0550 GMT February 18, 2018
The status quo in Washington is such that Benjamin Netanyahu is currently playing a more significant role in determining the policies of the US towards the Middle East and, in particular, Iran, than Donald Trump.
Once an informed expert said that in the very early days of Trump’s tenure as US president, Netanyahu made him fully understand that to achieve success in the face of Iran, he, Trump, should strongly, resolutely, and explicitly utter threats against the country and the JCPOA and keep repeating them so that others do not express an iota of doubt about his will and, secondly, embellish such policy concurrently with the imposition of sanctions against the Middle Eastern state.
Within the framework of this theory lies Israeli officials threatening to attack Iran and Trump’s explicit and resolute stances towards withdrawing from the JCPOA and imposing new sanctions against Iran.
So far, this scenario has compelled Europeans to acquiesce to the immediate forming of a joint committee with the US to review the JCPOA and has slowed the trend of global economy’s cooperation with Iran.
As per the outputs and decisions of the joint committee in the coming months, one of various scenarios is more likely to unfold:
1. Europe would acquiesce to cooperate with the US in putting pressure on Iran and imposing new sanctions against the country over its missile defense program and a number of regional issues as well as the baseless accusations that Tehran is supporting terrorism and refraining from upholding the international humanitarian law.
2. The US would reciprocally accept to suspend nuclear sanctions, assess the impacts of the joint pressures after a while and, then, make the next decisions in the joint committee.
The strategy pursued by the united front consisting of the US, Israel and the Takfiri Arabs is to achieve the following goals after such a scenario unfolds:
1. Getting rid of the necessity to attack Iran as the US is not currently prepared for such a scenario.
2. Limiting Iran’s macroeconomic cooperation with other countries, minimizing the country’s gains from the JCPOA and, consequently, reducing its economic power to the level that it would be forced to tackle its domestic challenges and use its entire capacity to resolve internal economic, political and security issues, instead of carrying out maneuvers in the region, by imposing new sanctions on the Middle Eastern state and continuing to distort its international image in the absence of the necessity for the US to withdraw from the JCPOA.
3. Bringing Iran’s nuclear case to the UN Security Council after detecting any minor violation of the terms and conditions stipulated in the JCPOA by Tehran.
They hypothesize that other world powers, such as Russia and China, may prevent the US from pulling out of the nuclear deal and that in case Iran violates the JCPOA, Moscow and Beijing will surrender to Washington’s will in this regard.
Willy-nilly, Iran is a determining element in regional equations. Although many maintain that the continuation of the present condition in the region would be in Tehran’s interest, the author of this analysis believes that the persistence of the status-quo would lead to a lose-lose situation for Muslim powers in the region including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Egypt and Iraq, with Israel emerging as the sole winner. The move by Western, Hebrew and Arab analysts who keep insisting upon exaggerating Iran’s influence in the region is aimed at legitimizing and justifying the intensification of international pressures on the country. Therefore, Iran is required to do its best to change this trend.
The winners of the continued hostility between the West and Iran are Saudi Arabia, in the short-term, and Israel, in the long-term. In addition, Israel would ultimately be the sole winner of the present animosity between Tehran and Riyadh. Reduced hostility between Tehran and Riyadh would be in line with Iran’s national interests.
At present, Iran’s primary challenges are resolving a number of economic problems including unemployment and high prices. Iran’s domestic economy must undergo fundamental changes and reforms.
Resolving Iran’s political, security and economic problems needs brave and realistic decisions as well as innovative moves. Iranian elites and politicians should, along with the country’s clerics, develop a new paradigm for Iran’s regional and international relations and interactions. Present problems can only be fixed through a national consensus that lead to the formulation of a strategy that does not endanger Iran’s independence and glory.
*Hossein Mousavian is a scholar on Middle East issues at Princeton University.