Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Is There a Way Out of the Iran Crisis? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It appears that Tehran has decided to move forward with its nuclear file and escalation with the West, in line with the famous words of Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The proof is that last Monday, Tehran launched its new long-range missiles that are capable of striking Israel.

This means that matters have escalated. Therefore, our analysis of the upcoming days must be more comprehensive so that we do not ignore a crucial factor of this crisis i.e. Israel. Most analyses that we have looked at are focusing on the international position towards Iran, and the West’s options and they are forgetting the Israeli factor, which is the most important element.

Israel considers Iranian development of the nuclear file, or irresolute settlement between the West and Tehran, as a threat to its own security, as Israel takes every Iranian statement seriously, particularly the statements issued by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This is contrary to some of the Western states, or even some of the states in our region. Consequently, Israel quickly took action after the discovery of new nuclear facilities in Qom and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded the Americans and the West to take action against Iran now.

Similar to Israeli extremism, there is also the Iranian extremist position, which was expressed clearly by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, during a Friday sermon he delivered at the end of Ramadan, which passed unnoticed by many observers. Khamenei took an extreme and important position when he said, “We must stand firm for our rights. If we give up our rights, whether nuclear or otherwise, this will lead to decline.” The Supreme Leader added, “We will walk the path of decline if instead of using freedom for scientific and ethical progress, we use it to spread sin; instead of standing against arrogance, aggressors and international looters, we feel weak in front of them and retreat…”

The importance of this statement is that the Supreme leader ties the nuclear file to the safety and survival of the ruling regime in Tehran, as the legitimacy of the Iranian regime is now based on the success of the nuclear file, not on building the state and serving citizens. Some might believe that this Iranian extremism has come about so that Tehran would have a better chance in negotiations with the West. That might be true, but, as we have mentioned before, that is not the way Israel is thinking and this is what raises the level of danger of the situation.

The other issue that we must think about carefully is what the two sides, Iran or the West, will give up. What are the points of agreement between them? If Iran wants to surrender then what can it surrender as long as the Supreme Leader is tying the nuclear file to the safety and survival of the regime. To the West surrendering would mean accepting a nuclear Iran or giving Tehran a regional role at the expense of our states and regimes; this is completely rejected by the Arabs. In fact it might encourage nuclear ambitions among regional states and this is another Israeli fear because if a nuclear Iran is accepted [by the West] that would indicate the beginning of a nuclear arms race in our region. As a result, the region will be in danger as its security, economy and stability will be under threat. In fact the global economy and international security will be in danger and it will put the region at risk of devastating conflicts that would be incomparable to any of the catastrophes we have experienced so far.