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Obama - Iran : Appeasement and confusion !

According to every press agency, “the representatives of the Six group -United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany- didn’t manage to agree on Saturday on new sanctions against Iran. However they agreed to meet again with Iranian representatives in order to discuss IAEA’s proposal that offers to enrich abroad a part of the Iranian uranium”. This would have been simpler to state at the end of this meeting whose agenda was the Iranian refusal that the Six decided to go on with this deaf dialogue.

During his mandates, Bush reinforced continually the sanctions against Tehran. In the meantime, he offered to lift them and shower gifts on the mullahs if the latter would stop their nuclear activities and would accept to sit at the negotiation table in order to solve the problems that are common to both countries, i.e. in order to achieve an agreement.

The mullahs have always said no, as they did with Bush, because such entente implies some normalization of the relations, an evolution that would force them to renounce to the Hamas and to the Hezbollah which are their means of regional pressure on the United States. In the name of this same evolution, they would also need to open their elections to every candidate who would introduce himself as an Islamist and this would be a golden opportunity for Iranian but pro-American Islamist politicians to take the power from inside.

As long as an agreement with the mullahs is vital for the US interests in Central Asia in reply to such definitive refusal, Washington should have reinforced sanctions. However, in July 2008, it eased its position. Condoleezza Rice stated that the United States “didn’t have any permanent enemy but permanent interests”. Further to such statement, during the presidential campaign, the both candidates ensured that any dialogue with Tehran was necessary. Actually, at the same time, Washington noticed that sanctions weakened far too much the mullahs and more sanctions would overthrow its future strategic allies. Thus it appeared necessary to play the appeasement game -for instance : Bush announced new sanctions which corresponded to some unknown past ones.

Appeasement and confusion | Given that at that time Tehran accepted to negotiate but refused to stop its activities, when the administration change took place, Washington put aside the clause of nuclear activities suspension and offered via Obama a direct and free of precondition dialogue about any matter that opposes both countries…

Such offer put the regime on the spot. However it refused it because it doesn’t want to face the consequences of an entente with the United States. Such refusal put Obama on the spot towards his own public opinion because this forced him to mention the adoption of new sanctions, i.e. an option it is necessary to avoid if the United States doesn’t want to overthrow its future strategic allies.

The consequence of such conclusion was the ultimatum whose deadline was fixed on the 31 December 2009 and it was coupled with a threat of embargo on gasoline. Such step might be the cause of a popular uprising that may overthrow the mullahs. It cooled the American opinion down and it gave Washington the ability to keep pausing until the 31 December 2009 the adoption of new sanctions in order to avoid the fall of the mullahs it needs. As it based on information related to Iran’s economic condition, Washington considered the regime was fragile and it hoped that it would give in before this 31 December 2009 deadline.

Before the delay came to its end, Washington tried anything to prompt the mullahs to sit at the negotiation table. It sent in Iran many emissaries who brought lots of gifts. It involved the mullahs in international negotiations. It made an interesting offer about the exchange of their uranium stock for fuel that would be intended for Tehran’s research reactor. It also managed to get French adhesion to the embargo as it’s one of Iran’s main gasoline suppliers. At last, it managed to get Russia’s adhesion to sanctions. It’s all the more important that this country could have become Iran’s alternative gasoline supplier.

Nothing worked. In the meantime, the mullahs drew money from the Bazari’s bank account in order to take it. The delay expired and Obama found himself back in the same problematic situation he faced in February 2009 : he needs to find a way to avoid new sanctions -and mostly embargo.

Washington didn’t take long time to find the solution. Since December 2009, it has forgotten that it held all the cards to enforce an embargo and it asked for new UNO sanctions that are impossible to implement due to the refusal of China and also the refusal of other members of the Security Council.

Since then, it has been acknowledged that there would be no new sanctions this week-end in New York. We may also foretell that there won’t be any UNO sanction in the months to come but we cannot blame China for this : the sole offender is Washington that disposes of every means to implement sanctions but that refuses to enforce them.

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The french version of this article :
- Obama - Iran : Apaisement et embarras
- (18 JANVIER 2010)

| Mots Clefs | Décideurs : P5+1 (les Six) |

| Mots Clefs | Décideurs : OBAMA |
| Mots Clefs | Enjeux : Sanctions (du Conseil de Sécurité) |
| Mots Clefs | Enjeux : Apaisement |

| Mots Clefs | Zone géopolitique / Sphère d’influence : Chine |