Sanctions Unable to Pressure Iran More Than War Time

TEHRAN (FNA)- A former Iranian nuclear negotiator dismissed the impacts of economic pressures on Iran, underlining that none of the current sanctions could surpass what Iran endured during the 1980-88 war with Iraq, which in effect was a global assault on the young Islamic Republic.

The remarks were made by Hossein Moussavian, a former Iranian nuclear negotiator in talks with the world powers and former Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).

Moussavian is now a research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. From 1997 to 2005, he was the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council; from 2003 to 2005, he served as spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union. He is author of The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in June 2012.

In an analysis released in the Center for Strategic and International Studies titled ‘An Opportunity for a US/Iran Paradigm Shift’, he stressed that the recent ‘Islamic Awakening,’ labeled by the West as the ‘Arab Spring,’ has strengthened his view on the US collapse in the region and beyond. He concludes that the latest developments in the region indicate ”the failure of United States dominance . . . [and that] the capitalist system has reached a complete deadlock, [while] the world is at a historical juncture, where the Iranian nation and Muslim nations can play a fundamental role in advancing Islamic values worldwide.” He is also confident that “the rise of Islamic identity has become stronger than ever and has weakened the influence of [the] United States and Israel in the region”.

The Arab Awakening has brought about seismic changes to the political and social fabric of the region particularly with the downfall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh. Two common threads bind these events together: First, they were all dictators who received their backing from the United States, Israel, and the West; and second, Islamists through popular vote have become the undisputed victors. Moreover, the Arab Awakening has changed the dynamics within many countries, with new rivalries emerging both regionally and internationally. Indeed, a showdown among regional powerhouses has culminated in a Sunni-Shiite schism in the Muslim world. This has manifested itself as a duel between the Shiite Muslim leadership, with Iran at its helm, and the Salafi/Wahabi strand of Sunni Islam, led by Saudi Arabia, determined to contain Iran’s influence and regional ambitions.

The wave of change in the region has not made the Persian Gulf states, ruled by family oligarchs that have resisted change for decades, immune. Bahrain has come to symbolize the vast discrepancy in the reactions to the regional uprisings that have taken place. The West has remained suspiciously silent on Saudi Arabia’s March 2011 military invasion of Bahrain, which enforced the brutal government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that has killed and injured hundreds of civilians. This has once again placed the United States in the uncomfortable position of dealing with a strategic Arab ally that is locked in a showdown with its people.

Nevertheless, three areas in particular where protracted hostility exists between Iran and the United States in the midst of growing instability and terrorism will inevitably result in more divergence rather than convergence in the Middle East, and will prove critical for the region and for Iran-US relations: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Lingering Opportunities in Afghanistan and Iraq

In Afghanistan, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Iran played a critical role by siding with the United States and providing arms, supplies, and tactical advice to the Northern Alliance. Iran has been and remains one of the most influential countries in Afghanistan and an essential interlocutor, if not partner, in any regional or multilateral diplomatic process designed to limit the conflict there. Through this partnership, the Taliban were ousted, al-Qaeda weakened, and a new government formed in Kabul, a humiliating defeat that extended to the Taliban’s ideological, tactical and financial sponsors, Saudi Arabia


Re. Fras News Agency

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