The Corner

What Iran Is Asking Us to Believe

To believe in the current Iranian, post-Syrian peace initiative, we would have to believe that the Iranian theocracy concedes, in a stunning Qaddafi-like turn-around, that its decade-long effort to obtain nuclear weapons was a terrible strategic mistake that earned it only ostracism and crippling sanctions that have no chance of being ended by a resolute West. We would have to assume that they recognize, again suddenly, that the downside simply proved, in their view, to outweigh the upside of joining the nuclear club. Or, they are eager to show us that a weapon was never their aim and can demonstrably show this.

Most, however, simply will not believe that at this particular post-Syrian moment, Iran suddenly is willing either to admit to the world that it lied for years on end, or that its multi-billion-dollar investments will be shown always to have been peacefully-intended — a mere back-up energy source, in anticipation of replacing some of its finite supplies of gas and oil.

As we begin negotiations, we are asked to accept either one or the other of those premises: an innocent, but mischaracterized and defamed Iran, or a suddenly contrite and apologetic Iran.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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