For much of 2006, Iran commanded the attention of US, European, and regional pundits and politicians. Despite the raging civil chaos in Iraq three years after the USled ousting of Saddam Hussein, Iran seemed to figure more prominently in the world spotlight for its perceived nuclear ambitions and support for Middle East groups Hezbollah and Hamas. In 2002, the Bush Administration had demarcated the nexus of “terror” and WMD as the number one threat to a post-9/11 America, and placed Iran with Iraq and North Korea on an “axis of evil” confronting the world.1 The 2005 election of controversial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the 2006 rise of Hamas to power in the Palestinian legislature, the Hezbollah kidnappings of Israeli soldiers that sparked a brief war the same summer, and the IAEA’s finding that Iran was in violation of its NPT obligations, created new salience on the issue of Iran’s role in the Middle East.