Monday, April 20, 2015

Iran: The New Power Center of The Middle East

Dissecting Iran’s message written by its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressing U.S. decision-makers gives many clues about Iran’s vision for the futue, at least in rhetoric.

First off, Zarif describes the crisis over the nuclear deal as “manufactured,” and calls for its end immediately through diplomacy to reach a solution fair for all.

For decades Israel was the U.S.’ unquestionable closest ally in the Middle East. Israel’s systemic and relentless campaigns to dehumanize its Arab enemies did not come to a halt except during the short but historic rule of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Since then, the battle within Israel has been as heated as outside as to how to handle the region and the plethora of “enemies” surrounding Israel. In the past few years, Israel’s Right turned its wrath on Iran, demonizing it and scaring the U.S. and any nation that would listen of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

As the Israeli and U.S. Right have shifted both countries towards more extremism and aggression, the U.S. foreign policy supported Israel’s interests for many decades blinded to the fact that its own interests were not being served in the process. Furthermore, its failed intelligence has become an embarrassment, dwindling its authority; its threats and sanctions have been watered down to an all time low. The Arab Spring is but one perfect example of such failures.

In the meantime, Iran has been challenging the international community and its decisions, always doing what works for the Iranian leadership. No moderation and no dialogue unless they serve Iran’s political interests.

This week’s NY Times opinion editorial by Iran’s foreign minister who led his country’s negotiations in Lausanne was strategically placed ahead of a final nuclear agreement. In it, Zarif gives the U.S. and its western allies an ultimatum, “to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion.”

As Saudi Arabia pounds Yemen mercilessly in bloody airstrikes that have killed hundreds and destroyed civilian homes and humanitarian organizations headquarters in addition to Houthi locations, Iran delivers its message in ink asking for a “sober assessment” and “courageous leadership.” All the while, keeping the option of escalation wide open.

It is not clear how Zarif plans to erase the images of U.S. flags and effigies burning to the sounds of, “Death to America.” Nor is it clear how the entire Middle East will be able to erase the results of invasions, wars, death, destruction and displacement under the U.S. “Bomb bomb bomb” slogans.

In his message Zarif has said that, “No nation can achieve its interests without considering the interests of others.”

Before the “anticipated nuclear deal” as he described it is reached, he will have to answer whether his nation and its satellites such as Hezbollah are willing to take into consideration the security of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations just as his message preaches.


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