Why is Tehran Acting Timid?
Amir TaheriAsharq Al-Awsat
Six, seven, eight, 23, and 57. These are figures that Tehran decision-makers ought to contemplate as the United Nations Security Council moves towards imposing further sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The progression of the figures indicates the progressive isolation of the Khomeinist leadership within first in its own region and then in the broader community of nations whose sympathies it needs more than ever before.
The figure six refers to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a grouping of six Arab states in the Gulf and thus most directly affected by whatever happens to Iran- both rough and smooth. For more than 18 months, the six conducted a quiet but determined diplomatic campaign to persuade the Khomeinist leadership to accept compromises designed to prevent escalation over Iran's controversial nuclear programme. A string of senior officials from the GCC visited Tehran while several GCC capitals also unrolled the red carpet for Iran's new radical leader President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By the end of last year, however, it had become clear that leadership in Tehran was not prepared to make the slightest change in its policies and tactics ..... More.....