Can Iran pressure its way out of danger zone?
Investing in fomenting crises is very different from investing in resolving them, especially when the crises get out of hand, leading to fundamental changes in the circumstances surrounding them.
Therefore, what looks like convictions to the Iranian regime, which it strives to market on the home front as victories, are nothing more than unimportant outcomes. This will push Tehran to more stubbornness in breaching what it claims to be a strategic patience towards the 2015 nuclear agreement.
What happened at the Vienna conference of the 4+1 group after the withdrawal last year of the United States from the nuclear agreement did not guarantee the Iranian regime the possibility of circumventing US sanctions. This was despite European promises to implement the INSTEX mechanism for trade.
INSTEX seems like a manoeuvre for Iran to secure its basic needs through Europe, in a fashion reminiscent of the oil-for-food mechanism applied to Iraq during the years of UN sanctions on the country. This time, however, the mechanism is independent of the US dollar and its constraints.
In the best of circumstances, the volume of financial movements is far from reaching the billions of dollars and is constrained by conditions that no funds enter Iran. So, when the Iranian regime accepted to trade with European currency, it means the mullahs have stepped into the tunnel head first.
By so doing they admitted their suffocating crisis had reached back-breaking levels. The pressure from the US sanctions continues to rise, with an eventual conflagration that even the regime likely cannot control.
European assurances to Iran go as far as not jeopardising European businesses’ interest with the United States. They send a signal to US President Donald Trump that he bears the full responsibility of his double-speak message to the Iranian regime and for his promise to the Iranian people to stand by their uprising and to respect their choices, their history and their struggle for civil rights and for their right to the free and civilised life they deserve.
The other event that the velayet-e faqih regime in Iran was betting on was the G20 summit and the expected outcomes of its predefined agenda.
There have been a Russian-US rapprochement and a Chinese-American rapprochement that reduced anxieties about new geopolitical or commercial crises. The only surprise for the Iranian regime was the clear endorsement of world leaders for the role of Saudi Arabia in the G20, which gives strength to the outcomes of the Mecca summits condemning terrorism and its sources, which are well known to international powers.
Following that came Trump’s steps on North Korean territory in the company of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and their agreement to set up committees to follow up on the nuclear file and relations between the two sides.
So, now Iran and its fascist religious regime find themselves facing a paved, easy-to-navigate and safe road. This road is represented by their acceptance to negotiate without preconditions as the shortest way to ensure that the regime remains in power.
The negotiations would surely solidify the existing agreement in terms of timing and appropriate international supervision, provided Iran abandons secret manoeuvrings and threatening international peace and security.
Trump made it clear that former US President Barack Obama’s era is over. The mullahs’ regime must either accept that or choose the option of countering a popular revolution, even though such a revolution seems to some elusive and illusory because of complex possibilities and the full powers given to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its repressive apparatuses, allowing for arbitrary arrests, detention and unrestricted firepower.
Anti-regime demonstrations by Iranians living abroad continue to draw world attention. This is especially the case when they are attended by former Iranian political figures, who monitor every form of protest and resentment in Iranian cities.
It is obvious that these internal protests are fuelled by deteriorating economic conditions, the return of poverty and beggary, unemployment and high inflation. The protests also came about because more people feel the need to flee the country in search of daily survival, by dramatic drops in the value of the rial, by the frustration of families having to give up many basic needs and by thousands of employees being laid off.
There is no denying that there are plenty of citizens who dare share images and news of their tragedy with humanitarian and international organisations in the hope of increasing international support for a resistance front that is no longer limited to any particular entity or ethnicity.
Ahwazi Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and many others are united by their feeling and conviction that the time has come for the Iranian regime to go and for Iran to return to being a “normal” state, with equal rights and duties within a regional environment that has long held great promises to the Iranian people in the areas of tourism and economic, cultural and humanitarian exchanges.
The Iranian regime believes that by keeping its files alive in world events, it will invite attention to the injustices and violations of the world order. The regime is taking advantage of the idea of power struggle in the service of specific interests. It has always resorted to blackmailing the world’s major powers over strategic issues by waving the threat of terrorism along the Iranian axis. However, often enough this strategy backfires.
Nevertheless, the mullahs’ regime persists in marketing its dogmas and in breaking international rules because, when the international community focuses on the Iranian regime’s rogue behaviour, the focus serves as a conveyor belt for marketing the regime’s political and economic goods and interests, even just temporarily.
What the Iranian regime ignores is that its mutual interests with the United States do not stack up to the world’s interests with America. The international community is convinced that there is no difference between the mullahs’ regime and the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist regime, except perhaps that the balance of terrorism is tilting in favour of the mullah’s regime.
Iran is not only a state that is the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism, it is a state that invests in terrorism and not just another extremist organisation quickly condemned and rejected by the human community.
The terrorist actions and activities of the Iran-backed sectarian militias in Iraq, without excluding ISIS, speak volumes of Iran’s animosity towards the Arabs and the free world.
The Iranian regime’s biggest foolishness is that it has shoved its peoples in the accused box just because they were demanding whatever crumbs were left of their livelihood, security and dignity. Haven’t these modest human rights demands always been the intimate companions of people’s revolutions at all times and in all lands?