Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Should We “Engage”?

Since the release of the NIE summary on December 3, the case for engagement with Iran has grown in strength again. While engagement has been the principled tool for Western diplomacy with Tehran, has it worked?

Russia is engaging Tehran by providing them with nuclear technology and arms deals. Europe is engaging Iran through dialogue and trade. Saudi Arabia is engaging Iran through invitations to the hajj and diplomatic meetings. Turkey is engaging Tehran much in the same way—trade and talks. The Gulf States are also engaging Tehran. And so is Egypt—despite the lack of diplomatic ties since 1979: according to Iranian sources, Ali Larijani was just there on a visit and cultural ties are deepening. Even the U.S. has engaged Iran—though on a limited basis—over Iraq.

Now, Iranian Foreign Minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, has rebuffed the U.S. after Condoleezza Rice’s latest overture to Tehran, urging the U.S. to change its tone. Tehran’s latest rejection should come as no surprise, given Iran’s consistent rebuff of such offers, beginning with their negative response to the P5+1 in June 2006.

There has been plenty of engagement with Tehran since its nuclear program was exposed in August 2002. The only thing that engagement yielded so far is more time for Tehran to achieve its nuclear ambitions. Still, after the NIE’s publication, some seem more convinced than ever that engagement is the only way forward. They should think twice.

The NIE says very clearly that Iran was busy building a nuclear weapon in 2003. That was not the time of Mahdi-believing isolationist hardliners like current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was the height of Western engagement with Tehran, when Mohammad Khatami, then president of Iran, was promoting his “dialogue of civilizations”—while building a nuke under cover. If that is what engagement was yielding in 2003, what exactly is the evidence that engagement today would yield more positive results?



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.