Changing Iran's behaviour is unlikely

Iran is getting closer to developing a nuclear weapon (Photo by Adobe).

The West seems afraid of confronting Tehran by force. Yet it seems incapable of diplomacy, writes Ahmad Abdel-Rahman.

The West is infected with an incurable disease in dealing with Iran. It is an addiction to weakness and feigning naivety. The Russian-Ukraine war has brought back the "politics of force".

Rafael Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says that Tehran has made the agency "blind" about the developments of its nuclear project. Yet the country could develop a nuclear bomb at any time.

"Tehran is technically capable of building a nuclear bomb, but it has not yet taken a decision to implement it," said Kamal Kharrazi, senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and head of the Strategic Council for Foreign Policy. Strategic expert Mohammad Javad Larijani asserts: "If Iran decides to build a nuclear weapon, no one can stop it." The commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, boasts that his country will be among the world powers in the near future.

However, Washington, Paris, London and Berlin are still betting on reviving the nuclear agreement to prevent Iran from building a bomb. They are still taking the mullahs' word that Khamenei's fatwa issued in October 2003 prohibits possession of nuclear weapons. This fatwa was mentioned by former President Hassan Rouhani in August 2020 quoting from a speech by the Supreme Leader, not from the text of a fatwa, in addition to the fact that any fatwa is abrogated by another fatwa. The bomb is a "fait accompli", and the likelihood of preventing it is best described by the Russian proverb: "It is too late to wish a person good health while you are walking at his funeral."

Indeed, the capitals of the West and some capitals in the Middle East continue to bet on Iran's moderation, and its intention to "change behavior, limit regional influence, and abandon the ballistic missile program".

This is unlikely. This is because hostility to America is considered one of the foundations of the Islamic Revolution, according to the late Imam Khomeini. Spreading revolution in the region is the task of the Islamic Republic and the Revolutionary Guards in particular, according to Khomeini's constitution. Iran's strength is not only with weapons, the Revolutionary Guards and the army, but also the influence it has, and hopes to have, in the region. What the West and the Arabs call destabilising behaviour in the region is considered to be the highest stage of Iranian policymaking. What would the mullahs' do if Iran abandoned its role in working to remove American forces from West Asia and if it stopped seeking regional influence? How does Iran change its destabilising behavior without losing these roles? How do you throw out the Palestine card and Iran's hostility to Israel while it is Palestine that brought a Shiite Persian state into the heart of the Sunni Arab world? Iran used its support to the Palestinian cause as a pretext to interfere in the affairs of the Arab world.Karim Sadjadpour, an American expert on Iran and of Iranian origin, says in an article published by the magazine Foreign Affairs that Iran's problem today is that "it must open up with caution, but openness can destroy it". Sadjadpour also believes that Iran is trying to "establish imperialism by establishing militias under the pretext of resisting the west. ". He also talks about "Iran's empty victory and the great price of regional hegemony."

Sadjadpour recounts what Nouri al-Maliki, then prime minister in Iraq, said to an American ambassador: "You don't know how bad it can be until you're an Arab who has to live with the Persians." Al-Maliki believes that "Iran's power, which appears to be rising in the region, will rapidly decline." Why? Because "Iran's grand strategy will be defeated, not by America and Israel, but by the Iranian people who paid the great price for it."

The irony is that Khamenei, who imagines that Iran is leading the world in its conflict with America, and has the "upper hand in the region," has no solution to the serious economic and social crisis at home. He has found no remedy other than suppressing the demonstrators, despite recognising that they have the right to protest.

The biggest paradox is that the West, which is confronting Russia in Ukraine, seems afraid of confronting Iran by force and is incapable of confronting it even through diplomacy.

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Friday, 01 December 2023