[...] The Bush administration's policy of dealing with Iran by using sticks, tough talk and threats has already proven ineffectual on all fronts. The only measurable impact of backing Iran into a corner - without offering a way out - is that the regime has been given a perfect excuse to impose domestic restrictions in the name of national security.This editorial has it almost completely backwards. The Iranian people are themselves terrorized by the Revolutionary Guards. The question is whether those who are fighting the tyranny of the regime are going to feel that they have support from outside of the country or whether the advocates for negotioations at all costs are going to prevail and leave them abandoned to fight alone. When the Mullahs gloated over the recent talks with the US, one of the messages undoubtedly was that opposition might as well give up: not even the US is standing up to the Mullahs. There is something to be said for refraining from direct military action at this time, but carrots are an equally bad idea--please don't feed the Mullahs.
Labelling the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group will give the Iranian people even greater reason to rally together in the face of perceived American hostility and will strengthen the hand of those who are already restricting Iranian civil society. Such a move would serve to bolster the view that regardless of what the Iranian government does, the Americans will continue to pursue the objective of regime change in the Islamic Republic. The voices of those Iranians who have been calling for greater cooperation with the West over Iraq and the nuclear file will likely be drowned out by those who say that such a policy is futile.
As a result, a terrorist classification would undoubtedly undermine whatever progress has been made toward a cooperative approach to stabilizing Iraq. And in that regard, the American move will represent yet another tragedy for this crisis-plagued region.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad