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Nukes aside, the real problem with Iran

The country is emerging as a regional power. Is the West ready for that?

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It was pure drama: The leaders of the United States, Britain, and France stepped onto the stage at the Pittsburgh Group of 20 meeting last week to unveil Western intelligence that showed that Iran had a second nuclear fuel enrichment facility under construction, which Iran haddeclared to the International Atomic Energy Agency the preceding Monday.

The Western leaders gathered inPittsburgh implied that their revelation was just as devastating for Iran as a credible player.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates subsequently pronounced Iran to be "boxed in" and "in a very bad spot now." But anyone who listened to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's interview with Time magazine's correspondent on the day of the presentation, and to subsequent Iranian statements, can gather that Iran, at least, does not see itself asboxed in.

Far from it. Mr. Ahmadinejad exuded confidence and nonaggressively counseled President Obama not to go down this route.

It might seem counterintuitive to most Americans and Europeans, but Ahmadinejad's advice might be worth pondering.

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