5 reasons US must avoid war with Iran

Do the drumbeaters calling for ‘war with Iran’ never learn from history? It is tempting to dismiss their hot air as an attempt to score political points, but its sheer volume is worrying. Two former US hostages in Iran, L. Bruce Laingen and John Limbert, say Obama must ignore the war talk, and offer five key points for Washington to keep in mind.

3. The Islamic Republic wants the US to over-react to its posturing

Provoking the US to do and say something stupid is the national sport for The Islamic Republic. Iranian bellicose statements about closing the Strait of Hormuz and the recent officially sanctioned attack on the British Embassy are signs of weakness, not strength. America and its allies should not swallow the bait. The best response to Iranian bravado and claims of this or that achievement is a collective yawn.

The Iranians may or may not be working toward a nuclear weapon. Washington should make a cold calculation, however, about just what such a weapon will do for them. It certainly does not solve their economic problems, nor does it silence opposition protesters in Tehran or ethnic separatists in Baluchestan, Kordestan, or elsewhere. Nor does a nuclear weapon help the Islamic Republic counter what it claims is the main threat to its survival: a covert war of “soft overthrow” waged by its traditional enemies in the West.

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