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Reader Mailbag: Iran’s Political Future?

A reader wonders:

You wrote yesterday, “We don’t want a war and we don’t want an Iranian bomb; now is the time to redouble our efforts to bring this standoff to a peaceful and successful close.”

I don’t recall reading in your blog what you think a peaceful and successful close in Iran would look like, what the day after would look like for the region. By that I mean how would the regime look? I’m sure you don’t mean we could anticipate regime change as such. Would the next day involve the alleged moderates making a move on the Ayatollah? How would the sudden outbreak of peace affect the al Qods force, the IRGC, and Iran’s status as the #1 exporter of terrorism and their efforts to unseat all the hostile monarchies in the region? I would very much like to read your analysis of what exactly in terms of future Iranian behaviors we could expect from the success of sanctions.

The reason I haven’t specified one particular outcome is that I can imagine many alternatives that meet the basic minimum criteria—avoiding both a war and an Iranian bomb. There could be regime change in Iran, or the regime could change its mind.

Some of the possible solutions are better from an American point of view and some are less attractive, but the bottom line here is that America’s vital interests would be reasonably served by just about any conceivable solution that stops the Iranian bomb drive without American military action. I don’t think we can know much about the future evolution of Iran; this is a time to keep focused on our own bottom line and do what we can to advance our core interests. If a new Iranian regime emerges that wants a better relationship, or if the current regime decides that relentless competition with the US on every level from nuclear bombs to terrorism no longer serves its interests, we should be ready to deal — and remember: the grand prize here remains no bomb and no war.

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