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Consider the headlines from the past 72-hours or so:

1. The IAEA released a rather scathing report condemning the regime's intransigence and secrecy on its nuclear program;

2. Rumors circulated that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman currently awaiting sentencing for the spurious and arcane charges of adultery, has already suffered 99 lashes for a separate (and equally absurd) charge involving un-Islamic exposure in a photograph; a photography which, incidentally, turned out not to be of her;

3. The Sunday Times reported that "at least five Iranian companies in Afghanistan's capital are using their offices covertly to finance Taliban militants in provinces near Kabul," and that the regime is divvying out "$1,000 for killing an American soldier and $6,000 for destroying a U.S. military vehicle.";

4. The Bahraini government continued to "hint" at Iranian involvement in a plot to overthrow the Sunni-dominated government there (such accusations are nothing new from Bahrain and may prove meaningless, but the PR damage is done.);

5. In an interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Fidel Castro - yes, that Fidel Castro - condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his antisemitic rhetoric.

Much of this, so the theory goes, is part of a concerted effort by the Iranian regime to portray itself as a defiant and independent actor in the face of Western (i.e., American) imperialism and encroachment in the Middle East. The problem with strategic miscalculations such as these is that they leave Iran increasingly isolated, subject to scrutiny and vulnerable to legitimate (and some not so legitimate) accusations about the regime's future intentions.

Put another way: if you support a preemptive bombing campaign against Iran, then the regime is making your work easy this week.

(AP Photo)