PARIS, 3 Feb. (IPS) Of all possibilities and processes to get out of the nuclear standoff, the Iranian decision-makers chose the worse: that of giving themselves, hand and feet chained, to the Russian Bear.
The reason is simple: They create myths for themselves in their imaginations and by repeating it to themselves; they end in believing in them. The mythical scarecrow becomes a real monster.
They create myths for themselves and by repeating it to themselves; the mythical scarecrow becomes a real monster.
Before the “historic” decision of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany taken on Monday 30 January in London to call on the directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran’s controversial nuclear issue to the Security Council, the Iranians would not stop saying they are not afraid of the move, being “confident” that Russia, China, or both, would prevent it.
The reason of being absolutely certain of the Russian-Chinese backing of Iran was that Tehran had offered huge material advantages to both of them: buying more than 2 billions US Dollars worth weapons from Moscow and the prospect of building several other nuclear plants in the one hand and offering Peking the guarantee of supplying its energy hungry industries with oil and gas up to 12 per cent of its needs at prices much cheaper than the market for 30 years.
“The London statement, signed by all permanent members of the Security Council, including China and Russia, came as a shock to all Iranian leaders and senior diplomats involved in the nuclear crisis”, wrote Mr. Mohsen Mandegari in the internet news and views site “Baztab” that belongs to Mr. Mohsen Reza’i, the Secretary of the Expediency Council and a former Commander of the Revolutionary Guards.
In fact, just before the start of the meeting on Thursday, Mr. Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh, the new Iranian Envoy at the IAEA had assured journalists that Russia and China would stop the Iranian issue going to the Security Council and if it does, they would veto any sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
While, ever since coming to power six months ago, Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, the new Iranian President has largely contributed to the isolation of the Islamic Republic in the international community, where Iran had taken its place thanks to the détente policy undertaken by former president Mohammad Khatami, yet not latter than on first of February, he told people in the southern port of Booshehr on the Persian Gulf – where the Russians are building Iran’s first nuclear power plant – that “all nations of the world are behind us”.
He really believe this at a time that even Iran’s immediate neighbours, which had strangely been silent on the ruling Mollahrchy’s nuclear ambitions, are now voicing their serious concern openly.
To frighten the four Western powers and warn them of the “dangers” of referring the Islamic Republic to the Security Council, Mr. Ali Larijani, the Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security who also is the head of the Iranian nuclear negotiation team waved the specter of “our regional possibilities”, a warning that had been immediately interpreted as meaning that Iran has the power of destabilizing the already fragile situations in neighbouring nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Persian Gulf Sheykhdoms and even in Caucasia.
The media went even further and talked about the possible formation, on order from Tehran, of a “Hamas, Hezbollah, Badr Axis”, meaning the Palestinian Resistance Movement, the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’a-based Hezbollah and the military wing of the Supreme Assembly of Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SAIRI).
However, the Iranian leaders seem not being aware that such nonsense hard talks are made at a time that: a) Hamas is now in charge of forming the new Palestinian Government and has almost no other way but going down the road Fatah went before, meaning recognizing the State of Israel, b) that Hezbollah is becoming more and more a political formation in Lebanon depending less and less on the Islamic Republic and finally the SAIRI, besides having won the largest number of seats in the Iraqi parliament, is cooperating with American and British forces fighting the “terrorists” suspected to receive encouragements from Tehran.
Prisoner of their limited imagination, Iranian also raised the menace of stopping their oil from the hungry markets of the Western nations, some 2.5 millions barrels per day, unaware that Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter and producer has already promised to fulfill the gap, in case Iran goes ahead with its menaces.
President Ahmadi Nezhad, a fervent adept of the doctrine of Mehdi, or the hidden imam whom he thinks would re-appear within two years after centuries of absence, routinely denounces Western “arrogance”, accuses them of imposing their will over other nations and claims the leadership of the Muslim world -- that consists of a billion Sunnis against 200 million Shi’ites, considered by the majority as pariahs --, promises to bring justice for the entire mankind even though that at home, the theocratic regime ignore justice, equality and basic freedoms to the majority of its own people.
“The culture of martyrdom is our strength and we are mandated to disseminate this divine culture all over the world in order to establish justice”, he told a crowd of ordinary, ignorant, illiterate but pious people in Booshehr.
“The culture of martyrdom is our strength and we are mandated to disseminate this divine culture all over the world.
To some Iranian analysts, it is Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the “Guide” of the Islamic Republic, a staunch adversary of the Western “immoral and corrupt” culture and civilization who has put the obscure Ahmadi Nezhad in front line in order to advance his own anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israeli policies without being “dirtied” from the international backlashes and internal feuds.
In their opinion, what Mr. Khameneh’i is after is to get Iran out of the NPT, put an end to voluntary engagements the Government of former president Mohammad Khatami pledged to the European Troika in October 2003 suspending all sensitive nuclear activities and end inspection of Iranian nuclear centres by the UN’s watchdog agency, but blaming the western powers for the move.
On Friday, and ahead of the second day of the IAEA’s Board emergency meeting convened on call from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany to refer to Iranian issue to the Security Council, Mr. Javad Va’idi, Iran’s second in command of the nuclear dossier again repeated that the referral to the Security Council, “even in the form of simple report, would mean the end of the diplomatic process” and went one step further, adding that Iran might as well forgetting about the Russian proposal”.
Under this proposal, which has the backing of Washington and the Europeans, Russia would enrich uranium for feeding Iran’s future nuclear-powered electricity plants.
“We would have no other choice but to immediately end all our engagements with the Europeans since the Majles has passed a bill urging the Government to do so if the Iran’s nuclear issue is referred to the Security Council”, both Foreign Affairs Minister Mottaki and Larijani have reiterated several times.
But Khameneh’i himself is caught between two clashing powers: the ultras symbolised in the personage of Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi in the one hand and the pragmatics led by former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on the other.
“Conservative clerics have a certain confidence in Hashemi Rafsanjani’s abilities to get the regime out of trouble in turbulent times. They also think that better than most of them, the former president has a better understanding of international politics and diplomatic language and therefore capable of diffusing critical situations”, says Ahmad Zeyd Abadi, a respected Iranian commentator.
Probably, it was under pressure from this group of senior clerics that, days before the London meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France on 30 January, Mr. Khameneh’i summoned Hashemi Rafsanjani -- who was in holy city of Mash-had, the capital of the north-eastern Province of Khorrasan -- and other leading personalities of the regime, including the heads of the three powers, to a “very important meeting” aimed at “studying and reviewing” the nuclear situation.
“Even though the contents of the talks have not been publicly announced, observers are certain that the talks were over Iran’s nuclear standoff’, wrote the independent daily “Sharq” (Orient).
It was after this crucial meeting that the Expediency Council Chairman went to Qom, where he met with senior ayatollahs, among them Fazel Lankarani, Mosavi Ardebili, Makarem Shirazi, Safi Golpaygani, Nouri Hamedani, Mohammad-Taghi Behjat, Mirza Javad Tabrizi, Yusef Sane’i, Ali Meshkini, Javadi Amoli as well as the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Iraq.
Contrary to statements by Ahmadi Nezhad, SNSC Head Larijani and other leading hardliners that the referral of the nuclear crisis to the Security Council “is not important”, in the view of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, “even the slightest possibility of being taken to the UN Security is a very serious matter for us”.
“They (Americans and Europeans) want us to surrender, which is difficult for us. If we resist, we must pay a high price. This is a divine test for us and I hope we will successfully pass”, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted by Sharq as having warned, adding: “A decision at the Council is to our harm”.
However, it seems that he entered the arena a bit too late for his efforts to bear fruits, hence his last tentative to warn all Iranian interlocutors about what he termed in his Friday sermon as “black consequences” of a referral to the Security Council. “So far, we have done bad to anyone, we fully cooperated with the IAEA and we want nothing but what is our right. However, if the (IAEA) directors make a wrong decision, it will certainly not be to their benefit”, he warned without spelling out what are Iran’s arms except mobilizing terrorist groups. ENDS NUCLEAR STANDOFF 3206