Obama’s Engagement with Iran

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

San Francisco–April 16th–Your reporter was able to hear Juan Cole, who is on a book tour of his recently released book of Engaging the Muslim World, speak with authority on the state of “play” between the new Administration in the District of Columbia and Iran.

Iran is four times the size of France!  It is enormous and rugged.  If the U.S. would take their conservatives’ advice to invade Iran, it would take a huge amount of troops to occupy its terrain.

The United States and the Islamic Republic in the Near East have been antagonistic since the Revolution and the raise of Khomeinism and the Supreme Leader’s anti-Americanism.  America, further, alleges that Persia of supporting terrorism.  Both powers are competitors for spheres of influence in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Also, the nuclear accusations against Iran and the non-acceptance of Israel are matters of contention from the American point.  Khomeinism stands against Globalism in favor of their national economy.  American business wishes a portion of that marketplace.  The U.S.A. is disturbed by the Iranian theocracy.  Yet, nationally an Islamic “Socialism” predominates, for there is a large State sector.  This, too, is objectionable to America.  The Islamic Revolution strongly advocates national autonomy, besides.

The G.W. Bush government accomplished the opposite from what they had intended to do.  Dr. Cole discounts the accusations of the late-serving (U.S.) President that Iran is supplying Al Qaeda with weapons in Mesopotamia. “If something is against common sense…I require more evidence…give us…evidence,” states Professor Cole.  Juan estimates that there are only about one hundred and fifty hardcore Al Qaeda in the Republic of Iraq.  The American military is clashing with ordinary Iraqis.    

Tehran did not enjoy their isolation amongst the community of nations, for their Revolutionary-type union is in only in one country although today Iraq has essentially become a Muslim Republic.  There is a limitless base in Iraq with their Shiite brothers across their eastern borders although the religious sensibility in Baghdad is heavily fundamentalist.

“The Iran-Iraq War was the Hoover Dam of geopolitics!”  At the present, Iran has found stout allies in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the Arab Shiites in general.  Their influence has become pervasive over their region although the Revolutionary Republic still faces considerable opposition, too.  For instance, Egypt and Israel viewed the Gaza conflict as a proxy War against Iran!  Further, there is antagonism from Washington’s Arab clients. 

Regarding their ally Hezbollah, Cole states that they do not engage in International terror, for Lebanon has named them as a National Guard, and, therefore, are State actors.  They are extremely effective, for they won the 2006 War in which Israel was the aggressor with the “Party of God’s” missiles supplied by the Persians. 

Further, the U.S. Resolution that declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is erroneous for the same reason as Hezbollah above.  The Guard is a part of the military, and, thus, an arm of the State. 

Concerning their nuclear program, they should have reported it as a signatory of the NPT (the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), but did not notify the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) of their production of fissile substances although the endeavor was not against the stipulations of the Agreement.   Yet, due to their secretiveness, the U.S., the E.U. (the European Union) and Israel became suspicious that Tehran was weaponizing, but they stopped their weapons agenda during 2003.  Even the American intelligence complex attests that they do not have nuclear weaponry.  Besides the sophisticated technology the United States has developed for spying, Iranian defectors from their nuclear enterprise have confirmed to the West that there are currently no plans to reignite their nuclear undertaking.  Yet, the modern Medes are less than transparent to the U.N. (the United Nations) over the project.   Furthermore, the Iranian leadership believes that such swords of state are “…not allowed under Islamic law” owing to the undue collateral (non-combatant) deaths that it would generate.    

They are still proceeding with a peaceful stratagem, however, (that could quickly be reversed towards acquiring a weapon if threatened).  Iran is employing a centrifuge technology similar to Pakistan’s, but it is not the most efficient method to advance their goals of nuclear capacity.  There is a fear in their leadership that their oil is finite; thus, they are striving for energy independence now and in the future.  In addition, Iran has a fifty year supply of its own uranium within its soil. 

Conversely, if they did have the bomb, it would contest the perception of Israel as the hegemon of the overall geographical district. 

Consequently, Tel Aviv has an irrational trepidation of the Islamic nation along the eastern shores of the Persian Gulf becoming nuclear.  Although for Israel to destroy the Persian nuclear facilities, the Israelis would have to commit a high-tech suicidal attack as their fighter-planes do not have the range to make it back to their home bases.  (What Cole did not mention is that the Iranian facilities are “hard” targets – partially in deep bunkers under the earth — and, accordingly, the Persian research cannot completely be  obliterated, and, thereby, Tehran’s nuclear ambitions could not be totally destroyed on only one strike, for their scientific organization would be operating again after a period of reconstruction.)  Additionally, the Israelis would hurt  American foreign policy aims.  For instance, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which has a large NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) force, is extremely influenced by the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

On the other hand, a rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran would be a great benefit to the States.  Iran’s assistance could appreciably facilitate President Obama’s planned withdrawal from Iraq.  There would be a possibility of negotiating a resupply line to  NATO troops in Afghanistan through Iran itself, (for Tehran perceived the pre-2001 Taliban government there to have been hostile to their interests as a Shia Republic since the Taliban consider all Shiites to be non-Muslims.   Hence, the Medes have no desire to see Mullah Mohammed Omar back in the seat of authority in Kabul as leader of a second Sunni “essentialist” regime.)  Persia could, moreover, be a new petroleum and gas source as well.  Juan Cole is of the opinion that an Iran-U.S. accord is within the realms of probability.  Obama’s regime is returning to Bush, Sr.’s pragmatism.  Nevertheless, this, on the other hand, presents a concern that America will not put pressure enough for human rights in the Near and the Middle East and elsewhere.  (For instance, the case of the Iranian-American journalist, who was recently sentenced to one of the most brutally dangerous prisons in Persia for practicing her journalistic profession, could delay any rapprochement between the two contenders – the U.S. and Iran – for hegemony over the region.)  


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