Doubts about transformation in Iran
The storm of protests over the disputed election in Iran may have raised the prospect of a weakened regime, but it has done little to curb Israeli concerns about Iran's nuclear program or its support for militant groups in the region.If Obama was the realist he claims to be he would never have held out much hope for change with Iran despite any dialog. The fact that he was putting a time limit on the talks before the election in Iran suggest he may have realized that.
Israeli officials and academics agree with the Obama administration that the extent of recent demonstrations could prompt significant change in the Islamic republic -- and perhaps pave the way for a calmer Middle East. But they are not convinced that such change is inevitable: If the country's hard-line clerics reinforce their authority, it could quickly end President Obama's hope for dialogue and lead to even more Iranian support for such groups as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas among Palestinians, according to Israeli analysts and government officials.
"I think the true nature of the Iranian regime has been unmasked," Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a recent interview with Germany's Bild magazine in which he emphasized that a government willing to shoot its own people could not be trusted.
With the current trajectory of events, it appears that the moment for change in IRan has probably passed and it will redouble its repression of the people. The regime may have lost some luster with its proxies who have suffered their own defeats recently, i.e. Hezballah and Hamas.
But, inside Iran the religious bigots are likely to double down on theri paranoia. This will mean greater domestic repression and even more urgency in developing nuclear weapons. Israel is right to remain wary of this member of the axis of evil.