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Washington and Tehran: Negotiating Over What? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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US Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have expressed their intention to engage in “unconditional negotiations” with Iran, should either of them attain the presidency. The question is: Negotiate over what?

Are the conflicts in the Middle East a result of a crisis in Washington-Tehran relations; or rather, does it revolve around Iran’s expansion ambitions and its interference in the internal affairs of Arab states for over 20 years?

Is the Washington-Tehran crisis a result of the absence of dialogue, or is it by reason of Iran’s aspirations to destabilize the region?

Iran occupies the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) islands in the Arabian Gulf, while Iran’s collaborators are tearing Beirut in half, while seeking to restore Syrian occupation over it, under Iranian guardianship. Meanwhile, Tehran occupies the heart of Iraq and its peripheries and is undertaking unbelievable actions through its men operating within the regime.

Tehran is the financial backbone of Hamas, which is responsible for dividing the Palestinian ranks. In fact; Iran now speaks on behalf of the Palestinian cause, a term which until recently Mr. Hashemi Rasfanjani was trying to incorporate into the Islamic Revolution lexicon with the intention of fuelling public opinion in Iran and steering it towards hostility with the US. Today, it is this same Arab Street card that the Iranians exploit to recruit suicide bombers and sympathizers.

Iran interferes in all the Arab world’s elections by pumping huge sums of money with the purpose of imposing a different reality than the existing one; the most prominent example of which is the Bahraini elections. The statements issued by the Iranian Supreme Guide’s advisor about Bahrain and the Gulf States should suffice to illustrate that point. Tehran has become addicted to planting its associates in the Arab world under numerous different pretexts.

Is that all? Of course not! Iran embraces some of Al Qaeda’s leadership and is disrupting relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However; over and above that, or rather more alarmingly, is that Iran is instigating and managing sectarian conflicts in the Arab world, which results in giving conflicts in the region a religious cover. This, in turn, has caused the region to drown in a sea of spilled blood.

Is this the end of the list? Of course not! Today, Iran seeks to acquire nuclear weapons, while preparing to wholly devour Iraq with the aid of one of its tools: Syria. This will grant Iran more power to dominate the region through its agents in Iraq and Syria so that it may have Persian and Iraqi oil. Is there anything worse than that?

The strange thing is that at a time when international efforts are being made to establish an international coalition against Iran’s pursuit for nuclear weapons, the Democrats are waving the carrot before Tehran. As such, Iran will surely interpret the message as an invitation to consolidate position on the ground and in the region until the Democrats reach power, after which it can negotiate with Washington from a position of power.

Presently, negotiating with Tehran and making a declaration like such now only serves to send the wrong message to the Iranian regime and indicates more prolonged crises in our region. Undoubtedly, this signals a future that warrants concern  in the case of the Democratic Party winning the race to the White House, armed with this political disorganization.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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