How to Avoid Disaster With Iran
Image Credit: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader

How to Avoid Disaster With Iran


When it comes to Iran, things are actually going well for the West and Israel. Really well, in fact.

The recent deterioration in relations between the Iranian government and Turkey is yet another piece of good news for those who want to see Tehran’s negotiation position and leverage weakened. Relations between the two countries hit a new low after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Tehran. Soon after the visit, Iran announced that Istanbul was no longer its preferred venue for negotiations with the P5+1, scheduled to take place on April 13. Iranian authorities scrambled to look for a new venue, and Baghdad has now been suggested by both Iran and China. The P5+1 (consisting of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) have yet to announce whether they will accept the suggestion.

The deterioration in relations between Tehran and Ankara is believed to be mainly due to differences over Syria. The Iranian government seems particularly incensed at Turkey’s decision to hold the “Friends of Syria” conference on its soil on April 1, a conference that will consist of members of the Syrian opposition and countries that support them.

At a special parliamentary session held Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned the conference, stating, “The name of the recent conference in Istanbul, which was called ‘Friends of Syria,’ was not ‘Friends of Syria,’ but rather its name was ‘bribers of Israel.’” The Turks were so incensed that the next day, the country’s foreign ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to “demand an explanation” over Larijani’s remarks.

Turkey isn’t only a source of trade for Iran – at least one of its banks has acted as a go between Iran and India for oil payment. (India is one of the last countries to hold out over the recent oil sanctions, and Iranian officials will undoubtedly be concerned that Turkey might put a halt to such activities.)

All this is a far cry from May 2010, when Turkey was so close to the Iranian government that along with Brazil it managed to broker a deal to transfer 50 percent of Iran’s Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) to its soil for later conversion to nuclear fuel rods. However, that deal was deemed unacceptable by the West for a number of reasons. For a start, the amount of LEU it left in Iran (50 percent of Iran’s total stock) would have given Iran the option of having enough LEU on its soil to reach breakout capacity during talks.

Second, because that deal included a “declaration of Iran’s right to enrichment,” the International Atomic Energy Agency and the West would have been agreeing to Iran be able to enrich on its soil while relieving it of its commitment to answer outstanding IAEA queries or respond to demands by the United Nations outlined in various resolutions. Indeed, so unacceptable were the terms of this deal that even China and Russia, which over the years have been the most reluctant in the Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran, agreed to a new round of sanctions after Iran inked the deal with Turkey and Brazil.

And yet despite the unprecedented weakening of Iran’s position, the P5+1 mustn’t take its current advantage for granted; things could still go very wrong. This is especially true of the current sanctions, which are seen by the West as a necessary tool for pressuring the Iranian government. They could still backfire badly, especially if they reduce the supply of food and medicine to Iran to any significant degree.

Vinit Bolinjkar
April 16, 2012 at 02:39

Gr8 +ve step. But is it not in Israels interest to come to a compromise. With US power on the decline its only matter of time that the Arab world would focus on Israel. And with the Arab world right now divided and opposed to Iran what better time than to destroy Iran. So i guess we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. War will continue to remain a high decibel event in 2012.

April 9, 2012 at 08:45

The question is why these sanctions comes, and increases in a time when the people started to stand up against the regime? might it be that there is a conspiracy, involving that some countries “want” the regime to stay in power and thus, with all these sanctions over the nuclear weopons, are giving the regime a chance to launch nationalistic propaganda and initiate tighter security measurements. Thus, effectively halting the revolt against them…

Tom Mulcahy
April 8, 2012 at 09:10

Are we missing something here? 300 nukes of Israel? By the way, how do you allow those drivers who are driving vehicles dangerously on the streets with holding diriver’s licenses? Police should arrest those indiviudals who drive without licenses. Ha’, civilized people are messed up. Police will bother those who holds the driving license and will be stopped at every intersection. Iran signed the NPT while India, Israel and Pakistan did not. And all these three countries enjoys American technology and billions in grants while Iran who holds the driving license, signed the Npt, has the most transparent nuclear program in the history of human race, is facing the sanctions, and if possible bombings. Vow. Iranian population must pay. Vow. Every Israeli citizen must pay the price for killing so many poor children, women of Palestine. Israeli citizens must also pay the price through sanctions for having 300 illegal nukes. Welcome to the civilized world. This article is nothing but a malicious virus. This person has no morals to write such an article. By the way, how many wars Israel, India and Pakistan bought? I can’t count man, I am not good in math. The poor Iranians never attacked any country in the last 300 years. Vow.

April 8, 2012 at 07:53

No, the Iranian people are the ones who actually do need to feel the pain. Even during their so called revolt in 2009, the main groups involved in no way opposed their government’s policy on nuclear development. The Iranian government is not going to be overly concerned about pin prick or surgical strikes. However, if the general population is in revolt(not just a few urban middle class types)things will change. If the Iranian people do not wish to take action against their government, others eventually will. The stakes are far too high to wait for an Iranian opposition that perpetually fails, and is not even all that serious about what it claims to stand for.

April 7, 2012 at 03:03

Mr Javedanfar ignores the fact that Iran’s nuclear program enjoys massive popularity amongst Iranians, and the efforts by Israel and the West to deprive Iran of her sovereign rights has given the regime the perfect justification to polish its nationalistic credentials, and to put on the mantle of Mossadegh facing the British imperialists.

April 6, 2012 at 20:48

Mr. Javedanfar’s positions are quite well reasoned. There are long and strong ties between the mass of Iran’s populace and the West, especially the US, where there are very large (and successful) Iranian expat communities. Iranians are probably the most modern and “Western” of all people in the Middle East with the exceptions of Turkey and Israel, far more than any of the Arabs.

While I understand Tum’s rant, I believe this is misguided. The people of Iran tried to stand up to the Mullahs and were brutally suppressed. Unlike the Nazis, the Government of Iran also claims the legitimacy of God, that is, opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran is the same as opposing God, making one an apostate. In the eyes of the Mullahs, this justifies the most brutal oppression of the Iranian population with all the powers of a modern police state.

We cannot blame the people of Iran because their 1979 revolution was hijacked by radical Islamists who have created an oppressive police state (in the name of God, no matter how absurd that claim may be!). Mr. Javedanfar merely suggests useful ways for the West to support the people of Iran and hopefully keep their sympathies with the West instead of letting them turn to their oppressive Mullahs as the only friend they have left.

We can hope and pray that the current regime will ultimately crack under its own contradictions and failure to meet the needs of the ordinary Iranian. Sadly, I do not believe this will come any time soon. The best chance for that to happen came two years ago during the “Green” revolution, and our witless Western leaders, the US President in particular, stood by and let the government of Iran slaughter its own citizens.

April 6, 2012 at 14:49

Oh really? This is the same Iranian population that is managing to do basically nothing to stop their own government from producing a Nuclear Weapon. Irans people stood by and watched as their government got taken over by a bunch of radicals, and now you are telling me that they will simply stand by and watch the same thing happen again?

Asking to not develop a nuclear weapon, and to provide evidence that you are not doing so, is not a big thing to ask. It is in Irans interests not to do so. It is in their peoples interests not to do so. It is in our interests not to do so.

And yet they continue. Do they think the world should suffer while their people stand by and watch their regeme decend into evil for the secound time? No. The world does not owe the Iranian people for letting such things happen. We are fighting for your country, and yet you are not.

If the Iranian people wish to be free, they should start doing something about it. The future is yours to find; the faster your regeme stops producing nuclear weapons, the faster your economy will recover. So, do you want to do something about it?

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