Could Iran Be the New Cuba?
TIME / Tony Karon

Thus the Iran dilemma: Military action doesn't solve the nuclear problem and potentially creates very dangerous new ones; no sanctions strong enough to change Iran's calculations appear plausible; and the domestic political climate in both Washington and Tehran renders any diplomatic breakthrough unlikely. And Iran could sustain its slow accumulation of nuclear infrastructure without breaking out of the IAEA inspection regime and starting to build weapons, prompting a crisis. That could turn Iran into another Cuba in U.S. foreign policy -- subject of a long-term embargo that U.S. domestic politics precludes changing, yet which has actually reinforced the power and longevity of the regime against which it is directed. After all, with Iran's mounting domestic economic crisis and food inflation soaring, sanctions imposed from outside become the perfect scapegoat for a regime unable to meet its people's needs, while the constant threat of attack from abroad also sustains a repressive domestic environment that treats political dissent as national treason. For Iran's supremo, Grand Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, getting the Castro treatment from Washington may even be a desirable goal.

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