Iranian expert explains why more pressure won’t work – strategic appeasement would have worked to meet US interests
The Iranian media is regularly carrying public concern over the increasing pain of sanctions. One key problem in the US-led approach is that Iran’s establishment has an incredibly high tolerance for pain. The smarter approach would have been one of strategic appeasement led by the US to address Iranian needs and concerns – early on and NOT on a one-for-one basis.
BUT ONE REASON WHY this approach would have worked far better that the current approach is that the US and its allies hold the vast balance of power vis a vis Iran. I argue that this power imbalance allows the US to take more risks in giving up carrots and addressing needs/grievances without getting equivalent returns in the near and medium term or in particularly tangeable terms. Sadly, the politics of it all does not allow for this kind of limited risk taking in IR – nor do the policy folks even agree in theory with this idea.
Here is one Iranian expert explaining the difference between now and when Khomeini “drank the poison” and accepted the peace with Iraq.
On July 3, IRNA reported: “So far, 36 rounds of talks have been held between Iran and the Western side on Iran’s nuclear program. There is no need to point out that clearly, while always making use of the tactic of talks for the sake of talks, the Western side is intent on imposing more pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran by adopting different types of sanctions and adopting the policy of killing time instead of speeding up the investigation of Iran’s nuclear file. In this connection, in an interview with Iran, Naser Nowbari, an expert in international affairs, believes that, in its talks with Iran, the Western side always adopts the tactic of killing time. Here, you can read our interview with Naser Nowbari:
“Question: What are the role and the position of Russia and China regarding this dispute? Are they content with the continuation of the present situation?
“Nowbari: Why not? Russia and China benefit from the continuation of the present situation. Of course, superficially and from a tactical point of view, they adopt a middle of the road position. The fact that America and the West as a whole cut off all their contacts and relations with an important, influential and rich country such as Iran on a voluntary basis is a surprise and an asset for Russia and China, which have always regarded the West as their rival in Iran.
“In fact, America and the West are making a strategic mistake. The attitude of the Iranians has shown that pressure will not force them to give up their basic rights. On the contrary, it makes them more determined, and ultimately it institutionalizes Iran’s alienation from the West and will turn it into a strategic decision.
“Question: How do you explain the issue of accepting the ceasefire with Iraq?
“Nowbari: You should not make the mistake, because at that time Iran had achieved all her fundamental rights in safeguarding her borders and repulsing the aggressor. Iran gave up only some of her goals that went beyond her constitution and accepted the ceasefire. However, if at that time the aggressor had remained inside our country, even an inch of our soil, we would have continued the war to the last person.
“Question: What are our basic and fundamental rights in this dispute?
“Nowbari: The fuel cycle and enrichment and, on the whole, the peaceful nuclear capability in the context of the NPT agreement. Our views regarding this issue are not merely about providing a source of energy. It is also about scientific and technological development of the country, and, if we give up this right, we have signed the document of the scientific and technological backwardness of the country forever, to such an extent that our children will even be deprived of studying nuclear physics in the universities. This is why we might make some compromises about enrichment at high percentages, but Iran will never give up the principle of having access to the technology of enrichment.
“We must turn the threats to opportunities, because for more than 50 years we Iranians have had the dream of having an economy without oil. This has even been one of the goals of our revolution, but no government has taken that goal seriously, and therefore that dream has not been fulfilled. If it had been fulfilled, today it would not have been possible to put these pressures on Iran. Therefore, with wise and unified management, the present circumstances could bring Iran a step closer to achieving that goal.”