The US Administration is pushing Iran to become a second Nazi Germany. The incubator effect is the main reason behind the Nazis’ rise to power. The Entente powers humiliated Germany and closed it off, but didn’t destroy its economy entirely. The offended, enterprising, cultured, ideologically motivated Germans developed the worst political strain: economically efficient, politically aggressive, and ideologically charged. A similar situation is observed in today’s Iran. Its people are relatively educated, civilized, business-minded, technically savvy, and ideologized. They even subscribe to the very ideology of the Nazis: Aryanism. Persian Iranians believe in their racial supremacy just like the Nazis did. The West closed Iran politically and humiliated it with sanctions but allows huge money inflows from oil sales, and has thus created the incubator for viable political radicalism. US administrations have ignored Iranian attempts at rapprochement: from offering major oil concessions to American companies to the 2003 offer of peace talks with Israel and abandoning Iranian support of Hamas to the very sympathetic 2007 Iranian TV series on the Holocaust.
There are major differences between Iranians and Germans. Iranians are tolerant, especially toward Jews, whose community in Iran is the only significant Jewish community in the Muslim world (there are a small number of Jews in Morocco and negligible numbers elsewhere). Except for isolated incidents, Iranian Jews have never suffered persecution. There is no institutional anti-Semitism of the German type in Iran. Still, the Iranians proved themselves fairly militant and suicidally minded in the recent war in Iraq; for example, Iran marched its teenage soldiers through minefields to clean them up on the cheap. Unlike pre-WWII Germany, Iran is past the ideological peak which brought the ayatollahs to power, and actually disenchanted with them. The bulging young population, however, supports nationalist radicalism of Ahmadinejad’s mildly religious type. Besieged by the US, Sunni separatists, Kurds, and Saudi Arabia, Iranians fall back into xenophobia and fearful militancy.
The majority of Iranians are skeptical of Ahmadinejad’s nuclear weapons project, but its completion will boost his popularity. An Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facility would also rally the nation around Ahmadinejad. The toothless sanctions, easily circumvented by local businessmen, make them okay with Ahmadinejad’s policies; the initial irritation from minor business disruptions has given way to contentment.
It is too late to discuss the Iranian nuclear program; bombing the installations is the only proper solution. Iran, however, need not be demonized: the Iranian nuclear threat is non-existent, and certainly negligible when compared to the Pakistani threat. Talking to Iran is a must. And talking a lot.