Iran : France, an excuse to refuse appeasement
On October 1st, during the resumption of the dialogue with the P5+1, Tehran accepted to cooperate on two points, the first point being the exchange of its low enriched uranium stock against fuel rods for its medical research reactor. France and Russia were to supply Iran with the rods. At the meeting scheduled to put down the basis of this exchange, Iran deliberately blocked the appeasement process by refusing any dialogue with France.
The situation| Last July, on the sidelines of the G8 Summit, the U.S. threatened Iran with new sanctions in October 2009 if Tehran would not immediately stop its illicit nuclear activities and resume dialogue on the subject. At the time, Iran brushed aside this threat for the Mullahs felt protected by Russia and China. Following the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activities, Russia and China did not run to Tehran’s rescue. Iran assumed that the two had struck a deal with the U.S. and so decided to pretend to be more cooperative by suggesting the resumption of dialogue with the six hoping to escape the threat of new sanctions. Tehran obtained the postponement of the sanctions. Since, Iran has abused of all possible provocations in order to push the Americans to abandon the dialogue, ask for sanctions and therefore create a rift between the six, which would block the appeasement process indeterminately.
Stakes | It is important to recall that a block in the appeasement process is vital to the Mullah regime. Tehran wants to avoid at any cost an appeasement with the ally and protector of Israel. If such were the case, Tehran would lose the popular support of the Arab streets, an important factor in their nuisance arsenal against the Arab governments allied with U.S. An appeasement with their historic enemy would engage them in a democratization process, which would result in their losing the reins of Iran in the profit of Washington’s political champions. The only manner for the Mullahs to keep power is to continue their confrontation strategy and continue pretending that they accept dialogue.
Their only card in this game is the menace of the vague possibility that Tehran would stop delivering oil, panicking Europe and Japan who then put pressure on Washington to avoid sanctions. The Mullah regime not only has to avoid any appeasement but also has to provoke the failure of its process, the legitimacy of the six.
Two opposing strategies | Having guessed Tehran’s move, the Americans have avoided all the provocations and therefore, maintained the summit of Geneva on October 1st. Tehran was forced to continue with the appeasement process with Washington. The six thought they had tricked Tehran for in order to avoid sanctions they had to accept the two major points of the agreement, the inspection of the newly discovered nuclear site at Qom and the exchange of their stock of uranium for fuel rods. However, as soon as Tehran left the negotiations, they declared loudly that they made no concessions and only talked with the preoccupations of the Arab streets. Turning the dialogue to their advantage by assuring the public opinion that Tehran’s refusal to any agreement was a de facto acceptance by the six of their nuclear program as is. Tehran was hoping that their volte-face would bring about the ire of the six.
The angry reaction expected by the Mullahs did not come. The six preferred censuring Tehran’s declarations in order to force them into continuing the appeasement process. The present refusal to negotiate with France is the revenge of the Mullahs on the censorship and a flamboyant comeback to Tehran’s usual strategy of amplifying any crisis, an absolute necessity for their survival.
France’s role | Tehran needed a buzz to get through the Western media prone to censuring their statements. The Mullahs concentrated their media strategy on France. Their choice was easy to make : Russia is their strategic ally and the U.S. is heading the negotiations, France was the only option.
France reacted as the Mullahs expected, they refused to leave the round table. The six even tried to muffle Tehran’s provocation as they had censured Tehran’s volte-face three weeks earlier. The Western media reacted by denouncing the Six’s lack of reaction and Tehran had their buzz.
Mottaki declared that by “having accepted the dialogue” with Tehran on subjects unattached to the nuclear issue, the six “signalled that they accepted that Iran dispose of a civil nuclear technology.” By consequence, “Iran will never abandon their indisputable and legitimate right (to nuclear technology).”
He also declared that earlier on he had reinstated that “in case of the failure of the negotiations in Vienna, Iran would continue to enrich their own uranium to 20%.” He therefore, announced “an acceleration of the enrichment program !”
The return of the crisis | Even though, the six are still dodging Tehran’s provocations, the Mullahs have engaged themselves on the path of escalating the crisis, for it was their main goal. To achieve this they can titillate Paris once more if the current buzz dies off, but they also have other options.
The other two European nations engaged in the process, despite their lesser importance, can also be targeted. Tehran’s accusation of London being behind the terrorist attack on the Pasdaran in Baluchistan is one of their options. Rumours run that the regime knew about the terrorist attack on the Pasdaran but did not stop it in order to be able to exploit it when needed.
The survival of the regime is as stake. To survive, the Mullahs are capable of worse. And the worse is to come, for to survive the regime has to avoid appeasement with the West and therefore, amplify the crisis.