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Washington and Tehran: The Sniper and the Window? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What is the general mood in Washington regarding Iran and several other related issues? I will tell you what I have heard. There is a general astonishment regarding Teheran’s current position and an insistence that its nuclear aspirations are not fulfilled.

Negligence means success for Ahmadinejad who many in Washington consider extremely intelligent, as he has chosen aggression against the United States and Israel in order to win over his people, his army, and the centers of power in Tehran. Ahmadinejad’s victory has delivered a false message that Iran could not be ruled by the likes of Mohammed Khatami, but only by leaders such as Ahmadinejad as he speaks the only language that America understands.

In Washington, diplomatic resolution is a phrase that is constantly reiterated. Many want a Security Council resolution that would force Iran to continue its program of uranium enrichment outside of its borders since Iran has refused a Russian initiative to enrich its uranium in Russia. In Washington, many argue that they would agree to peaceful enrichment outside of Iran, and the reason for this is that the Americans believe this would reduce dependency on oil. However, the Americans also state that they do not trust Iran as it has admitted that its nuclear project began twenty years ago, which means that previous Iranian governments have been dishonest all these years. What then would stop the government from lying today?

The Americans however insist that they do not intend to attack Iran; however, they continue to say, “All the options are on the table!” There are choices but what about priorities? No answer.

The Arabs, on the other hand, feel that Israel would attack Iran due to the continuous threats against Israel by Ahmadinejad. There are no clear signs that such a strike would necessarily anger Washington; it is unclear whether Washington approves or disapproves of such action. In fact, it seems that this is what those who are against a nuclear Iran want.

There is an American impression that the European position is yet to be decided, furthermore, Washington is not threatened by the creation of a pro-Iranian front in the region, as the only country that approves of a nuclear Iran is Syria.

Washington strongly denies that there is dispute amongst the decision makers in the Whitehouse, between those who advocate military action against Iran and others that support diplomacy. What is highlighted is that there is a focus on diplomacy, putting pressure on Iran and economic sanctions. Would the regime then fall? Washington’s answer to this question is no. However, the logic behind such action would be to wake up the Iranian people for them to see what Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs have done.

Evidently, Washington is looking for international approval to impose sanctions on Iran, but does this rule out a military strike on the country? I do not feel that anyone could rule this out. It seems now that Iran is slowly walking towards the window, whilst the sniper awaits its historical chance to shoot.

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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