Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Groom Will Now Get to Know the Bride! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In football terminology, as soon as the Iranians scored a goal against the West with the help of Turkey and Brazil, Washington scored a surprising equalizer through its sanctions project. This did not shock the Iranians alone; it made the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan come back down [to reality] as he told US President Obama that [the agreement] with Tehran presented an “opportunity,” not a “solution.” At this point, the nuclear match between Iran and the West has gone into overtime especially after the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] announced that it received a letter from Iran about the Iranian-Turkish-Brazilian swap deal.

Therefore, the groom can now get to know his bride, as it will become clear whether or not the Tehran agreement can be implemented, especially as there are still signs that sanctions will be imposed on Iran with the Americans preparing legislation to penalize those exporting gasoline to Iran. This means there is still a major challenge ahead for all parties, as today, after receiving the Iranian reply, the IAEA must now reassure the world of Tehran’s intentions. Can the IAEA do that?

The issue is replete with difficulties and challenges; the IAEA must send inspectors to the Iranian nuclear sites to examine the exact amount of low-enriched uranium that Iran now has and to confirm that amount. If there is more than the stated amount then the agreement that was reached in Tehran between Iran, Turkey and Brazil will not be enough simply because it is based on swapping 1200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium with Turkey, and if it is proven that it exceeds the percentage [of enrichment] then the West will not accept the Tehran agreement. Above all, will the Iranians really cooperate with the IAEA and give it a chance to inspect the nuclear sites and examine Iran’s supply of uranium? Will Iran be transparent and how much time will it allocate for this task especially considering that Iran excels at wasting time and the US is speeding up the imposing of new sanctions on Tehran?

What’s odd here in this game of cat and mouse between the IAEA and Iran is that we are witnessing a different experience to what we saw between Saddam Hussein and the international community. Saddam was denying that he had biological weapons but at the same time he was trying to show that he did have them. According to what was revealed in some documents on meetings between Saddam and US inspectors, he was trying to delude the Iranians into thinking that he had biological weapons in order to intimidate them. Today, in the case of Iran, we are facing a different situation as the Iranian regime is trying to convince the world that it does not have the capability to attain a nuclear weapon and it does not have the desire to do so. In fact Iran issued fatwas on this matter but the lack of trust between Iran and the international community requires more than just a letter or an Iranian-Turkish-Brazilian agreement to patch things up. Perhaps this explains the Turkish Foreign Minister’s retreat from [expressing] agitation towards the West’s response to the Tehran agreement and his more just position as he took a more moderate stance.

Let us watch, as the game is complicated and full of deceit and political “dissimulation.”