No deal could be best deal on Iran

Dr. Norman Bailey

Stiffer Western resolve, thanks to France, could leave Iran bogged down in regional conflict.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech before the joint houses of the American Congress appears not to have had much effect on public opinion, either in Israel or in the US. Polls show little change in party preferences for the upcoming elections in Israel, nor have they shown significant change in the support of the American people for Israel.

This does not mean, however, that nothing is going on in the confrontation between the West and Iran. Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz strongly hinted that Israel's detailed knowledge of the deal US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian opposite number Javad Zarif are preparing came from the French. Now the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, is saying that the deal as presently constituted does not meet French standards for scope and enforceability. In response, the Obama administration is backtracking, saying that no deal will be signed which limits the scaling-back of the Iranian production of fissile materials for ten or any other specific number of years, and which does not guarantee full cooperation with IAEA inspectors.

Should there be no deal signed by Iran and the six powers at their next meeting, what would be the possible consequences?

1.Announcement could be made that the outlines of a deal were agreed-to and that during the following three months (or some other time period) technical details will be hammered out by experts on both sides, leading to a formal signing later.

2.There could be another postponement, while proclaiming that "progress had been made".

3.France refuses to sign any agreement and Iran walks out.

 In the third alternative, Iran would continue to develop the capacity to produce nuclear weapons while in the meantime actively spreading its influence throughout the northern tier of the Middle East from the Afghan/Pakistan borders to the Mediterranean, using the Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government forces, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah.

A large contingent of Iranian troops is fighting in Iraq now in the offensive to retake Tikrit, and the entire operation is directed by the commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, General Qassem Suleimani, whom many observers consider the second-most powerful Iranian official after Supreme Leader Khamenei.

This scenario would accelerate two developments: the formation of an anti-Iran and anti-Islamic State coalition among Jordan, Saudi Arabia, most of the Gulf states and Egypt, with close cooperation and coordination with Israel; and Iranian involvement in widespread warfare in Iraq and Syria, with by no means a foregone conclusion favorable to the Iranians, and eventually perhaps leading to regime-change in Tehran.

Thus, the future of the six power-Iranian negotiations may have gone from highly dangerous to very promising, due more than anything else to the French.

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and teaches at the Center for National Security Studies and Geostrategy, University of Haifa.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 10, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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