Iranian workers inspect a bridge that was hit during the 2006 Israeli aerial bombardment of Lebanon's southern coastal highway, Jan. 18, 2007. Iran was one of many states to help Lebanon recover from war damage.
"Only a Strong Iran Will Talk"
February 21, 2009
Author: Kayhan Barzegar, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/international Security Program, 2007–2010
"The politics of Iran-U.S. relations are such that only a "strong Iran", with an "equal role" in regional issues, will have the propensity to talk directly with the United States. The political-security developments in post-invasion Iraq have increased Iran's regional role and strength, a situation that has led Iran to accept direct talks with America on Iraq's political-security issues.
From the perspective of the governing elites in Iran, any direct talks with the U.S. in an unequal condition will endanger Iran's national security and interests, and as past experiences show, Iran would ultimately lose in such talks. Meanwhile, Iran's strategic value, along with the legitimacy of its role among the friendly political factions and states in the region, is based on playing an independent role and avoiding direct engagement with the U.S. on the regional issues. Instead, Iran should resolve its strategic differences with the U.S. through strength in the region. This policy will give Iran more importance, and subsequently better serve the interests of its friends in the region. Iran's effective role in post-invasion Iraq and post-2006 Lebanon are two examples in this regard...."
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