Tehran Press on Talks: From “Iran will be US Strategic Ally” to “US Sanctions here to stay”

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Iranian press has reacted in a whole range of ways to the current round of negotiations at Vienna between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5 + 1) over its civilian nuclear enrichment program.

Moderates and liberals are understandably enthusiastic.

Moderate Daily Arman-e Emruz, Tehran, in Persian 23 Jun 2015, published an interview with Dr. Mehdi Mottaharnia, a political scientist (trans. BBC Monitoring):

“Motahharnia: In my view, within the next decade, Iran and America will be two strategic allies. On the basis of foreign policy logic, in view of its domestic and foreign potentials, Iran should play an effective role in the club of world powers. I believe that if Iran plays her cards well in the field and if she can make good use of her assets, in the future she will be able to turn the G-20 club into the G-21 club, and she will be able to play an influential global role in the second layer behind the G-8 club…”

“After the Lausanne agreement [presumably final agreement], the pressures by political extremists in Iran will be reduced, although they will be making more noise and ballyhoo. All this noise and ballyhoo by political extremists is “escaping forward” [a show of defiance]. The extremists are worried that they may be asked why they did not act rationally at the time when they were in charge and why they raised the cost [of their actions] to the nation.

So Mottaharnia (whose Ph.D. is from the University of Hawaii) sees a nuclear deal as a huge geopolitical shift, allowing the US and Iran to form a new strategic partnership and profoundly weakening the hardliners inside Iran. He went on to suggest that this policy of the Obama administration was intended to outflank China’s New Silk Road initiative.

In contrast, over at Javan, Tehran, on 22 June 2015, Ja’far Takbiri predicted pessimistically that even if a deal is reached on Iran’s enrichment program, the US will retain substantial sanctions on Iran on the pretext that it is supporting “terrorists” like Hizbullah (while ignoring that the Shiite militias supporting Iran are the only hope of defeating ISIL/ Daesh). He covers the long history of US antipathy to the Islamic Republic, from Ronald Reagan backing Iraq’s war on Iran in the 1980s to the recent assassination of several nuclear engineers.

Likewise the conservative Khorasan said “A few people inside [Iran] are beating the drum of ‘deal at any price’ because of their political interests. They even consider the psychological effects of a deal to be more important than the principle of lifting of the sanctions, while, even from the perspective of an external observer, a bad deal will be of no help to the country’s economy; rather, under some circumstances, it may have negative effects for the economy.” (27 June, BBC Monitoring)

The Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said on Sunday that the US had already made the key concession, that Iran can enrich for nuclear fuel, and that Washington may as well now be reasonable and stop making more and more demands. (Likely he was referring to US desire to inspect Iranian military bases, which the country’s clerical leader, Ali Khamenei, has said is out of the question. – Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian 0640gmt 28 June 2015

In general, moderates and liberals expect any deal to usher in vast changes in Iran’s economy and diplomacy, repositioning it as a growing Asian economy and a strategic ally of the US. Hard liners, downplay any expectation that loosening US sanctions will necessarily transform the economy, and expect US sanctions and interference in the Iranian experiment to continue even in the unlikely event that a deal is reached.


Related video:

Reuters: “Iran nuclear talks could extend past deadline”

11 Responses

  1. See !

    Proof positive that Obama and the US still serve as a source of influence and attraction, despite the bleatings of the Republican reactionaries !

  2. Have you looked at the Aipac website lately. Several pages focused on undermining P5+1. New commercials on undermining deal. Forgot to look at who the commercials are being paid by. General Hayden on MSNBC Morning Joe last week undermining the deal. Pressure continues to take the deal down. The Aipac pages on this are worth looking at.

  3. Khamenei is right to keep his foot on the brake pedal just in case the Americans flip-flop when they think the time is right. Dr. Mottaharnia should reread Tom Cotton’s letter and listen to Bibi’s speech to Congress so he would have NO doubt that many of the Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia would bomb the stuffing out of Iran in a heartbeat.

  4. Currently proposals for bombing Iran generally assume it would be cost-free, that there is nothing the Iranians could or would do in response that would have consequences for Americans abroad or in the United States. Occasionally there are speculations regarding closure of the Strait of Hormuz or counter-strikes on US forces in the Gulf or Iraq but not much more. Is anyone (outside of some folks deep in the Pentagon or Langley) addressing this? For example what are the possibilities of major Iranian strikes on oil refining and shipping facilities in the Middle East? What are the implications/possibilities of a major CBR attack somewhere, e.g. Houston or Atlanta? In short, to what extent do presentations of US attacks on Iran as a risk-free proposition increase the risk of a major miscalculation?

    • Iran has lots of options if the USA or Israel strike and the costs to the USA and Israel could be very, very high.

      – If global condemnation of the USA/Israel is high enough, Iran may just decide to have the UN sanction the USA and Israel while opening up free trade with the rest of the world. At that point, Americans who are tired of war just may want a fast out and could leave Israel twisting in the wind.

      – Any attack on Iran will be costly because Iran has been preparing for a USA attack for over 30 years and has put in place a very deadly multi-layer defense network that is capable of knocking down all the various aircraft the USA flies, including the B-52 and B-2. The USA military is very afraid of the Chinese/Iranian version of the Russian S-400 and the Iranian version of the Russian BUK (the one knocking aircraft out of the sky over Ukraine). China and Iran have vastly improved the already deadly Russian designs.

      – Iran has invested in cheap, reasonably accurate MRBM missiles that can easily destroy all the oil terminals in the ME. One thing many people never think about is that oil terminals are one-off custom built things that take years to build. If the Saudi and other terminals are destroyed, it would take a MINIMUM of a year before oil started flowing in any major quantities and that assumes the Iranians didn’t just continue to blow things up.

      – As for direct physical attack on the USA, there is no need for Iran to do that because the USA is extremely vulnerable to economic attack. Just screwing up the global oil markets and the global stock markets would be enough to make every American deeply regret any attack on Iran.

      – Note that the USA and Israeli military are well aware just how costly any attack on Iran would be and both have very pointedly told the politicians that the chances of massive loss are very high. I am aware of at least three massive attack simulations that have been done and in EVERY case, the USA loses badly.

      – Then there is the “slight” problem that both Russia and China have said publicly that they will defend Iran from attack. Both Russia and China not only have very significant military capability, but China also has been putting in place all the tools they need to wage economic warfare on the USA.

      The bottom line is any attack on Iran would be extremely stupid, but there are enough delusional stupid people in both the USA and Israel that just may try it and once the war starts, the people in the USA will be looking for a quick retreat to minimize the damage. Israel will not be able to retreat fast enough, so their population will suffer lots of deaths and the infrastructure damage will cripple the Israeli economy such that every Israeli with a skill will leave as fast as they can to find work in other countries.

      I hope stupidity can be reined in as much as possible.

  5. Today Senator Cruz was on MSNBC Joe Scarborough ranting about Iran based on fueled myths. Not one challenge out of BBC’s Katy Kay (in for Mika), Mike Barnacle, Joe Scarborough. No one on MSNBC’s Morning Joe challenged Cruz’s fear filled myths about Iran during Cruz’s rant. In fact after the fact free rant Joe Scarborough reminded me of Meet the Press’s deceased host Tim Russert when he had Cheney on in the run up to the invasion of Iraq and after. When Cheney was asked about Iran he went on in a fearful rant about Iran. Russert did not challenge him AT ALL. Instead Russert asked Cheney “what can we do” (as if everything Cheney said was accurate). This is exactly what Scarborough did after Cruz’s fearful, inflammatory rant about Iran this morning. Scarborough sat back and asked “what can we do?.” As if everything Cruz had said about Iran was accurate. Last week Morning Joe had General Hayden on who ranted about Iran based on unsubstantiated claims. No challenges from anyone around the table on Morning Joe. Not one challenge. We have witnessed this dangerous scene before –

    • The truthful answer for Scarborough is “not a darn thing.”

      The USA has reached the limits of its military power unless Americans want to die in huge number in a foreign land where there is no possibility of a “win.”

      I would be glad to sit down with Scarborough and explain why we would be stupid to do anything about Iran. But I am just some guy off the street with a little bit of experience in a losing war and a fair knowledge of world history.

      The bottom line is no one in the USA media has the guts to attack the idiots trying to start another war.

  6. You guys clearly fail to understand. An attack on Iran will be so total “shock and awe,” that the Iranians will be simply mesmerized.
    After the initial bliss, the Iranians will recognize America as the new Messiah, and they will all become Christians.

    • I am sure your tongue was firmly in your cheek, but the REALITY will be terrible for the USA.

      BUT, unfortunately there is a lot of extremely delusional thinking in the USA and Israel.

      Iran has had over 30 years to study every aspect of the USA and Israeli military and has invested in many counter-tactical systems that will devastate any USA or Israeli attack. Then there is the fact that both the USA and Israel have attacked so many other people, the Iranians got lots of opportunities to see the the USA and Israeli military in action and see how others have defeated them.

      Iranian (and Chinese) engineers are every bit as capable as American and Israeli engineers (something egotistical Americans and Israelis can’t seem to understand) and the Iranian engineers will be defending their homeland, not just making war toys to sell at inflated prices.

      The first American or Israeli pilots that enter Iranian airspace are going to get the extreme shock of their soon to be short lives.

      The real “shock and awe” will be just how few attacking aircraft ever make it home.

      BTW – unless the USA keeps its carriers at least 800 miles from Iran, there is the very real possibility they will be sunk by DF21D “carrier killer” missiles Iran has purchased from China.

      Note that adding an extra 1600 miles to a combat mission will exhaust the pilots and require at least two in-flight refueling sessions. and trying those refueling session within 100 miles of Iran makes both the attack aircraft and the refueling aircraft S-400 targets. Ooops.

      This is going to be a short brutal war with the USA in rapid retreat very quickly after the start.

  7. Khamenei after listening to Cruz on the Morning Joe show: “How soon will they do it?”

    The Republican world is going to hell in a hand basket in a big hurry—Obamacare, Gay marriage, the Confederate flag coming down etc. not to mention illegal immigration and amnesty. The Republicans need a crisis or all will be lost. Iranian nukes is the perfect fix for all their domestic problems. If Iran puts nukes in Cuba, the Republicans might win Florida in 2016. A BIG CRISIS.

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