In Munich, officials from several global superpowers met, and Iran was on the lunch menu. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister and Iran’s ally, defended the Islamic Republic and warned of a plan to attack it. He said that during Russia’s meetings with the Gulf states over the years they have searched for a possibility to hold a security conference incorporating the permanent UN Security Council members, the European Union, and perhaps the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He asserted that this proposal still stands. Lavrov was keen not only to take into consideration the needs of Gulf states, but also Iran’s legitimate interests, for Tehran fears for its own security and has twice been attacked without provocation, at least according to the Russian minister.
As for Germany, a key state in the Iran negotiations, its foreign minister supported the idea of resorting to dialogue again. Guido Westerwelle said: “2013 is the decisive year on Iran, especially for political reasons . . . Let us be very frank, we did not have progress in the last 12 months, so it is obvious that we have to use this year.” Westerwelle warned that Iran’s nuclear program would not only affect Israel’s security, as the US and Europe believe, but it would also affect the makeup of global and regional security. Last year the German foreign minister spoke of the race that would break out in the Middle East if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons.
US vice-president Joe Biden’s statements during the conference were well documented in the media. Yet perhaps what was most significant was what Biden did not say. The US vice president made no reference to the military option and did not threaten to use it. Instead, he retreated from previous US stances and spoke at length about the peaceful solution. He told the Munich security conference, “There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy backed by pressure to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran’s court . . . We have made it clear at the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership, we would not make it a secret that we were doing that, we would let our partners know if that occasion presented itself.” The Russian says we must trust and respect Iran; the German wants to resume dialogue without conditions, and the American has increased the incentives in the hope that the Iranians will stop their activities voluntarily.
We know Iran’s behavior since the beginning of the 1980s; it only retreats when it senses a serious threat against it. This is why Tehran never comes near Israel and why it was afraid of antagonizing former US president George W. Bush. Now, the Iranian leadership is interpreting the current US policy and realizes that America would not dare commit a military strike against it no matter what, even if it builds a nuclear weapon. Thus, Iran will continue working on its nuclear weapon and when it finishes the regional situation will become more complicated and Iranian threats will increase across the world.
Let us keep in mind that those ruling Iran are not politicians but rather a radical religious group that has wreaked havoc in the region for thirty years. When it becomes nuclear, it will be impossible to deter it.