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Iran, Israel and the US: The fretful triangle Open in fullscreen

Hamid Dabashi

Iran, Israel and the US: The fretful triangle

The soft power that Iran has accrued over the years is not going away (AFP)

Date of publication: 1 December, 2014

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The Iranian nuclear issue is integral to the geopolitics of the region. Iran is today infinitely more powerful than it has ever been by virtue of the systematic follies of a US regional policy completely determined by Israeli interests.

It’s a week since reports from Vienna finally confirmed that a yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure and see sanctions against Iran eased or lifted had fallen short.

Instead, the United States and its allies announced a seven-month extension, but “with no clear indication of why they think they can ultimately overcome the political obstacles that have so far blocked a deal”.

In a way these negotiations were doomed to (at least temporary) failure, given the inability of the negotiating

     Iran nor any other state in the region should ever have access to nuclear weapons — that includes Israel.

partners in Vienna to cover their backs on the home front and their fronts at the negotiating table at the same time. What these negotiations amount to are a four dimensional chess game – with Rouhani/Zarif battling their conservative doppelgängers back in Tehran as well as facing Obama/Kerry and their conservative doppelgängers in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, Israel/AIPAC have been knocking down the chess pieces anytime any semblance of an agreement seemed likely. Israel is of course the only winner from failed negotiations.

Literally within hours after the extension of negotiations was announced, Haaretz reported that the American Israeli agents (AIPAC) were back in the US Congress pushing for more economic sanctions on Iran. But even before that, Israel was itching to put the spectre of a military strike against Iran back on the table: “Cornered but unbound by nuclear pact,” announced the Jerusalem Post, “Israel reconsiders military action against Iran.”

Zionist Groundwork

In a recent piece for the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg – an American Zionist who put his Uzi where his mouth is and in his youth actually moved to Israel to help the settler colony steal more of Palestine as well as boasting the proud record of being an Israeli army prison guard – wishes to persuade his readers that though he is not for a military option against Iran, he is not convinced that the diplomatic route is promising either. The entire point of the article, published on the eve of the erstwhile deadline for any deal, is in fact to make anything but a military strike implausible.

Goldberg contends that a large number of Democrats are “fairly-to-very dubious about the possibility of a true breakthrough with Iran, and fairly-to-very worried about the consequences of a bad deal.” They, as Goldberg represents them, are worried that the Obama administration might be “outplayed by Iran”. Assured that the Republicans are squarely on his (Israel’s) side, Goldberg’s task in this essay is to make sure the Democrats are equally suspicious of any deal.

Goldberg’s argument is fairly simple. Iran poses “a genocidal threat to Israel”, it will pose “an acute challenge to pro-American moderates across the Middle East”, and thus be the “cause of nuclear non-proliferation, in particular in the world's most volatile region”.

Meanwhile, he also believes that it is all but natural for Iranian leaders to want to have nuclear weapons, for they “see what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, who didn’t have nuclear weapons”. For good measure, Goldberg also adds that “these leaders [that is to say the leaders of the Islamic Republic] also have pretensions of empire, by the way.” Brushing under the carpet the singular abiding fact that the only nuclear threat to the region is in fact his favourite Israeli settler colony, Goldberg opts for the delusional fantasy of a “Persian Empire” as the looming challenge to world peace.

Goldberg then puts words in the mouth of Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat whom he cites as saying that any agreement now will not guarantee that in some near or distant future Iran will not enrich and make a bomb, say twenty years from now. That might be a long period for Americans, he surmises, “but the people of the Middle East are patient”. He must have learned that bit of Orientalist cliché from his fieldwork as a prison guard in Israel.

Deutch also has concerns about a premature easing of sanctions, and is equally suspicious of the sneaky Iranians’ ability to hide their nuclear facilities in places like Natanz, Fardow or Parchin — Persian names he seems to have practiced and learned much better than the Hebrew for Dimona, Negev or God-only-knows-where-else.

Goldberg’s favourite Democrat is of course Hillary Clinton, the darling of any other Zionist, who has categorically said, as he cites her approvingly in a paragraph to be cut and pasted by the AIPAC staff to be emailed to all other Democrats:

I've always been in the camp that held that they did not have a right to enrichment. Contrary to their claim, there is no such thing as a right to enrich. This is absolutely unfounded. There is no such right. I am well aware that I am not at the negotiating table anymore, but I think it’s important to send a signal to everybody who is there that there cannot be a deal unless there is a clear set of restrictions on Iran. The preference would be no enrichment. The potential fallback position would be such little enrichment that they could not break out. So, little or no enrichment has always been my position.

Anticolonial History, National Will

The immediate goal of Zionist analysts like Goldberg is very clear: to have the Democrats as much on their side as the Republicans. Thus his conclusion: “It will be near impossible, especially after the immigration debate, to sell the Republican-controlled Congress on whatever Iran deal Obama negotiates. But the Democrats won't be an easy sell, either.”

What the Israeli agents in the US seem unable to understand is history. What they are after is the complete and unconditional surrender of the national sovereignty of Iranians over their own affairs, reminiscent of what in the height of colonial period Iranians knew as “capitulation”. Goldberg’s piece is the most recent evidence that these settler colonists think the whole region should be subject to their colonial conquest.

What they are evidently unable to grasp is the existing geopolitics of the region in which their garrison state is erected. At least since June 2014, before the Islamic State group menace was dominating the headlines, “The Iranian leadership had a message for Washington . . .” according to a New York Times report, “If President Obama really wants some cooperation on stabilizing Iraq, he might first think about speeding forward with a permanent deal over Iran’s nuclear capability.”

Analysts like Goldberg must know this urgency for a fact. Their wish is to delay the agreement until their favourite Republicans take over the Senate (done), when the AIPAC phone calls start ringing even more menacingly on Capitol Hill and the possibility of a deal with Iran is permanently damaged.

But the trouble the US has found itself in the region, and the soft power that the Islamic Republic has accrued over the years, are not going to go away – as perhaps the resignation of US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel may at least partially signify. Goldberg’s favourite settler colony is running out of any option but systematic savagery against Palestinian and the continued theft of their homeland. By contrast, the ruling regime in Iran can exercise soft power from Afghanistan to Syria, Lebanon and occupied Palestine, and from there to Bahrain and Yemen. It is this regional power that more than anything else troubles the Zionists in Tel Aviv and Washington DC alike.

American Zionists for the longest time have been in the business of persuading Americans at large that their interests and Israeli interests are one and the same. Leading political scientists like John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt have put an end to that delusion, and thus the pro-Israel lobby works overtime to sustain it. But the facts speak differently.

The Iranian nuclear issue — a red herring to begin with — is not an isolated matter. It is integral to the geopolitics of the region. Iran is today infinitely more powerful in the region than it has ever been — not by virtue of any grand political intelligence that rules it but by virtue of the systematic follies of US policies and decisions in the region, entirely entrapped inside an Israeli vision of reality.

If you were to reverse the angle from the myopic Zionist agenda of Goldberg and his Israeli warlords and look at the matter from the vantage point of Iranian people and their democratic aspirations, a whole different vista will emerge. After the events of the summer of 2008 it is quite clear the ruling regime in Iran has a sustained crisis of legitimacy, and the misfortune of Iranians is that this constitutionally flawed regime must represent them. But the issue that Zionist analysts like Goldberg fail to understand is that anticolonial anger and a proud sense of national sovereignty are definitive not just to the abusive power of the ruling regime but the national will of an entire nation, a real nation, not a settler colony like Israel.

There is only one simple and abiding fact that no amount of Zionist propaganda Goldberg and his ilk mobilize can hide: Israel is the only nuclear terror that threatens the region. Iran nor any other state in the region should ever have access to nuclear weapons — that includes Israel. Every single Iranian, and every single American could concur on that — but how many Zionists would dare to utter that simple fact?

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