There's really nothing more counterproductive than leaks on Iran. It's not so much that I'm against strengthening the opposition there, but that saying we're going to do it ensures it'll never work. This is a society where the politics regularly refocus on a coup we carried out half-a-century ago. This is a government that routinely calls us "the Great Satan". This is a place where dissidents are tortured -- where bloggers are imprisoned! -- and the reform movement has collapsed through the cowardice of the entirely ineffective Khatami. And, finally, this is a nation that is dangerously close to developing nuclear weapons.

Now, I tend to think that, considering the paltry funds ($3 million dollars? Are they going to get the opposition a midsize home in Los Angeles?) discussed in the article, the whole thing is a sop to neocons antsy over our newfound cooperation with the European negotiations. But the success of those talks is contingent on the Iranian regime's belief in their own security. That's why our involvement is important -- we can offer assurances of non-violence predicated on their nuclear transparency. So long as we're placating our interest groups by leaking ruminations over anti-regime covert-ops to major American newspapers, I think they're going to know about it. And I think they're going to be unhappy. And I think they're going to judge our negotiations as somewhat less than good faith. And I think they're going to continue to seek a nuke. And I think they're going to use this new information to tar even the most innocuous of dissenting groups to America and thus throw them in prison. And I think that we're making stupid, stupid moves that are counter-productive to our interests in the region. Our involvement is the greatest gift to the regime and the worst of luck for its opposition. So long as we keep mucking around, they can continue to blame their economic and political woes on American (and Zionist) spies, and keep credibly destroying reform groups by linking them to us.

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