Iran can sometimes be very hard to read, but the announcement that even as talks approach it is installing advanced and more capable centrifuges at its underground nuclear facility in Natanz doesn’t need much interpreting: Iran isn’t afraid of Barack Obama. The Ayatollahs have looked at the clues, added up the numbers, and come to the conclusion that the President will not use military force as Iran presses forward with its nuclear plans.
One of the clues that lead them to this conclusion is the U.S. decision to cut back the number of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region. If Washington were serious, the Iranians believe, we would be building up our naval presence, not drawing it back. bPresident Obama’s choice of one of the most prominent “Iran doves” in American public life as his new Defense Secretary is also being read in Tehran as a sign of the President’s thinking. (The American Interest, Posted 14 Feb 13)