Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The negotiations will come at our expense | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

The US Secretary of State recently announced that her country is ready to hold bilateral talks with Iran, with regards to its nuclear program, as long as Tehran “is ready to engage”. This current US willingness contradicts its previous rejection of the same issue on the eve of the presidential elections, so for what reasons does America want to negotiate now?

Hillary Clinton describes Iran as the most difficult issue she has dealt with as US Secretary of State, “because of the dangers that its behavior already poses and the geometrically greater danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose”. These words are true, but one of the most prominent reasons for Iran’s danger and difficulty is America’s laxity towards Tehran, especially during the current US President’s term in office. The US does not have to strike Iran militarily, but its laxity towards the mullahs in Tehran certainly cannot be described as pragmatic. Even if President Obama is taking into account the interests of his own country, for example, when handing Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter, this is still a grave political error. Likewise, pragmatism does not mean President Obama continuing with his outstretched hand policy towards Iran for four years, only to impose more sanctions on Tehran now. The problem with the current US administration is that the carpet merchants, i.e. the Iranians, understand full well that Washington is not trying to change what has already changed; rather it is seeking to coexist with the new status quo, even if this status quo is the result of a coup, as can be seen in Egypt now! The problem with the current US administration is that it has ignored the most important piece of political advice, namely the advice of former US President Theodore Roosevelt, who said: “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. This is what the Iranians understand, and of course something that the current US administration has failed to grasp.

Before we answer the question why does America want to negotiate now, we must consider what Reuters reported with regards to Hillary Clinton’s comments about America’s readiness to negotiate directly with Iran. Regarding direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, the news agency reported that one option could be “for each side to put more on the table – both in terms of demands and possible rewards – than in previous meetings in a bid to break the stalemate”! It is important to note the expression “demands and possible rewards” here because it is very accurate, and the most important demand and reward that Iran is seeking is to have a greater role in the region, at the expense of our security and interests. This is what President Ahmadinejad has expressed clearly in a number of statements, the latest of which came on his recent visit to New York, where he said that there are issues which the Iranians and Americans can cooperate on, referring to the security of the Arabian Gulf! Of course the Iranians have already talked about Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this is no secret, so Tehran is taking an active interest in the whole region in an attempt to strengthen its negotiation chances, while the concerned Arab states are preoccupied with a number of open fronts or with Iranian meddling! Thus, the simple answer to the above question is that Iran and the US will negotiate at our expense, i.e. at the expense of all those in the Middle East and of course the Gulf, and this, unfortunately, is decisively clear. This is the strategic Iranian goal; either to use a nuclear weapon to impose its influence or to use negotiations as a means to extend that influence, while America’s behavior in this regard is lax. The Americans only care about the security of Israel and want to move forward with the least possible losses, but this is a short-sighted viewpoint that the US will pay the price for sooner or later. So are the Arabs, particularly those in the Gulf, paying attention to this?