Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Iran's Soft Power

When it comes to Iran, maybe you've noticed that lately it's been less crazed Ahmadinejad and more friendly guy next door, and that the country's influence is spreading. In an article published Sunday in the NYTimes, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq announced plans to take a greater role in the reconstruction of Iraq, including the opening of a branch of the Iraninan national bank in Baghdad. Iraq is open to the assistance. From the Times:
“We are welcoming all the initiatives to participate in the process of reconstruction,” said Qasim Daoud, a former national security adviser who is now a secular Shiite member of Parliament. “My belief is that our strategic alliance is with the Americans, but at the same time we are looking for the participation of any country that would like to participate,” Mr. Daoud said. (link)
Meanwhile, Iran has been working with Saudi Arabia (another U.S. ally) to mediate a peace in Lebanon, another country in the midst of internal turmoil. Quoting the Times' Michael Slackman: "The Saudi-Iranian efforts have put Washington in an awkward position, since it is trying to reduce Iran’s regional influence. But since a stable Lebanon is also an American priority, American officials have watched the efforts without interfering." (link)

As Iran tones down the hostilities and opens up the hand of frieindship (and assistance-political, economic, or otherwise), they may be turning into the popular kid in a neighborhood with a perceived bully problem.


Anonymous Jeremy said...

It's all fun and games until someone builds a nuke.

12:49 PM  

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