Hilzoy and I agree: the U.S. has to decide between giving Iran a hard time and giving Russia a hard time.
We disagree about which one to give a hard time to. Russia is much scarier, and Iran is much more likely to become friendly as a result of its internal political development, a likelihood which goes down if the U.S. makes Iran out enemy. The folks running Russia are going to keep running it, with damned little evidence of any substantial bloc of Russian voters who would like it to be run otherwise. In the short run, Iran can help a lot or hurt a lot in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yes, the Bush Administration would look a little silly suddenly deciding that Adolph Ahmadi-nejad isn’t really a bad guy after all, but the Bush Administration isn’t going to be in power much longer than the Musharraf Administration. I say we offer Iran generous terms and settle down to contain Russia once again.