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Iran… Venturing Towards the Unknown

Iran… Venturing Towards the Unknown

Wednesday, 7 September, 2022 - 11:15
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

When former US President Barack Obama began making moves toward a rapprochement with Iran and pushing for a nuclear deal. It was unclear what steps would be taken and what kind of agreement would be concluded, but everyone was aware that something bad had been unfolding.

Today, the states concerned know that the articles of the agreement are weak. However, they do not know what negative consequences await them in the event that the agreement falls through with no clear plan B in place.

Things could very well change, and we could see an agreement signed as the Biden administration and some of their European allies go forward with this abysmal agreement.

This analysis is based on the information we have. The US administration, according to recent leaks, for example, could postpone the agreement till after the Midterms. That would leave the agreement hanging by a thread, as the polls point to the Democrats losing.

The Israelis, for their part, are happy that Washington is listening to them, and some Israeli newspapers, including Yedioth Ahronoth, have been seriously discussing the prospect of Israel launching a military strike to put an end to Iran’s nuclear program. Moreover, Lapid says that he and the US President have agreed that Israel is free to retaliate however it wants.

Another important matter is that some of the articles of the nuclear agreement signed in 2015, which we see an attempt to revive today, are close to expiring. This demands new initiatives and rounds of negotiation.

On top of that, we also have Iran’s position, as our exclusive information suggests that the US administration and the Europeans have concluded that the Iranian Supreme Leader has not made up his mind regarding the decision as of yet and that its conclusion hinges on his decision.

The agreement, which some international powers have suggested could be concluded at any moment, is hindered by the question of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role. The Iranians insist that “unless the politicized IAEA stops investigating, there will be no agreement.” The US responded that “if the Agency has become politicized, it has no role to play.”

And so, it has become evident that the likelihood of an agreement - now - is receding. If it is concluded, it would be weak and opposed by the countries of the region. Furthermore, it would liberate Iran financially, allowing it to provide its loyalists in the region with armaments and other needs, and it would not mean the end of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

If the agreement falters, the region as a whole will be venturing towards the unknown. Iran certainly would not end its nuclear program, which now seems to have become tied to the legitimacy of the Supreme Leader. Also, Tehran sees the positions of China, Russia, and the West as being in its favor.

All of this means that the floodgates of hell could be opened in the region. The argument, which some have been making, that Iran possessing nuclear weapons could improve its behavior - that we could see in Iran what we had seen in India for example - is untenable.

The comparison is flawed. A more accurate comparison could be made with Russia. Russia’s nuclear weapons did not leave it reassured by the Ukraine crisis or others. Indeed, expansionism is at the heart of the Iranian project.

A person in the know told me that “Iran faces no external threat. The genuine threats are domestic and stem from the behavior of the regime itself.”

The conclusion is that if the nuclear agreement is postponed until after the Midterm elections in the United States, the future of the region will become obscure, and regional conflicts will heat up.

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