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Obama and Iran: From 2010 to 2012

By Dr. Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh, Executive Editor of Iran Review

Returns of the recent US by-election have indicated relative turn in the American people's orientation toward the Republicans and their indignation at Obama's less-than-satisfactory performance. Although this is somehow normal in history of the United States, but the degree to which people have turned their backs to Democrats has been well-nigh unprecedented and is severe enough to ring the alarms for the Obama Administration. Apart from the effect of grave economic problems and the new propaganda drive launched by the Tea Party on election results, lack of tangible achievements in foreign and domestic policies (which could be observed by ordinary Americans in their everyday lives) was a major factor reducing Obama's popularity among the American voters.

All told, the following propositions can be taken into account as the main possibilities for the next two years:

1. The most possible thing to happen to the American domestic and foreign policies in the next two years of Obama's term in office is more difficulty that his party will experience for passing laws and policies. In the American foreign policy this will be manifested in the form of more lenience toward Israel, tougher policies on Iran, less resilience toward China, a more militaristic and instrumental approach to NATO and, in general, a more headstrong foreign policy approach.

2. If Obama is planning to run for another term, he will have two options to choose from. Firstly, he may insist on his plans by ignoring Republicans and try to gain more popularity. Secondly, he may have to work more closely with the Republicans, give up some of his own plans and try to mend his image as a popular president for all Americans.

Some political experts, however, maintain that there is also a third option, which is more concentration on the foreign policy to prove the superior power of the United States in a bid to gain more credit both internationally and in the American society. In this way, it would be possible for the American public opinion to temporarily forget about domestic problems by focusing on great new grounds broken in the US foreign policy. The American people could be also assuaged by the restoration of the United States' image as the world's sole superpower.

3. Proponents of this perspective maintain that under the current circumstances of confusion in international environment, this policy has more chance of winning support as international milieu has provided good grounds for Obama to follow it. If this viewpoint is taken as granted, Obama is sure to give priority to Iran's nuclear program because other issues of international concern such as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, Middle East peace, terrorism, financial problems with China, North Korea, Russia, dwindling power of NATO, and human rights are more complicated and some of them need a more lengthy process to be solved. Therefore, Obama will certainly try to get more tangible results on Iran's nuclear program.

4. Naturally, this state of affairs will be both an opportunity and a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. More pressure on one side of the equation can cause either side to opt for radical solutions and under such presumptive circumstances Obama may take more radical action against Iran in order to prove his merits to his Republican rivals. He may also do that in order to make Republicans give in to an agreement which would satisfy both sides of the equation and encourage them to accept a non-zero sum game. The important point, however, is which side of the equation will be able to take the initiative and through what kind of strategy and diplomacy. More importantly, which side of the equation will be able through optimal use of media tools to feed its own story of the truth to the other side and to the world public opinion?

About Iran Review: Iran Review ( is the leading independent, non-governmental and non-partisan website - organization representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran's political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.

... Payvand News - 11/17/10 ... --

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