By Paolo von Schirach
November 26, 2013
WASHINGTON – The more I look at it, the more the Geneva interim nuclear agreement between the West and Iran looks like a major political victory for Tehran. Whatever the letter of the agreement, clearly now that we have “diplomacy” at work the “military option” is not even thinkable anymore. Forget about any previously discussed US plans to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Forget about giving Israel a nod for a similar military action, should the Jewish state feel truly endangered by Iran.
Outfoxed by the Iranians
It seems as if the clever Iranians have outfoxed us. They know (witness Obama’s timidity on Syria) that America has no stomach for new military confrontations. And forget about “Europe”, a non existing entity when it comes to military might and less than zero when it comes to willingness to fight anything at all.
And how has Iran gained? Very simple. Now the Iranians have gained respectability. The US Secretary of State talks to them. They are no longer a pariah state. It could very well be that now they are justified in believing that, if they showed some political restraint, a weak West will simply swallow this one and accept a nuclear armed Iran. After all, after all our loud protests, in the end we did accept a nuclear armed India and a nuclear armed Pakistan. Why should Iran be any different, once we start talking to them and resume doing business with them as if they were a “normal” country?
All this is hypothetical, of course. But the early signs are not encouraging. The Iranian delegation that brought home the Geneva accord has been treated as a victorious team upon returning to Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani has publicly repeated that Iran’s right to enrich uranium has now been recognized by the other parties.
Based on their reading of the “Peace in Our Time” political mood in the West, the Iranians may be confident that time is on their side. The more they negotiate, the more the West will soften its positions. In the end, if the moderates in Washington can silence the hardliners and convince everybody that a (now nice and friendly) nuclear Iran is not such a big deal, Iran will be able to pursue and eventually achieve its objective to get nuclear weapons as tools to consolidate its regional hegemony with Washington’s silent acquiescence.