How Bush Affects Iran

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There’s a lot of discussion these days about what the Obama administration will do if the current Iranian regime manages to stay in power by violently suppressing its people.  Will Obama continue to press for diplomatic talks on nuclear weapons?

Spencer Ackerman puts it thus:

Does the administration and its allies then try to link human rights obligations to any nuclear deal, knowing that the regime won’t accept that, and thereby jeopardizing the prospect of keeping Iran free of nuclear weapons? (And that’s presuming that, say, China and Russia will accept that, which they probably won’t.) Or does it hold to its top priority of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and implicitly grant the regime legitimacy? Right now, though, the administration’s construction at least buys it time to judge Iranian intentions — and decide whether a regime willing to so blatantly steal an election is really rational enough to hew to its international obligations.

Why should Iran “hew to its international obligations”?  We didn’t.  The Bush administration flagrantly violated the Geneva Conventions for several years, and continues to defend those violations.  The Obama administration is also violating our international treaty obligations by refusing to investigate those war crimes.

Is that an excuse for what Iran is doing?  Clearly not.  But it does leave us with little, if any, legitimacy to complain about Iran’s international compliance.

This is how high the price is when we act against the rule of law.

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