By Jubin Afshar
Near East Policy Research - The president of the Iranian regime called it "good news.â€ The world, however, looked on with deep concern and condemned the latest provocation by Iranâ€™s theocracy in enriching uranium after 18 years of pursuing a covert nuclear program that many suspect is aimed at producing nuclear weapons capability.
The Iranian regime seeks the nuclear capability to bolster its drive to dominate the Muslim world and threaten regional and world security from a position of power atop a new â€œCaliphate,â€ (Islamic empire). This has been the dream of Khomeiniâ€™s Islamic fundamentalists since their usurping of the Iranian revolution of 1979. Regime ideologues have long pointed to Iranâ€™s rightful place as the leader of the Muslim world in imposing their narrow and regressive socio-political and economic model, diametrically opposed to democratic and human rights values.
The West has misread the mullahs dangerously and for too long. Western analysts and intellectuals have unsuccessfully strained to identify an eventual sobering of Iranâ€™s fanatically fundamentalist vanguard and to discern signs of an emerging pragmatism that they hoped trade and engagement would have brought about, as the logic would have it. But the more the West engaged in critical and constructive dialogue, the more the mullahs learned that they could game the system and win their way while pulling the wool over the eyes of Western leaders too wary of conflict and firmness. Leveraging Iranâ€™s oil and gas wealth, its enormous market potential, their political clout in the region, and their unspoken but distinct terrorist capabilities, the mullahs of Iran blackmailed and took Western policy in the region hostage. A feeble and self-centric Western response that was a product of a commercialized foreign policy failed to check their thirst for expansion and the realization of their â€œIslamic Caliphateâ€ dream.