"As for The New Yorker's report of U.S. Special Forces operating in Iran, it is unlikely that the Islamic Republic has not found any of them after nearly 14 months."
He goes on to deal with those who worry about a war between the US and Iran:
"...the Iran-U.S. war is not going to start in June - because it started on Nov. 4, 1979, when a group of "students" raided the American embassy compound in Tehran and seized its diplomats hostage. By any standards, that was a clear causus belli. It did not lead to a straightforward war because the American side chose not to treat the embassy raid as an act of war."
His main focus, of course, is the cost of the Iranian war on the U.S:
... the policy was not cost free. Washington's refusal to
recognize the Khomeinist regime as a legitimate member of the international
community has cost Tehran dearly. For almost three decades, Iran has been shut
out of the global capital market and prevented from normal access to the fruits
of scientific and technological progress. The Islamic Republic's persistent
economic failure must, at least in part, be imputed to the U.S. boycott.
Today, the Islamic Republic produces something like
3.8 million barrels (of oil) a day - a level Iran had surpassed in 1973.
Iran has become an importer of petroleum products. Because the Islamic
Republic failed to build enough refining capacity, it is now forced to secure
nearly half of the nation's needs in gasoline and special fuels through imports.
So nearly 30 percent of Iran's income from oil exports is spent on imports of
Iran owns the second-largest deposits of natural gas
in the world, after Russia, almost 20 percent of the global reserves. Yet it is
importing natural gas from Turkmenistan to feed the country's only gas-turbine
power station (at Neka on the Caspian Sea).
He wraps it up with this analysis:
The Islamic Republic has succeeded in securing a foothold in Lebanon,
through the Hezballah, and in the Palestinian territories through Hamas and
Islamic Jihad. It also has allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and among the Shiite
communities in the Gulf. Politically and diplomatically, however, the Islamic
Republic today is more isolated than in 1979.
The United States, on the other hand, has made a spectacular incursion in
what could be regarded as Iran's geopolitical habitat in West and Central Asia,
the Caspian Basin, Transcaucasia and the Middle East. The Americans are now
militarily present in all but two of Iran's 15 neighboring
In a sense, the war that the Islamic Republic says it is waging against the
United States has hurt it more than its designated enemy. The recent rise in
tension has helped put that issue at the center of the debate inside the Islamic
Republic. This is why people like Rafsanjani and Khatami, who once took pride in
describing themselves as "jihadists" against the Americans, are now publicly
critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's more militant anti-Americanism.
In other words, the real problem is an Iranian one, not an Irano-American
one. At some point, the Islamic Republic must decide whether it is in its own
interest to review a policy that has produced nothing but disaster over the last
three decades. Ahmadinejad may well turn out to be the man who pushed such a
review into the agenda of the leadership in Tehran.
Mr. Taheri also has several other recent articles, published elsewhere:
THE SYSTEM CREATED BY KHOMEINI FACING NEW CHALLENGES
May 14, 2006
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
May 13, 2006
WHY THE WORLD SHOULD TAKE AHMADINEJAD SERIOUSLY
May 12, 2006
Crossposted at LOVE AMERICA FIRST