Oraib AlRantawi – Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Thu, 06 May 2021 03:28:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.10 Campaign of Israel’s Netanyahu against Biden Iran Deal crashes and burns along with his Career https://www.juancole.com/2021/05/campaign-israels-netanyahu.html Thu, 06 May 2021 04:02:56 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=197632 ( Middle East Monitor) – The Israeli security and military delegations flocking to Washington in the past few weeks have returned disappointed following their failed efforts to dissuade the Biden administration from returning to the Vienna Agreement with Iran and lifting the imposed sanctions. Israeli security and military believe that Washington is determined to close this file, even if it means lifting more than 1,600 Trump-imposed sanctions.

History is repeating itself, but it is doing so within a short period of time. In 2015, the Netanyahu government spared no effort to thwart the Obama administration’s endeavour to reach the agreement. Netanyahu himself did not hesitate to appear in person before the two chambers of Congress to address them and incite the US senators and congresspeople against their president. This was an unusual precedent in diplomatic norms. However, today, it is difficult for Netanyahu to face the Knesset, let alone Congress.

Iran has gone through four difficult years under the most severe sanctions, armed with “strategic patience”. It has not budged from any of its conditions and demands to revive the agreement, and it ultimately got what it wanted. The agreement, which is on the verge of seeing the light of day, is close to including almost all of Tehran’s demands and conditions. There is no limit to the stubbornness and patience of an Iranian negotiator. If only our people would learn from them.

Washington is lifting the sanctions imposed on most Iranian entities and individuals. It is lifting sanctions from three of the most important strategic economic sectors: oil and energy, industry, and banking. In addition, nearly $100 billion will be released after being frozen for years, provided that Tehran implements its nuclear obligations without nuclear expansion, like Washington, Tel Aviv, and European and Arab capitals have been demanding.

The delegate of the greatest power was not allowed access to the hotel where the Iranian delegation resided and met with delegations from China, France, Russia, the UK, and Germany. Before starting the deliberations, the Iranian delegation insisted that the US flag be removed from the flags of countries involved in direct negotiations and that Washington would not partake. Despite the attempts to arrange direct meetings to speed up the negotiations, the Iranian delegation seemed the least rushed in this regard. If only our people showed patience and resilience.

Iranians should not be denied the right to victory in the face of Trump’s arrogance, as well as the plotting of Netanyahu and some of his allies in the region, the weakness of Europe and its subordination, and the hesitation of China and Russia. Seemingly, Iran will soon emerge from isolation and siege, and Arab and European capitals will flock to it to get on its good side. We have already started to see new winds blowing in our Arab capitals.

Netanyahu is watching the scene, vowing to continue his war on Iran, and is offering his services as a leader of a country that can “fill the void” of Washington. However, Netanyahu’s problem is that he cannot find anyone to buy this “commodity” since even the Arab parties most enthusiastic about normalisation with Israel have begun to realise that this card is losing its value with diminishing momentum. They have also discovered that dialogue with Iran, not the alliance with Israel, maybe the shortest way to preserve its security and stability while safeguarding its interests.

Iran is not alone, as others in this large region have succeeded in forcing Washington to listen to their demands and conditions. Hasn’t the Taliban presented a model of patience, toughness, and stubbornness in the face of the superpower, forcing it to begin unconditionally withdrawing its forces? Didn’t Al-Houthi force the Arab coalition to recognise him as a major player, betting on his Yemeni background and Arabism after he was an “easy-to-break Iranian egg”, and only within the span of a few days? The world only understands the language of the powerful, whether states, groups, or movements – regardless of intellectual, ideological, and religious affiliations.

This article first appeared in Addustour on 4 May 2021

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Via Middle East Monitor

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Iran Nuclear Deal: Third round of negotiations concluded | Latest World English News | WION News

Washington and Tehran: Who will make the first move? https://www.juancole.com/2021/02/washington-tehran-first.html Fri, 05 Feb 2021 05:02:48 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=195961 ( Middle East Monitor) – From the outside, the heated debate between Tehran and Washington seems as though it could be summarised by the question: Which side will make the first move? Tehran wants Washington, which was responsible for violating its obligations and inflicting heavy losses on Iran, to start by lifting all additional sanctions imposed on it by the Donald Trump administration, following its unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Washington, however, rejects the immediate and automatic return to the nuclear agreement. It insists that Tehran initiates a return to its obligations under the agreement, halting all of its activities that violate it, including surrendering the 17 kilograms of 20 per cent-enriched uranium that it produced. Washington also wants Tehran to dismantle the additional centrifuges that were operated and cease all production of enriched uranium, in preparation for Washington’s return to the agreement.

However, on the inside the debate over what the “first step” is, and who will take it, is hiding deeper fears and conflicts as well as interests that are more conflicting than they appear at first glance.

Even by imposing its return to the nuclear agreement without alteration or change, which is unlikely, Washington is not hiding its insistence on reaching a “comprehensive agreement” with Iran that addresses its missile programme and regional role.

Iran, fully aware of this, says that the negotiations were completed in 2015, and categorically refuses to open the rest of the files at the negotiating table. In imposing the condition that Iran firstly returns to its obligations, Washington finds strong support from the powerful European troika: France, Germany and Britain.

READ: Israel, America and the Iranian nuclear deal crisis

The Russian Federation and the European Union (EU) support Iran’s return to its commitments, and warn of the consequences of the collapse of the nuclear agreement if Tehran insists on continuing its threat of “violating its obligations”. This will place the Iranian nuclear programme outside the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Arab World under the influence of Iran and US/Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

No one wants the nuclear agreement to collapse, with the exception of three or four countries of which Israel is at the forefront – a well-known fact. However, the differences surrounding the ways to salvage the agreement and the conditions for lifting US sanctions, or returning to Iranian commitments, seem very confusing. It puts the relationship between Washington and Tehran in the midst of these differences, fuelled and deepened by extremists on both sides as well as their allies.

If the intentions are true, and the parties are loyal to the interests of the region’s peoples and their need for security, stability and development, then “diplomacy” will not be lost as a means to salvage the agreement.

It will be possible for Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, who was involved in the efforts to finalise the agreement more than five years ago, to bridge the gaps, such as adopting step-by-step tactics, confidence-building measures, integrating third parties in settlement efforts or adopting initiatives that appear to be humanitarian, but are political on the inside.

Unfortunately for the two parties, however, each side’s internal dynamics may prevent or delay progress on the road to settlement and solution. Iran will be holding decisive presidential elections in five months – not the most appropriate time to conduct negotiations with Iran. In Washington, internal problems plague the new administration, and it is consuming almost all of its time and energy as it works to overcome them.

With the presence of allies who have practiced pressure and blackmail policies, such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi, combined with the influence they have on the Jewish lobby in Washington, the task of the new administration regarding Iran will be challenging.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the New Khaleej on 3 February 2021

READ: The end of America’s love affair with the Middle East

Via Middle East Monitor

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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EU Debate: “Iran disappointed over Biden administration’s refusal to lift sanctions”