Two years later: nothing has changed in West Asia

January 05, 2022

By Aram Mirzaei

It has been two years since the murders of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis at Baghdad airport. A lot has happened since then, but nothing has changed in the region. Still the same US occupation of Syria, and regular Israeli airstrikes on Syria. Still the same threats of “pre-emptive” attacks on Iran, still talks of US sanctioning this and that person in Iran. Still there’s a war of terror going on against the Yemeni people.

For the second anniversary of the assassinations, many authors have praised and remembered the martyred General’s achievements in life, but it is also important to remember his achievements in death.

The cowardly killings of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis and its aftermath at the Ain-al Assad military base marked a massive signal in terms of how Washington viewed the Islamic Republic. Previous US administrations, while just as arrogant and self-worshipping as any other US administrations, wouldn’t have dared to kill these men no matter what the Zionist regime wanted. It was just too much of a risk for them to make such a stupid move. The Trump administration however, believed that the Islamic Republic wouldn’t, or didn’t have the strength to respond to such a heinous act of terror. This is also why Trump wanted to assure himself that such was the case when he posted those bizarre tweets where he threatened to destroy cultural heritage sites in Iran.
Well as everybody knows by now, when Iran responded and practically destroyed the Ain al-Assad base, he didn’t follow up on his threats.

Instead he doubled down on his “maximum pressure” campaign, in the hopes of forcing Iran back to the negotiations table to negotiate a new deal, one which includes the Islamic Republic’s missile arsenal. This takes us to where we are today. A new administration is in charge of the White House, and nobody could seriously say that they are surprised that the policy of maximum pressure towards the Islamic Republic has remained, with new audacious demands and accusations towards Tehran.

Ayatollah Khamenei once said “America is America, this or that person or party doesn’t matter. Any president assuming power over there will not do us any good, they’ll only find other ways to antagonize us.”

Washington and its vassals are currently trying to push Tehran in Vienna, to accept a new JCPOA deal. As Tehran has shown that it won’t negotiate anything more than the original JCPOA deal and won’t accept anything less than full sanctions removal, Washington and Tel Aviv have threatened to use “other options”. These “other options” threats are getting old, they’ve repeated these same threats over the past two decades and yet they’ve done nothing.

Washington is afraid, and everybody knows this. Our side knows this, the Russians know this, the Chinese know this, but most importantly, Washington’s allies know this. Even the average person who doesn’t follow world events too much is becoming aware of this.

In West Asia, the Resistance Axis poses a serious threat to Anglo-Zionist hegemony yet they do not dare to attack the Islamic Republic, the main pillar of the Resistance Axis. Both Washington and Tel Aviv have continuously threatened Tehran with airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, yet none of them have ever followed through with their empty threats. The fact that Washington seeks to include the Iranian missile arsenal into a new JCPOA deal, together with their empty threats, shows that their side is worried and fearful of the Islamic Republic’s growing might. And frankly, why shouldn’t they be?

The Resistance Axis hasn’t been weakened by the deaths of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis as some western “think tank” analysts believed or rather had hoped for, just as the Resistance Axis wasn’t weakened by the wars in Iraq and Syria. Aside from direct military aggression, every possible conspiracy imaginable have been directed towards the Resistance front. Most people don’t know that the Islamic Revolution in Iran, contrary to what many people believe to be Shiite-inspired, actually drew inspiration from many different Islamic thinkers from different sects over the past 1400 years. Such a pan-Islamic ideology posed a great threat to the US and Israeli plans for the region. So, the Anglo-Zionist side had to do something to create sedition and division among Muslims by using Takfiri extremists to present the Islamic Revolution as a Shiite revolution and create a sectarian war mainly between Arabs and Iranians.

Despite their best attempts to destroy and weaken the Resistance front, the Zionist regime is ever more threatened by Hezbollah’s power, the US hegemony in the region is in decline, as evidenced by their shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Gulf client states are having more trouble containing the revolutionary Yemeni forces than ever. Today, the Resistance front enjoys widespread support among both Muslims and Christians in West Asia as we saw how people from all sects and movements came out to condemn and commemorate the slain Martyrs. Even the Taliban held a commemoration in General Soleimani’s honour.

Where the Arab nationalists had previously failed, the Islamic Republic succeeded in transcending not only ethnic, but also sectarian and ideological differences and grievances in the region and the Islamic world. Through a pragmatic approach, it has managed to secure its own survival and build a powerful alliance across the region that now truly threatens the Zionist regime.

Of course, the fight is far from over, the Zionists and their American tools still maintain a large presence in the region and I don’t expect them to admit defeat anytime soon either. In fact, they’re already hatching new plots against the Resistance front. One example is the continuation of the so called “normalization’ deals with Israel from the Trump administration’s era, which Biden’s administration is currently pushing hard for.

Recently, a high-ranking official at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs was quoted as saying that “Israel is working behind the scenes towards normalization of diplomatic relations with Indonesia and Saudi Arabia”. US media outlet Axios first reported that the administration of US President Joe Biden “is trying to build on the Trump-era Abraham Accords, and in this case, looking beyond the Middle East to the largest of the countries that don’t recognize Israel.”

These “normalization” deals serve several purposes. One purpose is to restore the damaged Israeli image in the world. More and more people are recognizing “Israel” for what it is- an apartheid state engaged in terrorism and oppression against not only Palestinians, but the entire region, and dare I say, the world. Another purpose is to isolate the Resistance front by formally and officially announcing these deals as “big steps towards peace”, leaving anyone who refuses to “normalize” relations with Israel being labelled as terrorists or “radical Islamists” in the eyes of the “international community”. A third purpose is for Washington and Tel Aviv to unite all its vassals against the Resistance front. When the UAE and Bahrain shamefully announced their respective deals with the Zionist regime, they also “officially” joined the “unofficial alliance” against Iran and its allies. This wasn’t news for the observer who already has some insight into West Asian geopolitics and knows about the long history of hostility between the Persian Gulf states and Iran, but in terms of symbolism, it shows that for whatever reason, be it as a sign of strength or a reaction against the strengthening of China-Russia-Iran ties, the enemy’s vassals are ready to fully reveal themselves openly now.

In their dream of besieging Iran, Washington moved away from invading and occupying neighbouring countries, seeing as how they failed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after having seen how sanctions failed to break the Resistance front. Instead, Washington is trying to politically besiege the Islamic Republic in a new way. Just like before, this too shall fail. Since Washington doesn’t give a damn about the people of the Islamic world, they cannot comprehend that their treacherous vassal regimes are highly unpopular among the Muslim population.

No matter how much the Western media attempts to hide and suppress the public outrage and protests going on in countries like Bahrain and Sudan, the reality is that most of these treacherous vassal regimes in the region are completely dependent on US support for survival. Normalizing relations with the apartheid state, will only hasten their inevitable downfall because of the simple fact that if they join Israel and the US in an eventual war with the Resistance front, they will quite simply be destroyed. Seeing as how the Saudis and the other Gulf vassals cannot contain the Houthi forces in Yemen, despite massive support from the West, Takfiri terrorist forces and mercenaries on the ground and the air superiority that they enjoy, it is not a far stretch to imagine virtually all of Saudi Arabia ending up in flames if Riyadh decides to wage war on the Islamic Republic.

Washington has not achieved anything in the region through the killings of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis and nothing has changed. By committing this grave mistake, the US has made their shameful exit from the entire region an inevitable fact. They thought they could isolate and besiege the Islamic Republic, but fate has a way of being ironic. Instead of besieging Iran, the Iranians besieged them in the region.

I finish this piece with a quote from the Islamic Revolution: “From the blood of the martyrs, victory will grow”

Russia says Nord Stream 2 ready for commissioning

Dec 30 2021

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

After several western attempts to block its construction, citing “dependence on Russia”, Russia’s Nord Stream 2 is complete and ready for commissioning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the SPIEF in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 4, 2021 (Reuters)

Russian Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline is ready for commissioning after its second line from Russia to Germany has been filled with gas, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced Wednesday.

According to Miller, the Russian energy giant has met all long-term gas supply contracts.

“Today at 12:58 Moscow time [09:58 GMT], Gazprom completed the filling of the second thread of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with gas. The first and second threads of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline are under operational pressure and are fully ready for operation,” Miller declared.

The CEO also revealed that the company had fulfilled its obligations to transit gas through Ukraine.

“Gazprom fully fulfilled its obligations under the contract for gas transit via Ukraine, our planned volume of 40 billion cubic meters of gas. Today we have already transited 41.5 billion cubic meters through Ukraine,” he said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia ready to supply gas to Europe

President Putin announced that Russia would be ready to immediately start supplying Europe with Gas if the European countries decide to launch Nord Stream 2.

Now, of course, he said, everything depends on Moscow’s partners, European consumers, and Germany.

“As soon as they decide to start work, large volumes, additional volumes of Russian gas will immediately begin to flow to Europe. Let me remind you that this is 55 billion cubic meters per year.”

According to Putin, the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will see gas prices decreasing, not only for Europe but also for Ukraine.

The Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Economic Cooperation said Wednesday Washington’s sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project were pointless, as the construction of the gas pipeline had been completed.

“To be honest, we see no point in Washington’s sanctions policy in conditions when the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has already been built,” the diplomat declared.

In light of the Russian-Ukrainian tensions, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday Russia’s Nord Stream 2 would not be allowed to operate in Ukraine, citing an agreement between Washington and Berlin.

The pipeline, which has been backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the one hand and Scholz’s predecessor Angela Merkel on the other in recent years, has been criticized by several sides. 

The US and several Eastern European countries are worried that Europe would be too dependent on Russia. 

In mid-November, the German energy regulator had suspended the certification procedure for Nord Stream 2 by requiring the Swiss-based consortium in charge of its operation to create a company under German law.

Related

China Urges More Consensus Building in Vienna Talks

December 28, 2021

Wang Qun, Chinese Envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna.

A senior Chinese diplomat called for expanding consensus, “properly handling” differences and jointly promoting breakthroughs during the ongoing round of the Vienna talks.

“On the Iran nuclear issue and related nuclear non-proliferation issues, ‘pragmatism’ and double standards should not be adopted in pursuit of selfish interests,” said Wang Qun, the Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, according to the Chinese CGTN TV.

“Sanctions should also not be used for threatening casually and new sanctions should not be introduced against Iran during the negotiations,” Wang said, as quoted by Mehr news agency.

The Joe Biden administration imposed fresh sanctions on two Iranian government agencies and several officials on December 7 during the previous round of talks.

The eighth round of negotiations during the Christmas and New Year holidays reflected the sense of urgency on all parties to resume negotiations, Wang said.

Since early April, representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran have held seven rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital, with the United States involved indirectly.

The parties have forged a new “common text” on nuclear issues and a “common understanding” on lifting sanctions, Wang said, adding that they agreed to keep negotiating thoroughly, with a focus on these key points during the eighth round of talks.

All these consensuses laid a solid foundation for this round of talks, he added, and all parties concerned should focus on them, especially the existing ones, and work hard to expand to new areas while “properly” handling the differences.

“We hope that all parties can take practical measures to jointly safeguard the current momentum and atmosphere of the negotiations and push for an early conclusion of a package solution,” Wang said.

China will continue to firmly support the resumption of negotiations between the United States and Iran on implementing the agreement, participate constructively in the follow-up negotiations, and work with all parties to push for results, said the Chinese envoy.

The US government under Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018 and unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Source: Iranian media

Bagheri Kani Calls for Guarantees for Lifting Sanction

 December 27, 2021

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani has urged other sides in Vienna talks to guarantee lifting of sanctions and pave the way for verification of the embargo removal.

Bagheri Kani referred to progress made in the previous round of talks in Vienna, Austria, to lift anti-Iran sanctions and revive the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the Iranian negotiating team is completely serious and ready to continue the Vienna talks.

The eighth round of talks for lifting anti-Iran sanctions kicked off on Monday evening local time, when Iranian top nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s representative in Vienna talks Enrique Mora co-chaired the Joint Commission meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In the meeting, which has been held at Palais Coburg in Vienna, delegations from Iran, the European Union and the P4+1 group (Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) took part and discussed way of continuation of talks.

All negotiating teams pointed to progress made at the seventh round of the Vienna talks, underlining the need for keeping on with intensive negotiations.

The delegations also hinted to the fact that most Iranian proposals have been mentioned in a new joint document for the eighth round of talks.

At the end of Monday’s Joint Commission meeting, the negotiating teams agreed upon carrying on negotiations at different levels and formats.

Source: Iranian Agencies

بين أذرع واشنطن ومخالب طهران هل يتصاعد الدخان «النووي» الأبيض؟

الجمعة 24 كانون أول 2021

 د. عدنان منصور _

ما الذي ستحمله الجولة الثامنة من المفاوضات النووية في فيينا، بعد أن علقت الآمال الكبيرة على الجولة السابعة، وارتفع فيها لوقت، منسوب التفاؤل الذي روّج له أكثر من طرف! تفاؤل كان يُؤمل منه أن يودي للتوصل إلى حلّ يرضي الأطراف المفاوضة. ويتصاعد منه الدخان «النووي» الأبيض!

لقد نشطت الولايات المتحدة من خلال مبعوثها الخاص للشؤون الإيرانية في إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن منذ كانون الثاني 2021 روبرت مالي Robert Malley، ومدير برامج الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في مجموعة الأزمات الدولية في واشنطن، الذي تواصل مع أطراف دولية واقليمية بغية التوصل إلى اتفاق نهائي ينجم عن الجولة السابعة من المفاوضات. وهي الجولة التي جاءت بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الإيرانية في حزيران الماضي، وأتت برئيس محافظ، متشدّد، متمسّك بحق إيران في امتلاك وتطوير برنامجها النووي السلمي. إلا أن واشنطن، وقبل الشروع في مفاوضات الجولة السابعة، مارست ضغوطاً على إيران، أخذت منحى تصعيدياً، من أجل حملها على تقديم تنازلات جوهرية تلبّي مطالب وأهداف واشنطن وحلفائها.

كانت الإدارة الأميركية تتوقع الوصول إلى اتفاق مع طهران قبل نهاية هذا العام، وإحيائه من جديد، ومن ثم عودة واشنطن إلى مجموعة 5+1.

رغبة واشنطن لم تتحقق، بعد أن تمسك الجانب الإيراني بمطلبه الثابت، وهو إلغاء العقوبات كافة، التي فرضها الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب، ودفعة واحدة غير مجزأة، تطبّق في شكل عملي لا نظري.

إيران رفضت ما تسرّب لها من معلومات مفادها أن الأميركيين يدعمون اقتراحاً قدّمه طرف أوروبي قريب من المفاوضات، غايته التوصل إلى «اتفاق مرحلي» بين طهران والمجموعة الغربية، يضمن تعهّد إيران بالامتناع عن تخصيب اليورانيوم مقابل تحرير الودائع الإيرانية المجمّدة، ومن ثم الاستمرار في المفاوضات لحين التوصل إلى اتفاق نهائي ودائم.

الاقتراح الأوروبي الذي وافقت عليه الولايات المتحدة يخضع لمبدأ التعليق مقابل التعليق، وهو اتفاق موقت يفسح المجال ويعطي الوقت الكافي لإتمام اتفاق نووي دائم. وهو حلّ يرى فيه الغرب «الولايات المتحدة والمجموعة الأوروبية» بأنه مقدمة أساسية لمفاوضات مستقبلية تودي إلى اتفاق أشمل وأوسع. لكن مبدأ التعليق مقابل التعليق، قد يدوم طويلاً، ويصبّ في صالح الغرب لا في صالح إيران. ليس من الصعوبة بمكان أن تقبل طهران بهذا المبدأ، وهي التي تعلم جيداً أن الاتفاق النووي الذي وقع عليه عام 2015، تنتهي مفاعيل بنود كثيرة فيه عام 2025، حيث لم تلتزم به واشنطن. كما أن الحكومة الإيرانية الحالية لديها ملاحظات وتحفظات وانتقادات شديدة حيال الاتفاق النووي الموقع عليه عام 2015. لذلك فإنّ جولات المفاوضات المقبلة لن تكون يسيرة، بل شائكة ومتشعّبة، تتجاذبها الأطراف، لا سيما أن ثقة الإيرانيين لجهة السلوك الأميركي، والتعاطي مع إيران مهتزة أن لم نقل مفقودة، نتيجة الخلافات المستحكمة بين الطرفين منذ أربعة عقود، والسياسات الأميركية الشرسة التي عانت منها إيران الأمرّين، وكان آخرها انقضاض ترامب على الاتفاق النووي، وانسحابه الأحادي منه بعد ثلاث سنوات من توقيعه، ومن ثم إعادة فرضه العقوبات على إيران من جديد، غير مبال أو مكترث بالمجتمع الدولي وبحلفائه.

إيران وهي تتعاطى مع المجموعة الأوروبية، تنطلق من مبدأ الحفاظ على حقوقها، ومعرفة مدى تجاوب الجانب الأميركي، وحسن نواياه حيالها. فأيّ خطوة ايجابية غربية تجاه طهران ستقابلها خطوة ايجابية من جانبها. وفي حال تعنّتت واشنطن، وامتنعت عن رفع العقوبات كاملة ودفعة واحدة، عندئذ سيكون لإيران خيارات أخرى، أقلها السير بخطى كبيرة في تطوير برنامجها النووي من دون التقيّد بنسبة تخصيب اليورانيوم. ما سيدفع لاحقاً بواشنطن وحلفائها إلى اتخاذ إجراءات عاجلة ضدّ طهران، وفرض المزيد من العقوبات عليها، وعلى مختلف المستويات. وهذا ما تدركه إيران جيداً وتضعه في حسابها.

الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها أصبحوا على يقين أن كلّ الإجراءات «السلمية» والعقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية والتجارية الواسعة، التي فرضوها على إيران، لم تحملها على الخضوع والقبول بالشروط الأميركية والأمر الواقع. لكن ماذا لو أصرّت واشنطن على شروطها، ورفضت طهران هذه الشروط، وفشلت المفاوضات؟ ما لم تعطه إيران في اتفاق 2015، لن تعطيه في أيّ اتفاق مقبل، اليوم أو غداً، مهما كانت جرعة التهديدات العسكرية لواشنطن أو «الكيان الإسرائيلي».

الساحة مشرّعة على كلّ الاحتمالات، والإيرانيون على ثباتهم، يحسبون ذلك جيداً، وهم جاهزون لمواجهة أيّ مغامرة عسكرية من أي جهة تأتي، ولن يفرّطوا لا من قريب أو بعيد ببرنامجهم النووي السلمي الذي يعتبرونه فخر إنجازاتهم العلمية، وحقهم الطبيعي في استخدام الطاقة النووية السلمية في نهضة بلادهم وتطورها وتقدمها.

هل تكون الجولة الثامنة هي الأخيرة، أم أن هناك جولات أخرى تنتظر؟

يبدو أن التطمينات الإيرانية الموجهة للداخل، لا تعكس حقيقة ما يدور في فيينا، حيث يخيّم الحذر والتباين في وجهات النظر والطروحات بين الجانب الإيراني،

والجانب الأميركي «المتمثل» ببريطانيا وفرنسا وألمانيا.

الكرة ليست في ملعب طهران، وإنما في ملعب من يريد أن ينتف ريش البرنامج النووي الإيراني شيئاً فشيئاً، ويحجم قوة وقدرات إيران النووية. لذلك، لا مجال أمام طهران للتراجع عما حققته عام 2015، حيث تطورها العلمي النووي يتعزز مع الوقت، وسيأتي اليوم الذي سيقرّ به الغرب عاجلاً أم آجلاً بحقها النووي السلمي.

في ظلّ أجواء المفاوضات التي يكتنفها الضباب، تستبق «إسرائيل» النتائج، لتصعّد من لهجتها العسكرية العدوانية ضدّ إيران، حيث الكيان «الإسرائيلي» يهدّد، ويرفض رفضاً مطلقاً ايّ اتفاق نووي غربي مع طهران، يضمن لها برنامجاً نووياً ولو بحدّه الأدنى، وهو الذي ندّد على الفور بالاتفاق النووي بعد توقيعه عام 2015، عندما وصفه نتنياهو في حينه بـ «الاتفاق السيّء» وبـ»الخطأ التاريخي».

«إسرائيل» تلوّح بـ»هجوم عسكري مدمّر»، في حال فشلت المفاوضات النووية. لكن التهويل «الإسرائيلي» لن يمنع إيران من السير قدُماً في برنامجها النووي، وهي جاهزة لكلّ الاحتمالات. فأيّ استهداف «إسرائيلي» لموقع نووي أو غير نووي إيراني، سيلقى رداً سريعاً من جانب طهران، وهذا أمر محسوم

إنّ أيّ عدوان «إسرائيلي» أو غيره، يطال منشاة نووية إيرانية، ومهما كانت الأضرار التي قد تترتب عنه، لن ينال من جيش من علماء الذرة والفنيين والتقنيين الإيرانيين، من أن يستعيدوا قدراتهم على الفور، ويمتصّوا تبعات ايّ عدوان. لكن ماذا عن «إسرائيل» ومستقبل كيانها، فيما لو تعرّضت لردّ فعل إيراني؟ فهل باستطاعتها أن تمتصّ الضربات الإيرانية، وتوفر الأمان والبقاء للمحتلين المحاطين بعداء شعوب المنطقة المتجذر حيالهم، والرافضة لوجودهم في الشكل والأساس؟

«إسرائيل» تريد من واشنطن أن تتولى مهمة ضرب إيران، لتراقب عن بعد ما يجري على الساحة من دون أن تورّط نفسها، لكن وإنْ أرادت أن تكون خلف الستار، فالنار ستصل إليها وستحرقها وهي تعرف ذلك. فكلما قويت شوكة الإيرانيين، كلما زاد تهديد «الإسرائيليين»، ليقتصر على التصريحات والأقوال، والتهويل والتخويف، الذي لا ينطوي على القيادة الإيرانية، ولا يغيّر قيد أنملة من مواقفها وتوجهاتها وأهدافها، لا سيما لجهة برامجها النووية والصاروخية والفضائية والعلمية، وتطوّرها الاقتصادي والصناعي والبحثي والمعرفي.

مفاوضات فيينا ونتائجها ستشرع أبوابها أمام فرص النجاح أو الفشل، احتمالات السلام أو الحرب، التقارب والتعاون أو المزيد من الحصار والعقوبات.

من فيينا ينتظر العالم الدخان الأبيض، على أن لا يكون دخاناً أسود تتمناه، وتعوّل عليه دولة الاحتلال «الإسرائيلية»!

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق

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Rania Khalek interviews Prof. Seyed Mohammad Marandi on JPCOA

TUESDAY 21 DEC 21

RANIA KHALEK 

This video describes the status of the negotiations on the JPCOA but is broader than that.  It also demonstrates how the USA negotiates.

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:20 What has been achieved, why hasn’t there been a restoration of the nuclear deal yet?
  • 9:02 US and Europe want to keep sanctions in place
  • 16:36 Who is being constructive vs obstructing the talks?
  • 20:25 Why should Iran even resume talks?
  • 29:10 Does Iran see a difference between Trump and Biden?
  • 32:29 Iranian liberals as extensions of the West
  • 35:53 Is war between Iran and the US inevitable?
  • 43:53 Consequences of the US Assassination of Qassem Suleimani
  • 58:57 The Gulf States reevaluate their relationship with Iran
  • 1:06:24 Iranian domestic politics under Raisi

US Exit From JCPOA ‘Disastrous’- Sullivan

Dec 18 2021

By Staff, Agencies

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan strongly criticized the previous administration of President Donald Trump over its “disastrous” withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Sullivan made the remarks at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday as the seventh round of the talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the JCPOA wrapped up.

He said the past few days have brought “some progress” at the negotiating table, but Tehran has “raced” its nuclear program since Washington pulled out of the agreement in 2018 under Trump.

“Getting that program back into a box through a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA has proven more difficult through the course of this year than we would have liked to see,” he added. “And we are paying the wages of the disastrous decision to leave the deal back in 2018.”

Sullivan further said that the Vienna talks are “not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back into” the JCPOA.

The comments echoed those of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who earlier admitted that abandoning JCPOA “isolated” the United States, not the Islamic Republic.

Blinken also said that the US maximum pressure campaign against Iran only pushed the country to “inexorably rebuild the nuclear program that the agreement had put in a box.”

Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the accord had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of a non-performance by the other side.

The US administration of President Joe Biden had voiced a willingness to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — began negotiations in the Austrian capital in April in a bid to resurrect the JCPOA.

The seventh round of the talks, the first under Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration, started on November 29 following a five-month pause.

On December 17, Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Baqeri Kani, announced on Twitter that “good progress” had been made, and that the negotiations would continue after a “break of a few days.”

During the discussions, Iran presented two draft texts which address, separately, the removal of US bans and Iran’s return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

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E3 Ultimately Agreed To Accept Iran Viewpoints as Basis for Serious, Result-oriented Talks – Top Negotiator

Dec 18 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the E3, intimately agreed to accept Tehran’s viewpoint as a basis for “serious, result-oriented” talks as the latest round of discussions in Vienna comes to a close.

Baqeri Kani was briefing reporters on Friday, at the end of the seventh round of talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the five remaining signatories to the multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], aimed at removing the US sanctions imposed on Tehran and saving the agreement.

He said the pace of reaching an agreement depends on the will of the opposite side, adding, “If the other side accepts the rational views and positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new round of talks can be the last one and we can achieve a deal in the shortest possible time.”

The senior added that Iran and the P4+1 group of countries reached “two new documents for talks both on the issue of sanctions and on the nuclear issue,” referring to the bans that the US imposed on Iran after withdrawing from the deal and the retaliatory nuclear steps that Tehran took away from the accord.

He emphasized that a fresh round of Vienna talks would start in the near future based on these new texts which incorporate Iran’s viewpoints and positions.

Baqeri Kani, who also serves as deputy foreign minister for political affairs, noted that given the formation of a new administration in Iran, the country’s new negotiating team had brought along its own stance and views to Vienna.

At the same time, however, the new Iranian negotiating team took into account the positions, views, amendments and proposals put forwards by the former Iranian colleagues during the previous six rounds of talks in Vienna as well as the drafts that had been prepared up to that time and “incorporated them in the negotiation documents that we presented to the other side,” he added.

“Specifically, two documents were important for the negotiations. One was related to the removal of sanctions, which was the main priority on the agenda of the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the chief negotiator said.

He said the removal of sanctions was not just a priority for Iran, but other parties, including some of the P4+1 members, such as China, explicitly announced in the discussions that their priority was in harmony with that of Tehran.

In the course of the days that the latest talks were underway in Vienna, senior diplomats and experts of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries held several sessions on the removal of the sanctions and exchanged a number of documents about the two sides’ views on amendments or changes which should be made in the final text Baqeri Kani said, adding, “We received the latest documents on the sanctions removal today.”

Asked whether the two sides have managed to narrow down their differences, the senior diplomat said Iran announced its stance on the sanctions removal and nuclear issues in two documents, but “the European side was initially reluctant to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran’s views as a basis for the talks.”

He said the European signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, France and Germany— exerted pressure on Iran at first to make it retreat from its positions and insisted that the negotiations should move forward within the framework of the previous six rounds of the Vienna talks.

Faced with Iran’s resistance and logical arguments, the opposite side finally agreed to accept Iran’s positions as “a basis for serious, result-oriented” negotiations, the senior official added.

He criticized the E3 for failing to present a specific constructive initiative during the talks, saying, “They previously announced that they have proposals and initiatives on some topics, including the issue of guarantees, but we received no proposal or initiative from them during this round of talks.”

Iran’s chief negotiator explained that the talks were paused on Friday because the two sides agreed on the basis of the future negotiations, noting that they would resume a fresh round with serious discussions on the texts which have been agreed upon by all the negotiating teams.

Baqeri Kani said the new round of talks would be resumed within the next few days, adding that the negotiations will start based on the JCPOA and “no other basis has been announced by anyone and will be accepted by anyone.”

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA resumed talks in Vienna on November 29 after a five-month pause, marking the first round of negotiations under President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration and the seventh overall.

The Islamic Republic maintains that its presence at the talks is intended to have the US sanctions removed, which would, in turn, secure a US return to the nuclear deal.

The US, which is not allowed to directly participate in the talks as a result of its 2018 withdrawal from the JCPOA, claims that it is willing to undo the withdrawal and repeal its “maximum pressure” policy against Iran.

Iran argues that the onus is on Washington to return to the nuclear deal after removing its illegal sanctions and offering guarantees that it will not exit the pact again.

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فيينا نحو الاتفاق عاجلاً أو آجلاً

الجمعة 17 كانون أول 2021

 ناصر قنديل

تمر إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن بأسوأ ظروف مرت على إدارة تسلمت البيض الأبيض، ففي الوقت الذي تعاني الخزانة الأميركية من أزمة ديون تتجاوز الخطوط الحمراء، وتضخم مالي تتآكل معه القدرة الشرائية للأميركيين أمام إرتفاعات الأسعار، يسود ركود اقتصادي تزيده كورونا تفاقماً، وتتعقد المنافسة التجارية مع الصين في غير صالح الاقتصاد الأميركي، بينما المواجهة التي فتحتها إدارة بايدن مع روسيا حول أوكرانيا، في ظرف تدرك الإدارة أنها لا تستطيع الذهاب إلى الخيار العسكري، وأن العقوبات التي تلوح بها لم تعد تجد نفعاً مع الرئيس الروسي، بل أن موسكو حولت هذا التحدي إلى فرصة، وفتحت الباب لطرح مطالبها المزمنة مقابل تعهداتها تجاه أوكرانيا، لجهة طلب تعهدات حلف الناتو بعدم ضم دول شرق أوروبا إلى صفوفه، بينما يخرج إلى العلن حلف صيني- روسي سياسي عسكري اقتصادي، أول مخرجاته قرار بكسر حصرية الدولار في التعامل التجاري، وفي ظل هذه الظروف الشديدة التعقيد تخوض واشنطن مفاوضات أشد تعقيداً مع إيران حول ملفها النووي، الذي انسحبت منه أميركا وتدفع الثمن السياسي والقانوني لانسحابها أمام إيران التي نجحت بإثبات إلتزامها لسنتين، وعندما خرجت عن بعض الإلتزامات نجحت بتوظيفها لتحسين وضعها النووي أضعافاً مضاعفة، بينما لم ينفع الانسحاب أميركا بشيء.

احتاجت واشنطن لوقت كي تستوعب أنها الطرف الأضعف في المفاوضات، كما احتاج شركاؤها الأوروبيون، فقد بدأ التفاوض وفي العقل الغربي أن مجرد التلويح لإيران بفرص العودة إلى الاتفاق سيكون كافياً لتتلقف إيران الأمر بالإستعداد لوقف اجراءاتها من خارج الاتفاق، ويدخل التفاوض إلى نوعية العقوبات التي يمكن رفعها، كما توهم الأميركيون والأوروبيون أن ما تم خلال فترة الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق وما رافقه من عقوبات حقق الضغط اللازم على إيران، أي أنه أنضجها لقبول ما لم يكن مقبولاً عندها من قبل، ولذلك يمكن القول إن ما مر من وقت التفاوض كانت مهمته من وجهة نظر الوفد الإيراني إفهام الأميركيين والأوروبيين بوضوح أنهم أصحاب الحاجة الأصلية للعودة إلى الاتفاق، وأن إيران تأقلمت مع العقوبات، وأنهم لا يملكون بدائل للاتفاق بخلاف إيران التي تملك خيار المضي ببرنامجها النووي إلى لحظة الرعب النووية للغرب، وأنها بعدما تخلصت من العقوبات الأممية باتت طرفاً في حلف مع روسيا والصين يضمن لها عدم عودة هذه العقوبات، وأنها اقتصادياً تخطت الكثير من عقد العقوبات أمام المتاجرة قبل اتفاقها الاستراتيجي مع الصين فكيف بعده.

ما جرى في اليومين الأخيرين يقول إن واشنطن والعواصم الأوروبية بدأوا يلامسون الواقع بصورة أفضل من أوهام العظمة التي دخلوا التفاوض على أساسها، لكنهم لم يصلوا بعد إلى اللحظة التي تصنع الاتفاق، لكن إعتمادهم أسلوب تبادل الأوراق مع الوفد الإيراني المحترف والممسك جيداً بملفاته، سواء في ملف العقوبات بالتفاصيل أو الملف النووي بأشد التفاصيل دقة، يقول إن الإقرار بالحاجة للتعامل بجدية مع توازن القوى الموضوعي المحيط بالتفاوض بعقلية السعي لتسريع التفاوض وبلوغ النتيجة الايجابية، قد بدأ، لكن واشنطن تواجه مشكلتين خطيرتين، الأولى حالة حلفائها الاقليميين وخصوصاً السعودية و”إسرائيل”، وعجزهما عن التأقلم بسهولة مع إتفاق تقبل به إيران، وينظر إليها كرضوخ أميركي للشروط الإيرانية، والثانية كيفية تقديم الضمانات التي تطلبها إيران مقابل خطر الانسحاب الأميركي مجدداً من الاتفاق، ومصير أجهزة الطرد المركزي المتطورة التي تم تركيبها وكميات اليورانيوم التي تم تخصيبها، واصرار إيران على اعتبار الحفاظ عليها ضمانة موازية بديلة.

المفاوضات الدائرة في فيينا، بكل ما يرافقها ويحيط بها، سترسم حكماً مشهد الشرق الجديد، لكنها ستضع رؤوس الجسور لرؤية مشهد عالمي جديد، والوقت الذي تستهلكه المفاوضات ليس وقتاً ضائعاً، بل هو التعبير عن السياق اللازم لترسيم التوازنات التي ستنتج منها هذه التحولات.

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فيينا تدخل المناطق الحرجة

 ناصر قنديل

يبدو التصعيد السياسي الأميركي حول أوكرانيا وتايوان، ومعه تحضيرات قمة الديمقراطية في واشنطن، منصات للالهاء والاشغال للقوتين العظميين المناوئتين للهيمنة الأميركية، وقد بلغتا مرحة تشكيل خطر وجودي على الزعامة الأميركية خلال عقدي المواجهة المفتوحة في حرب الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم منذ سقوط جدار برلين عام 1990، وليست مجرد صدفة حدوث هذا الالهاء وتلك المشاغلة بالتزامن مع بدء محادثات فيينا حول الملف النووي الإيراني، فواشنطن التي تكذب على العالم كله لا تكذب على نفسها، فهي تعلم أن المعركة مع إيران، من الباب النووي بعد إقفال إيران لسائر الأبواب، تختصر معارك السيطرة على آسيا ورسم توازناتها بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، وبعد حروب السيطرة الفاشلة في العراق وسورية ولبنان واليمن، ونهوض قوى المقاومة التي تشكل إيران قلعتها الاستراتيجية، لأنها ترسم صورة توازنات قلب آسيا الذي تقف روسيا والصين على طرفيه، وتضعان رصيدهما كله لدخول هذا القلب.

سرت واشنطن أهم أسلحتها وأوراقها التفاوضية، وكشفت اختلال ميزان القوى لصالح إيران، عندما قبلت التفاوض على الملف النووي من دون الدخول في ملفين سياسيين ترتبط بهما موازين القوى التي تحدد التوازنات وترسم المعادلات في المنطقة، وهما سلاح الصواريخ الإيراني، ودعم حركات المقاومة، وكشفت أن مسعاها التفاوضي يرمي لتهدئة التصعيد وتبريد الجبهات، بترسيم حدود الخسائر، عبر الاعتراف بإيران نووية، وقبول عودتها للمتاجرة والتعاملات المصرفية، وسلمت بفشل سياسة العقوبات في ترويضها، بعدما أعلنت الفشل استراتيجي للحروب بانسحابها من أفغانستان، وسقف تطلعاتها صار وقف التصعيد، بما يعنيه ذلك من دعوة حلفائها لتقبل خسائر مشابهة لخسارتها في أفغانستان، فتنسحب السعودية من اليمن، وتتجه «إسرائيل» نحو قبول تنازلات لتبريد جبهاتها الشمالية والجنوبية، وتتوج أميركا ذلك بانسحابها من العراق وسورية، وأن سقف المفاوضات النووية يهدف للحصول على شروط تضعف مقدرات البرنامج النووي الإيراني بالقياس لما بلغه من تقدم.

في الأيام الماضية حملت الأخبار الآتية من مصادر أوروبية، ما يوحي بفرضية فشل المفاوضات، وظهر أن المناخ الأوروبي يعبر عن جزء من الضغط الإعلامي والسياسي الذي تظهر عبره أوروبا تبعيتها العمياء لأميركا، وانضباطها خلفها بعدما شعرت بالخطر من التصعيد الأميركي حول أوكرانيا، لكن ما برز أمس من معطيات يؤكد أن ورقتي العمل الإيرانيتين اللتين وصفهما الأوروبيون بالمخيبتين للآمال، تشكلان أساس التفاوض القائم، وأن تقدماً جدياً يتم تحقيقه، وأن لجنة ثالثة لدمج الورقتين قد تشكلت، وأن المبعوث الأميركي الخاص بالملف النووي الإيراني روبرت مالي سيشارك في المفاوضات غير المباشرة ويدير الفريق الأميركي فيها، وهذه كلها علامات على بلوغ التفاوض مرحلة متقدمة جداً، يقترب فيها من التوصل لتفاهم، وجاء الكلام الإسرائيلي عن الخيار العسكري ليضيف مؤشراً جديداً لتقدم المسار التفاوضي، وكلما سمعنا مزيداً من الصراخ الإسرائيلي يجب أن ندرك أن المفاوضات تتقدم بجدية.

قوة إيران التفاوضية تأتي من مصدرين، الأول أنها بخلاف أميركا تملك بديلاً للتفاوض، هو المضي قدماً ببرنامجها النووي حتى  لحظة القلق الأميركي من عتبة امتلاك السلاح النووي، والمضي قدماً في مشاريع التحرر الإقتصادي من مفاعيل العقوبات، وبالتوازي الاستناد إلى ميزان قوى عسكري في المنطقة لها ولحلفائها اليد العليا فيه، ومشكلة واشنطن التفاوضية أنها تدرك بأن لا بدائل لديها، وأنها لحظة إعلانها الخروج من المفاوضات من دون نتيجة ستفتح المنطقة على أحداث كبرى ستكون فيها ومعها الحليفين الخليجي والإسرائيلي في موقع الخسارة.

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Iran’s FM: We Are All in Vienna to Reach a Good Agreement

 December 10, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined the Islamic Republic’s resolve to reach a “good agreement” through the ongoing talks in Vienna, which aim to remove US sanctions, saying the Western sides to the Iran nuclear agreement have talked the talk in recent years but it is high time they walk the walk as well to secure a serious, good deal.

“We are all in Vienna to negotiate to reach a good agreement,” Amir Abdollahian wrote in a post on his Instagram page on Thursday night, hours after a new round of talks kicked off in the Austrian capital between Iran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal.

“The Western parties need to know that in the last eight years, enough words and empty promises have been uttered, but today, it is time to act,” he also noted.

Since April, Vienna has been hosting negotiations on a revival of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], which would require the US to remove its anti-Iran sanctions three years after Washington walked out of the JCPOA and slapped the bans on Iran to kill the deal.

Almost eleven months after Joe Biden was sworn in as president, the US still refuses to remove the sanctions, despite Biden’s pledge to undo the Iran policy of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and end his “failed maximum pressure” campaign.

Although the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and its sanctions, coupled with the three European parties’ submission to Washington’s illegal moves, prompted Iran to legally reduce its nuclear undertakings, the four countries have upped the ante in the talks, shifting the blame on Iran and voicing concerns over its nuclear measures.

Rejecting those concerns, Amir Abdollahian stressed that Iran’s nuclear program is completely peaceful, but added that there is a direct link between the removal of US sanctions and Iran’s decision to assuage the concerns.

“Although we doubt whether the Western side is ready to remove the sanctions or it only seeks to unilaterally ease its own concerns, we will certainly see quick progress in the talks if the Western side attends the negotiations with goodwill, initiatives, and constructive ideas,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

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The US Should Concede to Its Diminishing Role in the Region As Iran Will Not Accept Compromise

Nov 5, 2021

By Mohammad Youssef

Beirut – The world scene seems very confusing, a lot of tension and strain stretching and extending across the continents, nonetheless, there are doorways that can lead to temporary solutions or compromises in the worst case scenario.

  • The escalating tension between Russia and the western world over Ukraine, and the western military measures there
  • The western-eastern tension between China and the western world over Taiwan
  • The continuous strain in world politics over the Iranian nuclear file, and Vienna negotiations taking place without any hope looming about a longstanding agreement that could be finalized.

This file is preoccupying the world because of its repercussions and ramifications that could translate all over.

Washington has dragged itself and the whole Western governments into a tough place when it unilaterally and without any reasonable justification withdrew from the agreement with Tehran.

Iran proved credibility and has delivered over the agreement with all its articles and subdivisions.

Contrary to this, the US did not respect its commitments nor delivered its share of conditions in the agreement.

It is Tehran’s right to ask for more guarantees from the world society involved in the negotiations to make sure Washington would not dare to breach its commitments again.

One of the issues at stake during the current negotiations is that Tehran wants a direct and complete lift of American and Western sanctions, meanwhile Washington continues the procrastination policy.

Washington, furthermore, is attempting to add new files to the negotiating table, especially those in link to Tehran’s role in the region, more particularly, those in relation with advancing its rockets arsenal and supporting the resistance movements.

Iran continued to insist in limiting the negotiations to the same issues discussed before without adding any extra point.

What are the anticipated results for the ongoing Vienna negotiations?

It seems clearly that the Americans are not in anyway in a position to hand the Iranians guarantees that former US president Donald Trump’s scenario of pulling out of any reached  agreement would not be repeated again. So, the most probable outcome is to reach a temporary agreement that would generally ease the tensions in the region, especially in Iraq and allow for mutual intersection points that would secure a level of stability over different issues.

For its part, Tehran that has never aimed  anytime to have a nuclear weapon, has given and is ready to give necessary assurances to this effect, but will never accept to compromise its full sovereign position vis-a-vis other issues that boils down to its basic interests and principles.

Washington, who day and night preaches about real politics and pragmatism, should accept its dwindling position and diminishing role in the region and the world. 

This entails a different approach that renders the US accept to abandon its arrogant policy, and strike a settlement that would necessarily recognize the vital interests and role of Iran in its surrounding region. This is the most likely scenario; otherwise, we would be entering another vicious cycle of escalation!

“إسرائيل” ومفاوضات فيينا: المؤسسة الأمنية تأمل اتفاقاً سريعاً للحد من الأضرار

الاربعاء 1 كانون الأول 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

في موازاة استمرار جلسات التفاوض بين إيران والقوى الكبرى في فيينا، يواكب الباحثون والخبراء الإسرائيليون سير المفاوضات، وقدّموا قراءتهم الاستراتيجية للمعضلة النووية التي وصفها الباحث الإسرائيلي أوري غولدبرغ بالقول إن “إسرائيل تفرفر كدجاجة مذبوحة”.

المؤسّسة الأمنية الإسرائيلية: إيران تهرول نحو القنبلة

بقي موضوع استئناف المفاوضات النووية بين إيران والقوى الكُبرى في فيينا متصدراً المشهد الإسرائيلي العام، على أكثر من مستوى. وفي موازاة استمرار القلق الإسرائيلي من المفاوضات النووية، صدرت تقديرات وقراءات منقولة عن  المؤسّسة الأمنية والعسكرية الإسرائيلية، لفتت فيها إلى مُخالفتها لتوجهات المستوى السياسيّ بخصوص احتمال التوصّل إلى اتفاق مع إيران. وفي الموازاة، واصل الخبراء الإسرائيليون مهمة تقديم مقارباتهم لراهن ومآلات التهديد النووي الإيراني وتشعّباته.

المؤسّسة الأمنية الإسرائيلية: إيران تهرول نحو القنبلة

اهتمام المستوى الأمني-المهني باستئناف المفاوضات النووية بين إيران والقوى الكبرى في فيينا تجلّى في تقديرات وقراءات صادرة عن المؤسّسة الأمنية عَبر معلقين إسرائيليين. حيث أشار معلّق الشؤون العسكرية في صحيفة معاريف، طال ليف رام، إلى أن التقدير في المستويات المهنية في إسرائيل هو أن “المحادثات لن تؤدي إلى توقيع سريع على اتفاق نووي متجدد”. ونقل “ليف رام” عن المؤسسة الأمنية والعسكرية تقديرها أن “لدى إيران مصلحة في تأخير العودة إلى إطار الاتفاق، واستغلال الوقت من أجل تحسين شروطها في المفاوضات، ومواصلة تخصيب يورانيوم إلى المستويات العالية”.

وبحسب “ليف رام” فإن العودة إلى إطار اتفاق جديد ممكنة فقط إذا قامت الدول الغربية بممارسة ضغط على طهران، خاصة في الجانب الدبلوماسي والاقتصادي، من خلال تشديد العقوبات على الدولة”. ويضيف “ليف رام” أن الاعتقاد السائد في “إسرائيل” هو أن “قراراً أميركياً برفع – ولو جزئي- للعقوبات، قبل التوقيع على اتفاق جديد، سيكون خطأ كبيراً سيستغله الإيرانيون لمصلحتهم”.

بدورها، كتبت مراسلة الشؤون العسكرية في صحيفة “إسرائيل هيوم”، ليلاخ شوفال، أنهم في المؤسسة الأمنية والعسكرية “يأملون أن يُوقّع الاتفاق مع الإيرانيين بأسرع ما يمكن، كي توقف إيران على الأقل هرولتها الحالية إلى النووي”، وأيضاً كي “يتمكّن الجيش الإسرائيلي من استكمال استعداداته لشن هجومٍ في إيران”.

وتضيف شوفال أنه على الرغم من “أن للجيش الإسرائيلي قدرة أوّلية على المهاجمة في إيران، إلا أن المؤسسة الأمنية والعسكرية تحتاج إلى وقت كي تصل إلى خطة عملانية مناسبة وأكثر نضوجاً” لتدمير المشروع النووي الإيراني.

“إسرائيل” تفرفر كدجاجة مذبوحة

في موازاة استمرار جلسات التفاوض بين إيران والقوى الكبرى في فيينا، واكب الباحثون والخبراء الإسرائيليون سير المفاوضات، وقدّموا قراءتهم الاستراتيجية للمعضلة النووية التي وصفها الباحث الإسرائيلي، أوري غولدبرغ، بالقول إن “إسرائيل تفرفر كدجاجة مذبوحة” مقابل المحادثات النووية، فيما تبدو إيران “كلاعب سياسي محترف” يسعى إلى “دمج الردع بالتأثير في عدّة ساحات”.

أما بشأن الخطر الماثل أمام “إسرائيل” على فرض امتلاك إيران للقنبلة النووية، فقد قدّمه رئيس مجلس الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي السابق، اللواء احتياط غيورا آيلاند، على شكل احتمالَيْن: 

الأول، وهو الأقل ترجيحاً، ولكن الأكثر خطورة -برأيه- ويتمثّل في أن تقرّر إيران (مسلّحة نووياً) قصف “إسرائيل” بسلاح نووي، وهذا قد يؤدي إلى نهاية “إسرائيل”. 

الثاني، هو تهديد إيران لـ”إسرائيل” تلميحاً باستخدام السلاح النووي، مثلاً في حال دخول “إسرائيل” في حربٍ مع حلفاء إيران في المنطقة، وقامت “إسرائيل” بأعمال عسكرية تدفع إيران إلى التهديد بالنووي، حينها لا يمكن لـ”إسرائيل” إلا أن تأخذ هذا التهديد على محمل الجدّ.  

بدوره، أكّد قائد شعبة العمليات في الجيش الإسرائيلي سابقاً، اللواء احتياط إسرائيل زيف، أنّ عملاً عسكرياً إسرائيلياً ضدّ النووي الإيراني هو مسألة وقت فقط، وأن على “إسرائيل” في هذه المرحلة التركيز على التنسيق مع الأميركيين لضمان وقوفهم إلى جانب “إسرائيل” في حال شنّت “إسرائيل” مثل هذا الهجوم.

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Raisi to Macron: Negotiations must End in Removal of Sanctions

Nov 30, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi assured his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that Tehran seeks a definitive result through the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital, emphasizing that Vienna negotiations must end in removal of sanctions imposed on Iran.

Raisi made the remarks in a Monday phone call initiated by Macron, which lasted for one and a half hours, during which the two sides discussed the current state of Vienna talks on removal of anti-Iran sanctions and other issues of mutual interest.

“Sanctions have failed to stymie Iran’s progress and today, the entire world knows who violated the JCPOA, and they must return to their commitments,” Iran’s president said, using an acronym for Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

He further stated: “The current conditions are the result of Americans and Europeans not fulfilling their commitments as per the JCPOA.”

Raisi added that those parties who violated the JCPOA must gain the opposite side’s trust so that negotiations could proceed in a real manner and bear fruit.

“If Americans remove sanctions and Europeans fulfill their commitments, you should have no concern about Iran fulfilling its commitments, because we have shown time and again and in practice that we abide by our obligations,” Iran’s president said.

In parallel, Raisi reiterated that “Iran seeks [a definitive] result in [Vienna] talks and negotiations must end in removal of sanctions.”

Iran’s president then told Macron that if they believe in the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] as an international authority, they should note that “the agency has frequently announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to its nuclear obligations.”

He added that during his recent visit to Iran, Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi said nothing about Iran not being in compliance with its obligations, adding, “We are now ready to continue full cooperation with the Agency.”

“Iran has always lived up to its nuclear commitments and the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Iran’s commitment [to its obligations] on many occasions,” Raisi said, adding that dispatching a comprehensive team to Vienna talks indicates Iran’s serious determination in those negotiations.

He also urged Macron to work with other participants in Vienna talks to secure removal of sanctions imposed on Iran.

Macron, for his part, condemned unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, saying that Paris considers the nuclear deal a common responsibility for its members.

Macron added that he has talked to US President Joe Biden and that Paris is bent on going on with the negotiations until a final result is reached.

The French president’s phone call came after the end of the first meeting of the seventh round of Vienna talks earlier the same day during which, according to Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Baqeri-Kani, all participants in the first meeting of the seventh round of talks have agreed that removing sanctions must be the main focus of negotiations.

Iran’s negotiator said all parties agreed that focus of the talks should be removal of sanctions imposed on Iran after the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

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Iran Seeks Full, Verifiable Removal of All Sanctions through Vienna Talks – Top Negotiator

Nov 29, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s top negotiator in the forthcoming talks in the Austrian capital on the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on the country Ali Baqeri-Kani said Tehran’s main goal is to secure a full and verifiable removal of all sanctions through the Vienna negotiations.

Baqeri-Kani’s remarks were made in an article published by the Financial Times on Sunday in which he slammed Western countries, especially the United States, for using talks as a tool to restrict Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

“Western countries, in particular the US, work tirelessly to portray ‘negotiations’ as merely a process to restrict Iran’s legitimate and peaceful nuclear program, which is enshrined in international treaties and watched by oversight organizations,” he said.

The Iranian negotiator then emphasized that the Islamic Republic, however, seeks to achieve two goals through engaging in Vienna talks.

“In this vein, we have two goals: the first is to gain a full, guaranteed and verifiable removal of the sanctions that have been imposed on the Iranian people. Without this, the process will continue indefinitely,” Baqeri-Kani said.

He then noted that Iran’s second goal is “to facilitate the legal rights of the Iranian nation to benefit from peaceful nuclear knowledge, especially the all-important enrichment technology for industrial purposes, according to the terms of the international Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT].”

Baqeri-Kani left Tehran for Vienna on Saturday to attend the seventh round of talks that are intended to bring the US back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

A return to the JCPOA would mean Washington needs to remove its unlawful sanctions on Tehran, three years after the US left the 2015 accord and unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign on the Islamic Republic.

The US withdrawal came while the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] had issued 15 consecutive reports certifying Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA.

The Islamic Republic’s unwavering position on the verifiable removal of US sanctions, observers say, stems from the fact that the US started to impose new rounds of sanctions on Iran merely a day after the JCPOA’s implementation date.

It also took the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] seven months to grant Airbus and Boeing partial permission to sell planes to Iran. Even then, Iran received only three out of 117 Airbus passenger aircraft it ordered and none from Boeing.

The significant noncompliance of the other parties, in particular the US, prompted Iran to invoke the “dispute resolution mechanism” several times both before and after the US withdrawal from the nuclear pact.

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No Direct Talks with Americans in Vienna: Iranian Spokesman

November, 29, 2021

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran is not going to hold any bilateral negotiations with the US in the forthcoming round of talks in Austria on the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

In comments at a press conference in Tehran on Monday, Khatibzadeh dismissed any plan for direct talks between the Iranian and American delegations in Vienna.

He also reminded the US that only with a genuine intention to lift the sanctions can it rejoin the nuclear deal, otherwise it will have to stay away from the JCPOA negotiating table.

“The Americans have wasted our time in six rounds of negotiations to keep the failed legacy of Trump,” the spokesperson added, recommending that the US seize the opportunity as the Iranian administration is entering the talks with goodwill and true resolve to see results.

“Such a window of opportunity will not remain open forever,” he added.

The US is advised to attend the Vienna talks with the purpose of removing the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran since 2015, specifically the sanctions with labels totally unacceptable to Iran, he noted.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 between Iran and the Group 5+1 and endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

However, then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iranian sanctions that had been lifted by the deal.

As the remaining European parties have failed to fulfill their commitments to the accord and compensate for Washington’s absence, Iran moved in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments.

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after the US administration of Joe Biden voiced a willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, to examine the prospect of the bans’ fresh removal.

Vienna is now hosting the first round of JCPOA negotiations after the new Iranian administration took office in August.

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Iran FM: Contradictory US Behavior Presents Major Obstacle in Vienna Talks

Nov, 24, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian says the United States claims it is willing to return to the 2015 nuclear deal but simultaneously expands sanctions, warning that Washington’s “contradictory behavior” presents one of the obstacles in the Vienna talks aimed at putting the accord back on track.

In a telephone conversation with his Swiss counterpart, Ignazio Cassis, on Tuesday, Amir Abdollahian said Iran was “ready and serious to reach a good and immediate agreement” in the talks that would start in Vienna, Austria on November 29, “but at the same time it is distrustful of US behavior.”

“On the one hand, the US pretends to be interested in returning to the JCPOA, but on the other, it has imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies in two stages over the past few weeks. America’s contradictory behavior is one of the main obstacles to the negotiations,” he added, referring to nuclear deal by the acronym of its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The top Iranian diplomat also emphasized that the Islamic Republic would judge the US based on its behavior.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on November 29.

The negotiations were paused in June, when Iran held a presidential election. Since then, the new Iranian administration has been reviewing the details of the six rounds of talks held under the previous administration.

Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.

The US administration of President Joe Biden has said it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure.

Tehran insists that all sanctions must first be removed in a verifiable manner before it reverses its remedial measures.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian said that Tehran-Bern relations were on the right track and that a recent visit by Switzerland’s President of the National Council Andreas Aebi to Iran marked a turning point in bilateral parliamentary ties.

Referring to the efforts underway to resolve problems on the way of the activities of Swiss companies in Iran, he stressed the need to boost relations between the two countries in various sectors, including science, education, agriculture, transportation, health and banking.

The Swiss foreign minister, for his part, pointed to the importance of relations with Iran and explained the status of a trade channel between the two states.

The two chief diplomats also discussed the crisis in Afghanistan

Amir Abdollahian said Iran continued to encourage the ruling administration in Afghanistan to form an inclusive government, expressing concern over the humanitarian situation in the South Asian country amid the winter season.

His Swiss counterpart also announced his country’s readiness to cooperate in the transfer of aid to Afghanistan through Iran.

Bern agrees with Tehran on the need to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan, he said, praising Tehran for attempting to find a diplomatic solution to the Afghan crisis as well as hosting refugees.

Additionally on Tuesday, Amir Abdollahian met with Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA].

During the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister urged the UN nuclear watchdog to keep cooperating with the Islamic Republic within the framework of its technical duties and avoid taking political positions.

Grossi, for his part, said he stands ready to resolve the remaining technical issues between the IAEA and Iran with goodwill and close cooperation in the shortest possible time.

Lavrov: Russia to Advocate Removal of Sanctions on Iran in Next Round of Vienna Talks

Nov 13 2021

Lavrov: Russia to Advocate Removal of Sanctions on Iran in Next Round of Vienna Talks

By Staff, Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow will advocate the lifting of sanctions on Iran and the full implementation of a nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] – between Iran and a number of other countries in the upcoming talks slated to start in the Austrian capital Vienna at the end of this month.

The JCPOA was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] – namely Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France – plus Germany in 2015.

Former American president Donald Trump, however, unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the historic deal had lifted. He also unleashed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his so-called “maximum pressure” campaign, which practically deprived the country of all of the deal’s economic benefits.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have since April held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after the US administration of Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, although Washington has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining the sanctions as a tool of pressure.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on November 29.

“We will advocate that the agreements that were concluded within the framework of this document in 2015 be resumed in full. Of course, this implies the return of the United States to fulfill its obligations, including the lifting of all sanctions introduced in the context of the JCPOA,” Lavrov said on Friday.

The Russian foreign minister also said that the JCPOA had been among the topics discussed in Paris in the “2+2” format between Russian and French defense and foreign ministers. “Here, we have prospects for more constructive cooperation,” Lavrov added.

In recent weeks, there has been mounting pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table. The administration of Ebrahim Raisi has announced on several occasions that it will resume the talks only to remove all of the illegal US sanctions and that it will not take part in negotiations for the sake of negotiations.

Apart from breaching the JCPOA, the US’s departure and its re-introduction of the sanctions are in violation of UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorses the nuclear agreement.

Iran FM: “Good Agreement In Short Time” Possible If Parties to Vienna Talks Serious

Nov 13 2021

Iran FM: “Good Agreement In Short Time” Possible If Parties to Vienna Talks Serious

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian says Tehran and the remaining parties to the landmark nuclear deal of 2015 can reach a “good agreement in a short time” only in case of a “serious and positive” approach to the upcoming talks slated to start in the Austrian capital of Vienna at the end of this month.

“The Islamic Republic has no intention to be locked in the stalemate remaining from the previous negotiations…I believe that if the opposite sides enter in the Vienna [talks] with a serious and positive approach, it will be possible to achieve a good agreement in a short time,” Amir Abdollahian said in a post on Instagram on Friday.

The top Iranian diplomat said it was necessary to once again outline Iran’s stance and views about the sanctions-removal talks in Vienna as the date of the negotiations has been finalized. He noted that he held “detailed and separate” phone talks with the foreign ministers of the P4+1 group of countries – China, Russia, Britain, Germany and France – last week and emphasized that the Islamic Republic would pursue a result-oriented approach to the talks and is “determined to achieve a ‘good agreement’”.

Amir Abdollahian emphasized that achieving a good agreement calls for the “effective and verifiable removal of sanctions and the return of the opposite sides to their full obligations” as per the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

He said Washington’s behavior, including in imposing new sanctions against Iran, has made the provision of its “objective guarantees” an unavoidable necessity.

The foreign minister noted that his deputy and the country’s chief negotiator, Ali Baqeri Kani, held “explicit and useful” talks in European capitals this week.

Recently, Baqeri Kani traveled to France, Germany and Britain. In Paris, he held a meeting with Philippe Errera, the ‎director general for political and security affairs at France’s Foreign Ministry. Iran’s chief negotiator on Friday held talks in the Spanish capital of Madrid with EU deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora, who chairs the JCPOA Joint Commission on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell.

Amir Abdollahian further said, “As I have repeatedly emphasized, the administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue the policy on the expansion of balanced ties with countries based on mutual respect and common interests with seriousness and is determined not to tie the improvement of bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation to the issue of the JCPOA.”

The JCPOA was unilaterally abandoned by the US in 2018 despite Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear undertakings, as repeatedly certified by the UN nuclear agency. The US then unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, which practically deprived the country of all of the deal’s economic benefits.

Iran fully honored its nuclear obligations for an entire year, after which it decided to ramp up its nuclear work as a legal “remedial measure” against the US violation of the deal and the abject failure on the part of the other signatories, the E3 in particular, to safeguard its benefits.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on November 29. The negotiations were paused in June, when Iran held its presidential election. Since then, the new Iranian administration has been reviewing the details of the six rounds of discussions held under the previous administration.

The US administration of Joe Biden has said it is willing to compensate for former President Donald Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure. Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before it reverses its remedial measures.

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العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي… بلا شروط

 ناصر قنديل

  رغم الكلام الفارغ الصادر عن المسؤولين الأميركيين، تحت عنوان أنّ واشنطن لن تواصل التفاوض حول الملف النووي الإيراني إلى ما لا نهاية، وعن خيار التخلي عن الاتفاق النووي، أو عن وجود بدائل للعودة إلى الاتفاق، يعرف كل مسؤول في واشنطن وتل أبيب والرياض وباريس ولندن وبرلين أن ليس في جعبتهم شيء غير العودة إلى الاتفاق، وأنّ كلّ الطلبات الإضافية كأثمان للعودة، سواء في الملفات الإقليمية أو ملف الصواريخ أو إبقاء بعض العقوبات، سيعني عدم العودة، كما يعرفون أنه عندما تقول إيران إنها لن تواصل التفاوض إلى ما لا نهاية وإن لديها بدائل للاتفاق، فيجب أن يأخذوا كلامها على محمل الجد، ذلك أن الزمن يفعل لصالح إيران، وفقاً لما يقوله الأميركيون والإسرائيليون وما قاله بالأمس مدير عام الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، عن أنّ إيران تستثمر الوقت لمراكمة المزيد من اليورانيوم المخصّب بنسب عالية يجعلها أقرب لما يسمّونه بالحظة النووية الحرجة، وهي لحظة امتلاك ما يكفي لإنتاج قنبلة نووية.

بالتوازي لا يملك الأميركيون والأوروبيون سوى إغواء رفع العقوبات لتحفيز إيران لقبول العودة، والالتزام بموجباتها المنصوص عليها في الاتفاق، خصوصاً أن إيران التزمت منفردة لسنتين بالاتفاق في ظل الانسحاب الأميركي بلا سبب أو مبرّر كما يقول جميع الشركاء الآخرين بمن فيهم الأوروبيون ووكالة الطاقة الذرية والأمم المتحدة عدا عن الصين وروسيا، والعودة عن العقوبات اليوم هي إعلان العودة إلى الاتفاق من الجانب الأميركي لامتلاك مشروعية مطالبة إيران بالعودة المماثلة، ووفقاً لما يقوله الأميركيون و»الإسرائيليون» أيضاً فإنّ رفع العقوبات عن إيران لم يعد يملك ذات السحر الذي كان يملكه قبل ست سنوات يوم توقيع الاتفاق في مثل هذه الأيام، حيث كانت العقوبات صادرة عن الأمم المتحدة، وهذا قد سقط إلى غير رجعة، وفتح أمام إيران الطريق لحلول اقتصادية ومالية عديدة، لم تنجح العقوبات الأميركية بتعطيلها، فالمتاجرة بين إيران وروسيا والصين وتركيا وباكستان واليابان وكوريا الجنوبية والعراق  وسواها من الدول، بقيت تجد بدائل لها تتفادى العقوبات الأميركية، فيما نجحت إيران بتطوير صناعات نفطية أضعفت حاجتها لتصدير النفط الخام، كما نجحت بتطوير اقتصادها لتفادي حجم الاقتصاد الاستهلاكي والريعي لحساب الإنتاج.

عندما تقول واشنطن إنها تستعجل العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي تسهيلاً للتفرغ لمواجهة الصين، فهل تنتظر من الصين أن تقف مكتوفة الأيدي، وهي تعلم وتقول إنها تعلم، أن الاتفاق الاستراتيجي الاقتصادي بين الصين وإيران أفقد العقوبات الأميركية فعاليتها، وأسقط قيمة العودة للاتفاق النووي بالنسبة لإيران، وجعل عائداته مجرد مكاسب إضافية لا يجوز إضاعتها، لكنها لا تستحق القتال من أجلها، فيما تعرف واشنطن أن الضفة الدولية الموازية للاهتمام الأميركي بالمواجهة التي تمثلها موسكو باتت شريكاً استراتيجياً لطهران في العديد من السياسات الإقليمية، التي تجعل الحفاظ على إيران قوية موضع اهتمام صيني- روسي، لا يمكن للأميركي تبديله لا بالإغراءات ولا بالتهديدات لكل من الصين وروسيا.

الكلام الأميركي عن بدائل يعني شيئاً واحداً هو العودة إلى خطة الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب التي صعد الرئيس جو بايدن على قاعدة القول بأنها خطأ جسيم، وأنه في ظلها طوّرت إيران نظام الصواريخ وطوّرت قوى المقاومة مزيداً من الحضور، وتمّ اختصار المسافة عن اللحظة النووية الحرجة من سنة إلى بضعة أسابيع كما قال كل من وزير الخارجية الأميركية أنتوني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي جايك سوليفان والمبعوث الأميركي الخاص روبرت مالي مراراً، أما الرهان على الخيار العسكري، فهل من عاقل يتخيّل أنّ أحداً يأخذه على محمل الجد في ضوء المشهد الأفغاني، والتلويح بالاعتماد على ضربات «إسرائيلية» يبدو مجرد مزحة سمجة في ضوء الكلام «الإسرائيلي» والمؤيد أميركياً بأن إيران وقوى المقاومة في وضع تفوّق استراتيجي، وفائض قوة يتيح تحويل أي تحرش «إسرائيلي» جدي إلى مبرر لمواجهة شاملة لن تكون نهايتها في صالح «إسرائيل».

مرة أخرى كما كانت الحال عليه قبل ست سنوات، لا بديل للاتفاق مع إيران إلا الاتفاق مع إيران، ومضمون الاتفاق عودة غير مشروطة عن العقوبات، على قاعدة الالتزام المتبادل بالاتفاق الأصلي من دون الرهان على متغيرات وتحوّلات، هي في غير صالح الثنائي الأميركي «الإسرائيلي».

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Was the Tanker Attack an Israeli False Flag?

AUGUST 10, 202121

An incident that could lead to a much bigger war

PHILIP GIRALDI 

Source: The Unz Review

In the United States we now live under a government that largely operates in secret, headed by an executive that ignores the constitutional separation of powers and backed by a legislature that is more interested in social engineering than in benefitting the American people. The US, together with its best friend and faux ally Israel, has become the ultimate rogue nation, asserting its right to attack anyone at any time who refuses to recognize Washington’s leadership. America is a country in decline, its influence having been eroded by a string of foreign policy and military disasters starting with Vietnam and more recently including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. As a result, respect for the United States has plummeted most particularly over the past twenty years since the War on Terror was declared and the country has become a debtor nation as it prints money to sustain a pointless policy of global hegemony which no one else either desires or respects.

It has been argued in some circles that the hopelessly ignorant Donald Trump and the dementia plagued Joe Biden have done one positive thing, and that has been to keep us out of an actual shooting war with anyone able to retaliate in kind, which means in practice Russia and possibly China. Even if that were so, one might question a clumsy foreign policy devoid of any genuine national interest that is a train wreck waiting to happen. It has no off switch and has pushed America’s two principal rivals into becoming willy-nilly de facto enemies, something which neither Moscow nor Beijing wished to see develop.

Contrary to the claims that Trump and Biden are war-shy, both men have in fact committed war crimes by carrying out attacks on targets in both Syria and Iraq, to include the assassination of senior Iranian general Qasim Soleimani in January 2020. Though it was claimed at the time that the attacks were retaliatory, evidence supporting that view was either non-existent or deliberately fabricated.

Part of the problem for Washington is that the US had inextricably tied itself to worthless so-called allies in the Middle East, most notably Israel and Saudi Arabia. The real danger is not that Joe Biden or Kamala Harris will do something really stupid but rather that Riyadh or Jerusalem will get involved in something over their heads and demand, as “allies,” that they be bailed out by Uncle Sam. Biden will be unable to resist, particularly if it is the Israel Lobby that is doing the pushing.

Perhaps one of the more interesting news plus analysis articles along those lines that I have read in a while appeared last week in the Business Insider, written by one Mitchell Plitnick, who is described as president of ReThinking Foreign Policy. The article bears the headline “Russia and Israel may be on a collision course in Syria” and it argues that Russia’s commitment to Syria and Israel’s interest in actively deterring Iran and its proxies are irreconcilable, with the US ending up in an extremely difficult position which could easily lead to its involvement in what could become a new shooting war. The White House would have to tread very carefully as it would likely want to avoid sending the wrong signals either to Moscow or Jerusalem, but that realization may be beyond the thinking of the warhawks on the National Security Council.

To place the Plitnick article in its current context of rumors of wars, one might cite yet another piece in Business Insider about the July 30th explosive drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the northern Indian Ocean, which killed two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian. The bombing was immediately attributed to Iran by both Israel and Washington, though the only proof presented was that the fragments of the drone appeared to demonstrate that it was Iranian made, which means little as the device is available to and used by various players throughout the Middle East and in central Asia.

The tanker in question was the MT Mercer Street, sailing under a Liberian flag but Japanese-owned and managed by Zodiac Maritime, an international ship management company headquartered in London and owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer. It was empty, sailing to pick up a cargo, and had a mixed international crew. Inevitably, initial media reporting depended on analysis by the US and Israel, which saw the attack as a warning or retaliatory strike executed or ordered by the newly elected government currently assuming control in Tehran.

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who could not possibly have known who carried out the attack, was not shy about expressing his “authoritative” viewpoint, asserting that “We are confident that Iran conducted this attack. We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming.”

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) also all too quickly pointed to Iran, stating that “The use of Iranian designed and produced one way attack ‘kamikaze’ UAVs is a growing trend in the region. They are actively used by Iran and their proxies against coalition forces in the region, to include targets in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.”

Tehran denied that it had carried out the attack but the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was not accepting that and threatened to attack Iran, saying predictably that “We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran. The world needs to take action against Iran now… Now is the time for deeds — words are not enough. … It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds. Otherwise the attacks will continue.” Gantz also confirmed that “Israel is ready to attack Iran, yes…”

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also made the same demand, saying Israel could “…act alone. They can’t sit calmly in Tehran while igniting the entire Middle East — that’s over. We are working to enlist the whole world, but when the time comes, we know how to act alone.” If the level of verbal vituperation coming out of Israel is anything to go by, an attack on Iran would appear to be imminent.

After the attack on the MT Mercer Street, there soon followed the panicked account the panicked account of an alleged hijacking of a second tanker by personnel initially reported to be wearing “Iranian military uniforms.” The “…hijacking incident in international waters in the Gulf of Oman” ended peacefully however. The US State Department subsequently reported that “We can confirm that personnel have left the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess… We believe that these personnel were Iranian, but we’re not in a position to confirm this at this time.”

So, the United States government does not actually know who did what to whom but is evidently willing to indict Iran and look the other way if Israel should choose to start a war. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan is right to compare the drone attack on the Mercer Street to the alleged Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which was deliberately distorted by the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and used to justify rapid escalation of US involvement in the Vietnam War. Buchanan observes that it is by no means clear that Iran was behind the Mercer Street attack and there are a number of good reasons to doubt it, including Iranian hopes to have sanctions against its economy lifted which will require best behavior. Also, Iran would have known that it would be blamed for such an incident in any event, so why should it risk going to war with Israel and the US, a war that it knows it cannot win?

Buchanan observes that whoever attacked the tanker wants war and also to derail any negotiations to de-sanction Iran, but he stops short of suggesting who that might be. The answer is of course Israel, engaging in a false flag operation employing an Iranian produced drone. And I would add to Buchanan’s comments that there is in any event a terrible stink of hypocrisy over the threat of war to avenge the tanker incident. Israel has attacked Iranian ships in the past and has been regularly bombing Syria in often successful attempts to kill Iranians who are, by the way, in the country at the invitation of its legitimate government. Zionist Joe Biden has yet to condemn those war crimes, nor has the suddenly aroused Tony Blinken. And Joe, who surely knows that neither Syria nor Iran threatens the United States, also continues to keep American troops in Syria, occupying a large part of the country, which directly confront the Kremlin’s forces. Israel wants a war that will inevitably involve the United States and maybe also Russia to some degree as collateral damage. Will it get that or will Biden have the courage to say “No!”

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

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