The Khatemi Factor: How Much Does It Matter?

By Katz, Mark N. | The National Interest, Spring 1998 | Go to article overview

The Khatemi Factor: How Much Does It Matter?


Katz, Mark N., The National Interest


Since early last year, an increasing number of voices have been calling for the relaxation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran and, indeed, for a general ratcheting down of the U.S. effort to isolate Iran diplomatically. These have not been just any voices: Very senior former U.S. government officials have been involved, including former National Security Advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, and former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Richard Murphy.(1) Similar pronouncements have been made by former Ambassadors David Mack and William Rugh, by Rep. Lee Hamilton (senior Democrat on the House International Relations Committee), and by former National Security Council staffer Richard Haass (now director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution) among many others.(2) Many if not most of these ministrations, it is worth noting, were voiced before the election of Mohammed Khatemi to the Iranian presidency this past summer.

Those arguing for a relaxation of sanctions have done so on several grounds. First, they point out that while American sanctions against Iran have exacted some pain over the nearly two decades in which they have been in effect, they have clearly failed to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees, and appear unlikely to do so in the future. Indeed, they may even retard change by enabling the clerical leadership more easily to demonize the United States in the eyes of the Iranian people. Second, they argue that U.S. sanctions have not stopped Iran from supporting terrorism abroad, attacking the Arab-Israeli peace process, or pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Third, critics point out that since they are unilateral, American sanctions have not prevented the mullahs from selling all the oil they wish to Western Europe and Japan; fourth, that by penalizing foreign firms that invest in the Iranian petroleum sector, the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 has irritated relations with our most important Western allies far more than it has irritated Iran. Fifth, several observers - not least among them Frederick Starr writing in these pages last spring - noted that American success in preventing the newly independent states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan from exporting their oil and gas via Iran (the cheapest route) only heightened the exposure of both their valuable resources and their political autonomy to an unstable and mendacious Russia.(3) Sixth, several observers complained that sanctions had the effect of benefiting U.S. commercial rivals that otherwise would not have had such an easy time - the French Total deal with Iran being a good case in point. Finally, some observers called for improving U.S.-Iranian relations as a means of accruing leverage against Iraq, a country that, at least for the time being, arguably represents a greater threat to U.S. and allied interests than does Iran.(4)

Taken together, these arguments seemed to many analysts in and out of government to make a good deal of sense, if for no other reason than that they satisfied a desire to bring the full range of American geopolitical assets back into play. Throughout the first half of 1997 the case for change began to catch on, and there arose an expectation that the sheer weight of the logic being tossed about would sooner or later induce significant adjustment in U.S. policy toward Iran.(5)

But until quite recently, the critique of U.S. policy toward Iran did not produce such a change, and the reason is very instructive. It is that the actual state of Iranian-American relations and the detailed evaluation of available diplomatic options for maneuver has mattered a great deal less than where Iran is seen to fit within the overall pattern of American relations with revolutionary states. The simple truth is that the particulars of the Iranian case pale before the general disposition of U.S. attitudes toward those we deem ideological troublemakers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Khatemi Factor: How Much Does It Matter?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.