IRAN : AN UNFREEZING BUT NOT THE ONE WE EXPECTED
© IRAN-RESIST.ORG – April 1st 2009 | Everybody expected the intervention of the mullahs’ representative at The Hague as they hoped the beginning of an opening and some encounter. However things didn’t happen as expected : Tehran agreed solely for cooperation with Afghanistan and rejected thus any possibility of dialogue and compromise with the United States. However it accepted a brief meeting that makes people announce some unfreezing. | Décodages |
The problem | For reasons that are greatly strategic, the United States must access to Central Asia. Initially the access corridor was Afghanistan but this country is at war. There is no other alternative than Iran all the more that the mullahs and other countries that are interested in Central Asia -Russia and China- support the Taliban by providing them weapons. The United States don’t have any other way out than an agreement with the mullahs, a solution that would allow them to take control of nearly the whole wealth of Middle-East and Central Asia.
However they cannot make the first step toward Tehran because they would then need to make concessions, haggle the favors of Tehran, which implies the recognition of an interference right in Middle-East via the Hamas and the Hezbollah.
It’s to avoid making concessions that America must compel the mullahs to make the first step, pro-American compromises. After limp sanctions that didn’t make such exploit true, the new administration offered a dialogue with previous conditions to the mullahs who then refused in order to not make the first step.
At The Hague, the objective was to compel the adversary to make the first step.
Unfreezing ? | Thus Tehran returned to the attitude it adopted under Bush when Condoleezza Rice suggested an Iranian participation to the first conference on Iraq’s security : on the 28th May 2007, Iranian diplomats met in Bagdad their counterparts from every country and nothing strictly happened. Then people also announced some unfreezing : afterwards, Iranian and American diplomats even met directly on several occasions but they didn’t make any progress.
This time, to not repeat the same fruitless outlines –i.e. find themselves alone with capricious mullahs, those ones hardly announced their presence to the conference that Washington gave a lot of media coverage to their new strategy in Afghanistan by announcing the creation of a contact group including Iran. Immediately afterwards it announced via the entourage of the president Obama some characteristics of such opening : very precise fields of cooperation, duration of more or less two years, the possibility of sanctions weigh down against Iran and a dialogue initiative that is solely reserved to the Unites States.
In a flash, the mullahs thus got involved against their will into a much regulated process of dialogue and cooperation that is synonymous of necessary compromises with regard to their violent anti-Americanism, the cornerstone of its Middle-Eastern policy.
Very upset by such forced recruiting, Tehran didn’t comment this announce and went in search of a logical argument to leave this tactical trap. A much tactical answer was partially revealed at the conference on Afghanistan that was organized by the Shanghai Group in Moscow : Tehran mentioned the “necessity to increase its cooperation with the States of the region.”
We then analyzed it as an attempt to centre its cooperation on Afghanistan and not on the United States. It avoids in the meantime every direct contact, every dialogue or compromise. Such speech that refuses direct cooperation was today pronounced at The Hague.
However there was a “fortuitous and cordial meeting”with the American delegation, a meeting that Tehran didn’t turn back. Actually there was no contradiction : Tehran didn’t want the opening offered by Obama on his conditions but an opening on its own initiative and on its own conditions. Tehran even maneuvered very skillfully to achieve it.
The maneuvers | After Obama’s announcement of the creation of a contact group with Iran, Tehran observed an entire silence about the offer that was made before The Hague. Washington then believed that it nabbed the mullahs into its mechanism of compromising cooperation. Amused, the American State junior minister, Hillary Clinton, even told the day before the conference that she was “eager to hear what Iran had to suggest at the conference of The Hague.”
She said she expected a “constructive” attitude or much precisely “offers -of cooperation”oming from the mullahs “to help the United States to reach their objectives of security and stability in Afghanistan”. Hillary Clinton expected actually to see the mullahs making the first step… This is what Tehran didn’t do. Not only it refused to make this first step forward but, through this refusal, it also forced Washington to make a step in its direction to save its undertaking of dialogue via cooperation in Afghanistan.
A release refusal | It took such refusal to extremes with a regionalist speech, almost anti-American, that even didn’t mention the name of the United States. The proposal of Obama for the creation of a contact group is described as “proposals of cooperation that were offered by the countries contributing towards Afghanistan.”
Since Washington made its regional allies, such as Qatar, Turkey or Afghanistan, intervene to salute the soundness of Tehran’s opinions, the mullahs’ regime took the liberty of giving a lecture to the participants by criticizing loudly “the presence of foreign soldiers” in this country, a presence that “is not able to bring neither peace nor stability” and only “encourages extremism.”
This regionalist speech was not only tactical or defensive it had also an offensive nature because it posed the problem of Karzai’s independence in an unfavorable electoral context and also the problem of the troops’ disengagement out of Afghanistan, an issue that is susceptible to harm Obama who was elected thanks to promises of an America that would be less warlike.
A small step… | This imaginative and unexpected firmness surprised Washington : so to save the dialogue mechanism that is regulated with Tehran, a true jewel of tactics -to obtain concessions, the American delegation had to make the first step. This is not an unfreezing but a victory for the mullahs ! Obviously they didn’t refuse the meeting.
Immediately, in Tehran, a member of the parliamentary commission of National Security and Foreign Policy stated that in 2009 the Islamic Parliament of Iran “would study the process of normalization of the relations with the United States according to the possible honest actions of Obama’s administration". Tehran didn’t take any risk because the Islamic Parliament is lacking in a real power : Tehran can at any time make a step back.
Outcome | Tehran refused the door that has been opened by the Americans at their conditions, tried to redefine the fields of its intervention in Afghanistan, pushed the Americans to make the first step in its direction before it took again the initiative to dialogue by suggesting its own version of opened door -at its conditions.