Several recent articles have called on President Donald Trump to change the Iran policy of the United States based on ‘past lessons’ and Persian history. If we follow these writers to a logical conclusion, then they appear to accept that Iran must be appeased and accommodated, not confronted or contained, in its drive for regional hegemony, support for terrorism and pursuit of non-conventional weapons…
An insight by the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel comes to mind here: ‘We learn from history that we do not learn from history.’
Khatami was famous for his ‘charm offensive’, marketing himself as trying to connect with the West. In hindsight we know it was largely a diversion, camouflage to ease the sanctions on his country while its undeclared nuclear program steamed ahead.
Current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is also considered by some as a ‘moderate’ trying to positively engage with the West. Yet Rouhani openly boasted on Iranian television in 2013 that when he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, his negotiation of a deal with the Europeans in October 2003 to suspend uranium enrichment was actually designed to facilitate Teheran’s nuclear efforts and allow Iran both to build vastly more centrifuges and to start work on the Arak heavy water reactor.
His current approach appears similar. Since the nuclear deal was signed, Iran has launched 23 ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Such missiles are a key part of any nuclear weapons system and have little other use.
Furthermore, in his time as president, there has been no sign of any softening of Iran’s aggressive behaviour in the region or of its support for terrorism.