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Misreading Iran (again)

The west usually gets Iran wrong. Talk of air strikes and sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme suggests we are continuing to do so

By Michael Axworthy   March 2006

The Iranians are resuming uranium enrichment, the IAEA has agreed to refer Iran to the UN security council and talks aimed at resolving the problem keep breaking down. Another Iran crisis. The west usually gets Iran crises wrong. We got it wrong in 1953 when we—the US and Britain—removed a democratically elected prime minister, Muhammad Mosaddeq, rubbing out any chance of genuinely democratic politics in Iran for a generation. And we got it wrong a number of times when, after 1979, fear of revolutionary Iran expanding its influence in the region led us to indirectly help in the creation of…

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