Iran’s Imperfect Trap for Obama

Iran’s Imperfect Trap for Obama


The publication of an analysis last week by Tehran-based ASR Iran made for interesting reading. Entitled “Iran’s blows against the White House; will Obama have the same fate as Carter?” the writer concluded that:

“What has happened in recent months, and will probably continue, brings up memories of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and its impact on the defeat of the Democrats and Jimmy Carter’s personal failure.  Perhaps finally, as a result of the blows received from the Iran front, Obama will become one of the few single term U.S. presidents – unless in the few remaining months he carries out serious reforms in bilateral relations and comes down from his ivory tower and returns to the negotiating table with Iran as an equal.”

The line about Iran’s recent “blows” against the United States is no doubt referring to the U.S. drone currently in Iranian hands, the capture of a supposed U.S. spy and Iran’s continuing ability to continue with its nuclear program, including claims that Tehran is transferring sensitive nuclear activities to fortified underground sites.

Although ASR Iran isn’t believed to be a mouthpiece of the regime, its observations are often an accurate reflection of the opinions of the Iranian leadership and its supporters, many of whom now believe that Iran has not only not “lost” to Barack Obama, but that the regime might actually be coming out on top.

Tuesday’s threat by Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz “if the West imposes sanctions on Iran's oil shipments” was not only a warning aimed at the West generally, but also bears the hallmarks of an Iranian political trap for Obama as he heads into an election year.

It’s no secret that the U.S. economy is Obama’s Achilles’ heel. Iran knows that by closing the Strait of Hormuz, oil prices could rise significantly, doing further damage to an already faltering U.S. economy. With the U.S. presidential election less than a year away, this could be the kiss of death for Obama’s reelection chances. A sudden rise in oil prices could do to Obama’s reelection bid what Ayatollah Ruhollah  Khomeini’s 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy did to Carter’s reelection ambitions, namely wreck them.

And if at any point after sanctions were imposed Obama tried to limit the damage of  high energy prices by then waiving sanctions (something the new legislation allows him to) then he’d be stepping into another trap, one of looking “weak” on Iran. Any Republican opponent would revel in the opportunity to present Obama as both the man who wrecked the economy, and then the leader who “chickened out” against Iran’s rulers.

Obama therefore has no choice now but to push ahead – the U.S. Congress has ripped out its reverse gear. But in doing so, he may be damned if he moves forward, and damned if he doesn’t.

So, are Iran’s leaders right to congratulate themselves for upping the ante by issuing the challenge over Hormuz? Certainly, if Obama doesn’t want to see his already uncertain electoral chances sink in the Persian Gulf then he will need to tread carefully.

Jay Blake
January 10, 2012 at 22:23

Please, you really do not know what a submarine can do to a neval fleet. The iranians would be wise not to go into a sea war with superpower..

January 9, 2012 at 22:10

Hey Chris, Love your joke about making peace with Iran, how about throwing in North Korea and Venezuela for good measure?

January 9, 2012 at 21:47

Please… Obama doesn’t have a spine to speak of when it comes to Iran… he’s terrified of them, and that’s pretty clear. He’ll instead say, “Please Mr. Akmadinnerjacket, please don’t build that bomb, please don’t kill that CIA agent, please don’t close the straight… I’ll be your best friend!” You can’t talk to these people… we’ve tried that. All they do is thumb their nose at us. It’s time for crushing and excessive clamps to be thrown on them. And if hurting their wallet doesn’t make them see reason, then they need to be checked in. Plain and simple.
If you reference history, you’ll see that brains have been used by the US to disarm conflict whenever possible in the past, but the other party (usually the Russians) had to have the brains and desire to work together. The Iranians don’t work this way… They are a radical theocracy. They don’t reason. They don’t negotiate. They believe that their mission is divine, which is to cleanse the Earth of everyone who doesn’t believe the way that they do. They support terror on every continent that opposes their views. Pandering to these nutcases WILL cost lives. It’s coming. Open your eyes.
Before you accuse the US of lacking intelligence, do your homework. Your sunshine flowery, bird-chirping world of liberal hippy peace just isn’t a reality, and won’t be as long as people like Akmadinnerjacket are alive. And if he gets his way, the world will become very warm… then very cold. Might even glow a little. It takes conviction and courage to pull a trigger (I know, I’m a US military member). But when it comes to the well-being of all mankind, you do it without hesitation. I leave you with a final thought…. whenever anyone is hurting in the world, anyplace there is famine, disaster, disease, or war.. who does the world come crawling to for help? Who is always there? Who is always willng to lend a hand? The United States. Nobody ever gets up and says “Hey! Thanks to the US for the billions in aid, for the food, the clean water, the clothes, and the assistance in rebuilding. Thanks to the US for sending teams in to find survivors, or sending troops to help us take back our country from evil regimes. Thanks for helping your fellow man.” You only ever hear the world complain about the negatives. That’s gratitude for you.

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