Iran's Clerics Remain the Problem

August 15, 2013 3:26 PM

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Iran's Clerics Remain the Problem

The Islamic Republic has a new president: He smiles and pledges soothing moderation. The jaded envoys who have been struggling with the Iran issue for the past decade — a period that included Hassan Rouhani’s stewardship of the nuclear file — are suddenly optimistic.

It is important to remember, however, that the American diplomats dealing with Iran suffer from a fundamental confusion about the nature of the Islamist state. The United States is accustomed to dealing with opportunistic Arab rulers but not with clerics who take their ideologies seriously. At times...

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