Cheering in Tehran

As we await the Netanyahu speech to Congress, it’s worth noting that aside from violating old traditions of U.S.-Israel relations and politicizing sensitive diplomacy in the most abrasive way possible, Bibi is giving new hope to hard-liners in Iran, as the New York Times‘ Thomas Erdbrink reports:

The tensions between the United States and Israel over how to address Iran’s nuclear program are playing to an eager audience in Tehran, where the news media has highlighted the division as evidence that Israel is being isolated by its otherwise steadfast ally and analysts are examining how the rift might affect the outcome of the nuclear negotiations.

“We are witnessing a division between the United States and Israel,” one of Iran’s most outspoken hard-line clerics, Mehdi Taeb, said on Monday, according to the news website Rasa. “This is unprecedented.”

The strains between the United States and Israel, known by some hard-liners here as the “great and little Satan,” have become increasingly public as Washington and Tehran seek to conclude an agreement that would limit Iran’s ability to continue developing its nuclear capacity. Many here have been eagerly awaiting the address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the United States Congress on Tuesday, not because they believe he will be able to halt the nuclear talks, but because they say they hope the Israeli leader’s blunt approach will turn American public opinion against him.

Thanks a lot, Bibi.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.