Silly Iran Arguments
One of my more frequent gripes regarding Iran is that legitimate policy concerns often become blurred or ignored all together by hyperbole and alarmist exaggeration.
Take, for example, President Obama's comments regarding Iranian energy needs. Nothing about this is controversial. While it's true that Iran sits upon a plentiful supply of oil and natural gas, the country has limited processing and refinery capabilities, partly due to years of isolation and sanctions.
Iran also depends on exporting their energy resources so that they can subsidize their theocratic welfare state. That's why, despite one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world, Iran has been vulnerable in recent years to Russia and Turkmenistan. It's no different than the U.S. importing over 90% of its uranium needs, or even coal (which we clearly have in abundance).
Iran's nuclear power for electricity needs are reasonable and understood. In addition to my points above, Iran has also become an increasingly urban country. This puts heavy, concentrated use on the nation's energy grid. Domestic production would help alleviate this problem, as well as their reliance on neighbors who use gas as leverage over them.
This is why the U.S. should take such energy concerns seriously, and demand that the Iranians take them seriously. This could mean, among other ideas, considering the Kazakh proposal to host a regional fuel bank.
UPDATE: Michael Goldfarb is concerned that President Obama is inviting the Iranians to parties, while at the same time pressuring the Israeli government. Apparently, sharing embassy hot dogs holds greater value than $2.775 billion in aid.