Iran poses two fundamental challenges to the United States. First is its alleged program to develop a nuclear weapon, which is currently being negotiated and which might be managed and contained through concerted international action. Second, and more threatening in the long term, are its roles as a regional hegemon and as a participant in the political development of neighboring Iraq. Iran's policies in Iraq sometimes appear to be directly in conflict with US initiatives. In spite of considerable angry rhetoric, however, any actual evidence for Iranian hostile interaction in Iraq is highly speculative, and the White House has yet to make a case that Tehran's involvement is inappropriate or could serve as a casus belli.

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