by Iran at the weekend, Obama is promising the Islamic republic 'a clear path' away from pariah status if it will come clean about its nuclear programme and renounce nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council.
His approach is "inexplicable". Iran's "dreadful duo", Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad, have taken a beating at home and abroad since the June elections.
The US should exploit this. Iranians may be proud of their nuclear programme, but they also want political change. The worst message to send is that if their rulers just make a gesture on the nuclear front, "they can go on beating political prisoners and hanging homosexuals".
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And "any regime will cooperate if its interests are on the line". Sanctions will help, but they need to hurt the elite and not the poor (which would only serve to unite the country behind Admadinejad).
But how will that be achieved?, asks Mark Landler in the International Herald Tribune. Let's not forget Iran has managed to cope with sanctions in "one form or another" since 1979.
And it's highly unlikely that Russia and China will support sanctions that come anywhere close to 'crippling' Iran, says Flynt Leverett, also in the IHT. Both rely on Iranian oil.
A better approach would be for Washington to take steps to realign itself with Iran and reassure Tehran that rapprochement would serve its strategic needs. "On that basis, the US and Iran would forge a comprehensive framework for security as well as economic cooperation."
The international community would then work with Iran to develop its civil nuclear programme in a transparent manner, rather than demanding proof that it's not developing weapons.
Some may say that this is too high a price to pay for better relations, "but the price is high only for those who attach value to failed policies that have damaged American interests in the Middle East and made our allies there less secure".
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