Monday, July 20, 2015

Obama's rationale implodes - Prof. Avraham Ben-Zvi



by Prof. Avraham Ben-Zvi

Khamenei crushed the expectations built by the Obama administration in one fell swoop, undercutting the foundation of the deal reached last week. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will undoubtedly embark on a new charm offensive soon, in an attempt to mask his leader's statements.

Less than a week after world powers and Iran announced they had reached a nuclear deal, the fragile rationale guiding U.S. President Barack Obama's conciliatory approach throughout the negotiations has been shattered. 

Obama's decision to offer Iran a substantial package of economic confidence-building measures was based on the assumption that Tehran would be unable to resist the temptation, and the regime would embark on a moderate path with regards to its U.S. policies.

Removing the sanctions crippling Iran's economy was seen by the White House as means to facilitate and accelerate the process of rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, with aim of making the latter a major strategic partner in the Middle East. 

So far, however, reality has failed to live up to Obama's expectations. The harsh, uncompromising statements made Saturday by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying the deal would not alter Iran's policies toward the U.S., should serve as a sobering wake-up call to the American public, before the deal becomes a fait accompli. 

Khamenei was crystal clear: The deal does not represent a new beginning for Iran-U.S. relations, based on a more reconciled approach to their diplomatic, ideological, and economic ties. The deal focuses on one isolated tier in these relations, the nuclear one, which has little impact on any of the other dimensions comprising the ties between the two nations. 

In other words, the nuclear deal will not be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Iran and the West. The opposite is true: Iran has no intention of changing its overall contrarian policies with regards to the West, nor does it plan to rescind, or even scale down, its support of the subversive and terrorist elements in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and the Palestinian sphere. 

The ayatollah's regime has been, and remains, the sworn enemy of "American hubris," as Khamenei put it, and it will continue to see the West as the enemy. 

Khamenei crushed the expectations built by the Obama administration in one fell swoop, undercutting the foundation of the deal reached last week. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will undoubtedly embark on a new charm offensive soon, in an attempt to mask his leader's statements.

All we can do is wait and see whether the attempt to downplay the agreement and introduce it as another component in an otherwise difficult, ongoing diplomatic effort, would breed skepticism in U.S. public opinion, and help shape the result of the congressional review of the deal.


Prof. Avraham Ben-Zvi

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=13215

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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