If the assassination allegations are true, this deplorable act should be strongly condemned. To that end, the Beltway is already buzzing with calls for a "robust response" that will "send a strong message to Iran." But how?
To engage successfully with Iran on Afghanistan, it is crucial that US policymakers understand the parallel tracks of Tehran's foreign policy. They must recognize that it is possible to work with Tehran where their interests cohere.
Even if the MEK were to be believed in its latest PR push, the reality is that they are currently on the terrorist list and, as a result, they must be subject to U.S. terrorism laws. Simply put, the laws must be enforced -- without exception.
It is difficult for the United States to make headway on its strategic goals against a tide of Arab ill will. The Palestinians' plight is an emotive issue across the Arab world, and the conflict is key for Iran's bid to win hearts and minds on the Arab street.
Beneath the pomp and splendor of Obama's journey through Asia has lurked a far tawdrier vision -- of a much weakened president presiding over a much weakened superpower, both looking somewhat desperately for succor abroad.
In today's America, that's a conversation-stopper. The reality is more prosaic -- sobering realities shape Iranian politics. Nonetheless, Iran may have more democratic potential than any other society in the Muslim world.
There is no doubt that the U.S.'s and allies' moves in the region are meant to signal to the Iranians that they mean business. Either the Iranians abandon their nuclear armament plans, or the West will destroy their facilities.
One hoped that the neoconservatives would have disappeared after Bush left office and the Iraq War proved to be a disaster. But they are still around and pushing for a war with Iran, which they want even more than the last one.
If the Obama administration waits until it takes punitive action against Iran to censure human rights abuses there, it will look like we view human rights as a pressure tactic, rather than as the foundation of free society.
The Iran talks don't need hot heads, moralistic rhetoric and ominous reminders that we're "running out of time." What is needed is leaders with the pragmatism and vision to know a workable deal when they see it