BLOG 233 January 5, 2015
Now that the New Year has begun, predictions become more tenuous. However, the possibilities of a nuclear settlement with Iran remains paramount and important to examine. This could be the BIG year – maybe.
The fact is that the revolution is over and Iran has settled into a new position. The loud mouth accusations of President Ahmadinejad (who Jay Leon called “I’m-a-nut-job”) have been replaced by the conciliatory tone of new President Rohani seeking reconciliation. Because of sanctions, Iran’s oil exports have been cut in half. Much of the revolutionary support has become disillusionment on the street. The world knows that terrible atrocities and abuses were practiced in the name of the revolution. Because Iranians are not Arabs, Turks or South Asians, they find themselves in a friendless neighborhood. This would be a good time to cut a deal that would put the country in a new light –but that doesn’t mean they will.
Ambassador Aaron David Miller a former Middle East negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington suggests we must recognize how complex issues are inside Iran. He indicates American has given up on the possibility of stopping Iran from making a nuclear weapon. The best the West can do is delay and constrain Iran. On the other hand, Iran has not given up the goal of creating of a nuclear arsenal.
Miller maintains the only possibility of genuine cessation would have to result from overthrowing the current mullah run regime and no one believes such is in the cards. What America is now forced to settle for is an attack free environment for itself. American has already done so and that’s about it, Miller believes.
However, Iran is internally not secure with this situation. Their young people are unhappy with the mullahs and unsettled with the current administration. Even children and grandchildren of the revolutionist Khomeini are among the dissidents. Not a good sign.
So, should America increase sanctions and force Iran to yield at the negotiating table? Mill concludes Iran won’t buckle to increased pressure. The conservatives will reassert pressure and Iran will turn toward Russia and China to deal under the table. Sanctions can only bring them to the negotiating table because the nuclear issue is tied to their national identity and pride.
The best the West will get is an agreement to allow inspections in order to maintain observation on what Iran is doing. If Iran agrees, they receive a host of benefits including the lifting of sanctions, new trade agreements, and a new status in the perspective of the rest of the world. This would seem to be worth the opening of their doors.
But what if they continue to secretly enrich uranium to build a weapon? The wild card is Israel. Regardless of what America agrees to, Israel will not negotiate their security and future. They would attack regardless of American reluctance.
Yeah, now would be a good time to come to a negotiated agreement of some variety.