Iran more interested in influence than security guarantees from U.S.
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As the United States reconsiders its Iran policy, it should dispense with the notion of offering Tehran security guarantees. It is conventional, even routine, in Washington policy circles to suggest that the Iran conundrum can be resolved only if the Bush administration pledges not to attack Iran. This argument reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Islamic Republic perceives its power and its place in the Middle East today. The guardians of the theocratic regime do not fear the United States; they do not relate to the international community from a position of strategic vulnerability. Tehran now seeks not assurances against U.S. military strikes but an acknowledgment of its status and influence.
A nuclear weapon also gives Iran a deterrent capacity against potential regional foes such as a resurgent Iraq or even Pakistan, where anti-Shi'a Muslim domestic violence is strong. But more important than this deterrent is the ability to use a nuclear weapon to bolster Iran's overall influence in the region.