Frankly I'd rather they took national security very seriously. Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet. The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service. Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s. Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.
Now we're arming Iran.
Meanwhile, as my buddy/boss/colleague Mark Dubowitz explains, the Russians and Iranians are working on ways to bust the oil sanctions on Tehran. They're gonna swap stuff: Russian goodies (probably including military equipment such as submarines, torpedoes and antiaircraft missiles) for Iranian oil. This will not be the first time. Iran has done swaps with India and, most recently and outrageously, with the Turks (Iranian natural gas for Turkish gold, along with a plethora of other deals).
Mark rightly insists that if this deal is consummated, we should come down on the Russians with all four claws, but how likely is that? As I write, Soviet - no, make that Russian - special forces are hard at work in Ukraine, stirring up ethnic conflict, the better to justify forceful action against Ukrainian territory. We're clucking our tongues and sending some fighter planes to Romania, but Putin won't worry much about that sort of gesture; he doesn't believe Obama has the courage or the will to confront Russia.
Commentators are looking for ways to describe the current situation, and John Schindler, a smart man with a real talent for telling it straight, is calling it Cold War II. I love his words here: "While it's certainly true that the U.S. and NATO don't seek confrontation with Russia, it's worthwhile remembering Trotsky's line that you might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."