Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in New York City, September 26, 2015.
Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The latest idea de jour on how the next U.S. administration should deal with Iran, trumpeted especially by the Hillary Clinton camp, is the need to be tougher and more aggressive in confronting Tehran. Only a stiff spine in standing up to the mullahcracy, as the argument goes, will block its expansionist desires and prevent a rising Iran from dominating the region.

This muscle-flexing approach, if done in a knee-jerk manner, is unwise and unnecessary, exaggerating both Iranian power and inflating the United States’ capacity to stop it. Instead, Washington should focus on containing Iran where it threatens vital

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