“The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war”
The 15th century Dutch theologian and great philosopher Erasmus words of wisdom always comes to mind when reviewing controversial peace treaties that may be the target of deep concern and political critique of many. These kind of treaties or agreements usually serve certain limited purpose but may fail to address the broader issues that usually dooms it into failure. The repercussions of such failed treaties usually become more drastic than not having a treaty or deal in the first place.
The Iranian Nuclear Deal signed July 14 2015 between P5+1 which represents the World powers and Iran, may seem the finest solution out of a long and arduous negotiations that lasted for years. Iranians who have been elusive of sitting on the table making sure that they are negotiating or bluffing from a position of power.
The Iranian nuclear deal consists mainly of the following terms with the P5 countries:
- The lifting of sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States on Iran.
- Maintaining restrictions on long-range Iranian nuclear program with the continuation of uranium enrichment to be set at maximum of 3.67%
- Reduction of the number of centrifuges by two-thirds to 5060 centrifuges.
- Getting rid of 98% of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpiles which according to the White House sources amounting to 20,000 KG to be only 300 Kg.
- Ban of the export nuclear fuel in the upcoming years, and a ban on constructing heavy- water reactors, and prohibition of transferring equipment from a nuclear facility to another for 15 years.
- Iran to permit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to inspect and search all nuclear sites and facilities, including military ones after consulting with Tehran .
- Maintaining the ban on the import of weapons for an additional 5 years and 8 years and ballistic missiles.
- Release of the balances and the frozen assets of Iran, which are estimated in billions of dollars in international banks.
- Lifting the ban on Iranian aviation, Iranian Central Bank, oil companies and various other Iranian institutions and personalities.
- Cooperation in the fields of energy and technology.
Away from the pleasantries and applauds that has been magnified by mainstream media, the truth maybe more grim than we are led to believe. The truth is that after two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an ongoing one on terrorism worldwide, the United States is indebted over 17 Trillion dollars. Obama 8 years reign witnessed the national and international debts exacerbate even further. Accordingly, the option of going to a fully-fledged war with Iran was not very viable especially that Iran has the backing of Russia and China. Obama had no option but to slow the pace of the Iranian ambitions and leave the tough decisions to his successors with a lot of wishful thinking than actual long term planning.
Desperately seeking to form a legacy after a long series of failures in the Middle East and other regions around the world, US President Obama was vehemently propagating the great achievement his administration has attained by brining Iranians to the table and pressuring them to accept toning down at least temporarily their nuclear ambitions for a few years. This was achieved at least theoretically on July 14th 2015 agreement.
Obama can pat himself on the back believing that he averted a world crisis and a possible war. Nevertheless, what was attained would have been more plausible if it was him that will be present in the White House to supervise the implementation of this agreement. Since 2013, Obama affiliated media, has been trying desperately to paint President Rouhani as the moderate president who will change Iran. They did that while suppressing the fact that like all his predecessors he is no more than a tool in the hands of the Mullahs and particular the radical Mullah Ali Khameni the successor of Imam Ruhollah Al Khomeni the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mullah Ali Khameni radicalism towards the west can only the other side of the coin to the Like of terrorist ISIS self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi or Al Qaeda’s Ayman Al Zawahiri. However, Al Khameni being a pragmatist channels his radicalism into forming a domestic and regional front to serve his expansionist ambitions. The United States invasion of Iraq was a blessing for these ambitions as Iran became the prime player in its domestic politics and thus the ambitions took a wider scale into Syria, Bahrain and Yemen.
Iranian leaders are placing their chips on the ailing status of the United States as a superpower now and its dire economic status resulting from continued military expenses and adventures. Iranians believe that time and resources spent on continuing the confrontation with United States is better spent on empowering themselves until a time that United States and NATO are in capable of waging any military operations against them in the upcoming decade should the situation continue to do the same. By then, Iran would be in a much better economic and military status that enables the country to retract from the deal and facing a very different world where the United States and its allies have more important issues than waging war against them. After all, the nuclear facilities in Iran are not going anywhere and when the time comes to actually use them for military purposes, they shall do it without hesitation. Iran is likely to benefit greatly from the lifted ban on oil that amounting to almost 160 Billion USD in losses in 2012 alone.
On Paper, unlike his predecessor George W. Bush who left him 2 wars to end or deal with, Obama has left his successor a presumed great welcoming gift in the form of the Iranian deal. However, that nuclear deal with a regime that has the demise of the United States and Israel as a prime motto of its policy, cannot be treated as a true welcoming gift. Most likely, whoever will be the upcoming resident of the White House next year will have to deal the Iranian issue just as much as Obama did during his 8-year reign but with more alertness.
Iranian regime ambitions in the region are not a secret to anyone. These ambitions stretch from Arabian Gulf (Persian Gulf) to the North of Africa. For a regime long believed that, United States is Satan and the will of God according to their understanding must be applied on all nations through exporting the Islamic Revolution to all the Middle Eastern countries. This treaty is not going to deter these ambitions but in fact might bolster them through fixing their ailing economy with the oil revenue. This influx of funding will enable the Iranian regime to continue financing their supporters around the region more vehemently in the upcoming period.
The United States and NATO did not curb the ambitions of Iran in the region and the country’s lust for further hegemony in the region at the midst of the conflict and full sanctions. Accordingly, it will be impossible for them to guarantee when the sanctions will be lifted and Iran continues its armament program fueled by the Oil revenue. The 5-year ban on weapons sale for Iran will soon be over and the growing ambitions will likely to continue. Iran can also retract from the deal citing any reason once they feel they are powerful enough to face the other nations or they can call for new negotiations about different terms as they have been doing for almost a decade.
The fact on the ground indicates that the Iranians were in a pickle of their own making, their own program was not reaching the targeted percentages of Uranium Enrichment and setbacks were reported in the last few years. Nevertheless, the alleged stockpiles of 20 Metric Tons of enriched Uranium as reported by the White House sources have represented their bargaining chip and bluff in the negotiations.
This deal presents a reward for Iranians who used the chip of the high enrichment levels to cut a deal that can keep the status quo and the nuclear program intact until Iran managed to properly arm itself militarily and economically for another phase of conflict. The growing domestic unrest of years of economic sanctions were too much to bear for the Iranians. The regime could not sell these nuclear ambitions for longer periods to the younger generations of Iranians who were filled to the brim of economic stagnation and incredible levels of inflation. The Iranian President Rouhani called it a “Political Victory” and he can be right about since the P5 countries did not call his country’s bluff and signed the deal.
Consequently, the tyrannical Iranian regime was given a breath of life and now will receive the blessings of the Western powers along with Russia and China. Now the Iranian regime can place further oppression of the population while expanding the Islamist revolution ideals with more ease in the region.
What seems bizarre that the world powers including United States , Russia, United Kingdom and European Union seemed so chuffed and content about the results of the deal and they are celebrating it. Their leaders have not considered the fact that they were not and have never been the actual regional countries under threat from the Iranian ambitions.
The actual threatened countries are the Middle Eastern powers that include Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, GSC countries and Turkey. Middle Eastern powers do not seem to be very happy about that deal that neglected their immediate concerns about growing Iranian animosity and direct support of Militants and terrorists in Gaza, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria along with splinter cells in Egypt and other Middle Eastern Countries. To all these countries that deal means nothing but a start of an arms race that has witnessed Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel rallying for new purchases and manufacturing of more cutting-edge weapons to prepare the darker skies ahead. The United States, European Union , China and Russia will be more than willing to cater for these weaponry need in the upcoming years. To their military industries, this deal is a blessing in disguise after all.
Israel already expressed its outrage of the deal and Prime Minister Netanyahu have declared that the deal is a “Dark day in History” and have mentioned that the deal is not obligatory to Israel by any measure.
Despite the economic issues, Egypt has already preceded all since 2013 by signing deals for new high caliber weapons for reinforcing its Naval and Air forces capabilities by new state of art weapons. These weapon deals with Russia, France and United States aimed not just to face the growing war on terrorism on all its borders but also to face the challenge of having a more powerful Iran in not very distant but foreseeable future if necessary.
Right now for all the regional players mentioned, all bets are off and this deal to Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel is the ringing bell of an arms race. An arms race that has already started and it is not likely to end anytime soon.
Many world leaders including the Iranian President and the American one labelled the deal “Historic” but a lot of deals and agreements were labelled with the same tag only to be proven in a few years later to be mistakes of “historic” proportions. In fact, most world conflicts originate from such historic mistakes including the WWII and many others.
As always, one can only hope that the critique of such agreement is wrong and it would prove to be a Camp David accord that paved the way for peace between Egypt and Israel which is still going on for 4 decades, than a Versailles treaty in June 1919 that was a prelude for WWII. Peace is what we attain and strive for in this life but we should never mistake postponing a greater war with peace.
We are hoping that Erasmus wisdom of believing in peace would prevail and not the more cynical and sometimes realistic words of Roman historian and Senator Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD- 116 AD) “ “A bad peace is worse than war”