What Are The Iranians Thinking?
Since the Iranian nuclear standoff began in earnest, the diplomatic and media exchanges between the United States and the Islamic Republic have been tinged with the unsettling suspicion that war is all but inevitable. Iran's repeated denials of a nuclear weapons program seem to fly in the face of its public announcements of uranium enrichment and its acquisition of huge arrays of gas centrifuges. While Tehran's insistence that it seeks only peaceful and civilian use of nuclear power is certainly plausible, the Iranian government has offered little more than protests to offset its belligerent stance towards the equally bellicose United States.
Tehran is facing off against the most powerful military in the world, perhaps the most powerful in human history. Out-spent, out-gunned, and out-classed, Iran's aggressive stance and hostile overtures against the United States seem the posturings of a madman. Yet basic Realist International Theory holds that Iran's actions are based upon rational decision making and seek the best route to an optimal outcome for the Islamic Republic.
So what are the Iranians thinking?