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Cuba Rapprochement a Model for Iran?

December 17, 2014 | By: Elliott Abrams

Writing on The Weekly Standard‘s blog, Elliott Abrams has a provocative new post on the implications of Barack Obama’s announced change in US-Cuba relations. Imagining the viewpoint of a Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian, or Israeli, Abrams plays out just what one of these nations would think of Obama’s willingness to normalize relations with the pariah state Cuba. What can it tell us about Obama’s intention toward the similarly situated Iran? Abrams’s conclusion: The Arab-Israeli fear of US-Iranian rapprochement can only be confirmed:

[Y]ou turn on the TV and see the announcement about the change in American policy in Cuba. Re-establishment of diplomatic relations. Lots of changes in the embargo that will mean plenty more cash for the Castros. A change in the whole American official position vis-à-vis Cuba. In exchange, the Castro brothers have pledged to let 53 political prisoners out, free one American spy, and free the American hostage Alan Gross. As to real changes in the regime—changes in its foreign or domestic policies—none. Zero. Zip. So, you conclude that in the long struggle between the United States and the Castro regime since 1959, the Americans have finally blinked.
 
Your conclusion about Iran is inevitable: that the Obama administration cannot be relied upon and is quite likely to abandon America’s Iran policy as well. Your only hope is, of course, the Ayatollah Khamenei, who appears to oppose and to fear a rapprochement with the Americans. Perhaps you are safe as long as he is alive, and now you start hoping that the old man outlives the Obama administration. 

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