Tasnim News Agency asked me about a possible Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal as we approach crunch time. Article is in Farsi. This is what I said, in English:
“In these final crucial days there’s a lot of Western spin about an extension of negotiations; as in an understanding reached on Monday, followed by renewed talks up to March 2015. That’s NOT a good idea – in fact dangerous. All those powerful forces against a deal will work on overtime to sabotage it.
All the technical controversy about number of centrifuges and how much low-enriched uranium Iran must hold mask the key fact; if the US wants a deal, everything is on the table. Russia, China and Germany want a deal. The White House, for its part, wants a very particular kind of deal that smells of surrender. The American rhetoric essentially remains the same: Iran is an evil threat that must be contained.
Team Obama is under the assumption Tehran needs Washington to deal with Daesh – thus it must make additional nuclear concessions. This is totally absurd – as if the White House had the power to open the gates for Iran to be part of its coalition of the clueless/cowards fighting Daesh. In fact, Iraqi Shi’ite militias can easily defeat Daesh – by themselves, with some Iranian help. At the same time, the Obama administration would like Tehran to persuade Assad to do nothing while the “coalition” smashes Daesh (and they won’t). And then what? A renewed American surge attempting regime change in Damascus?
The Obama administration also carries an Alice in Wonderland idea that the “international community” will blame Tehran if there’s no deal. That’s rubbish. It would certainly be the spin in Washington, London, Paris, Riyadh and Jerusalem. And that’s it. The BRICS know very well what’s going on, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Obama seems more helpless than a lame duck in this situation. The Israel lobby still dictates the unrelenting agenda – along with all Republicans and most Democrats; we gotta remain very tough. An extension of the negotiations means the new US Congress will push for no end to sanctions – unless the White House comes up with a deal that means unconditional Iranian surrender.
In parallel, the House of Saud – backed by the GCC – is allied with Israel and political Washington. They want no deal at all – as it will empower Iran as the key geopolitical actor in Southwest Asia. In their paranoia, the House of Saud sees the rise of Iran as even more dangerous for their survival than Western democracy.
There’s no evidence the White House is strategically equipped to deal with all these complex interlocked factors. If Obama REALLY wants a deal (and that would represent his ONLY foreign policy success) he will have to force all those powerful domestic enemies – plus Israel and Saudi Arabia – to toe the White House line. It’s obvious to any unbiased geopolitical observer that a normalization between Iran and the US and the EU is a win-win game, as the Chinese say. The key problem is that Washington simply refuses to admit it.