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Salem Alketbi

The Iranian “nuclear deal” in the crosshairs

السبت - 13 فبراير 2021

Sat - 13 Feb 2021

It is not surprising that the Iranian nuclear file has become one of the most important concerns of the new US administration since President Joe Biden assumed office on January 20, as he considers that the regional crisis related to this file represents the most dangerous source of threat to security and stability in the Middle East. Opinions diverged on ways to deal with this danger, especially with regard to the US position on the nuclear agreement signed between the Iranian mullahs' regime and the “5 + 1” group in 2015.

Through my careful follow-up of global events and developments in their strategic dimension, I can say without equivocation that last week was the week of the Iranian nuclear deal par excellence. Opinions, reactions and interactions converged on this issue at a very rapid pace, and in this context several observations can be monitored, the most important of which is that the Biden administration - as I expected in previous articles - will not give the mullahs a blank document to return to the nuclear agreement, but rather this return will not be easy or free at all, as many imagined.

What happens is the exact opposite, as President Biden's administration sets one condition after another before making this vital decision, in a negotiating tactic aimed at gaining time and exhausting the mullahs, who are good at exhausting their opponents, but President Biden's team is supposed to have acquired sufficient experience to deal with the mentality of the Iranian negotiator, and this is evident in the conditions set by Washington, which achieve goals that are not limited to the two previous goals, but rather achieve other important ones such as providing the appropriate time for the new administration to deal with internal and external priorities that are no less urgent, and perhaps superior, and coordinate well with the United States' European allies and the East to achieve a compromise, in addition to waiting until the end of the Iranian presidential elections scheduled for the middle of this year, and negotiating with a new Iranian president, in the belief that he will be open to achieving a political victory that opens his years of presidency, especially since all the evidence confirms that President Hassan Rouhani is now inclined to Militancy in recent times, refusing to make any concessions in order to revive the nuclear deal and provide the conditions for the planned American return to it.

Certainly, signs of Rouhani's hardening are not surprising because he ends his second term in office within months, and he will not be welcome to make concessions that expose him to harsh criticism from his opponents, as well as to weaken his political influence and diminish his ability to persuade Supreme Leader Khamenei to provide him any room for maneuver in this regard, as It is believed that Khamenei tends to push a militant figure to contest the upcoming presidential elections in the hope of extracting greater concessions from the United States and the major powers, as part of the role-playing game that the Wali al-Faqih Foundation excels in running between those who are classified by the West as reformers and conservatives, whether in the presidency or other leadership positions in the mullahs' regime.

Against the previous background, many questions arise, such as: as long as the United States did not initiate a return to the nuclear agreement, what is the secret of the escalation of Israeli threats and the repeated hinting at striking Iranian nuclear facilities?

Here,several points can be pointed out, the first of which is that the American negotiating tactic could involve really serious caveats, such as the mullahs' continued violation of the terms of the nuclear agreement, especially with regard to uranium enrichment rates, up to the threshold of readiness to produce a nuclear weapon within a few months, a possibility indicated by many Israeli sources, and it is difficult to deny or exclude it in light of the absence of accurate and continuous monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency over Iran's nuclear activities, in addition to the mullahs' “assurance” of the Biden administration's intentions and the obstacles that prevent to assume that it will wage a sudden war against Iran makes the scenario likely to some extent.

The second of these points is that the mullahs may intend to accelerate the pace of their nuclear activities and establish a new strategic reality that will be taken into account when sitting at the negotiating table, whether the goal is to expand the framework of the existing nuclear agreement or search for an alternative negotiating framework, where at that time new gains and concessions can be extracted from the United States and the international community instead of the opposite goal, which is to curb the Iranian nuclear and military ambitions! More dangerous is that the mullahs ’arrival at record levels in uranium enrichment will double the strategic and operational obstacles to implementing the scenario of destroying the Iranian nuclear facilities, and may even make this idea completely excluded, and everyone will have to deal with the reality of a nuclear Iran, and this is the catastrophic scenario that everyone fears in the Region and the world.

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