A seventh round of negotiations with the Iranian regime is underway in Vienna. Western countries, led by the United States, are making concessions, Iran is hardening its line, and the dispute is no longer confined to Iran's interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries and ballistic missiles, but also in Iran's insistence on developing its nuclear program making it capable of producing a nuclear weapon that could change the world.
The Arab countries and their peoples are under a real and direct threat from Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon. Its strategy to extend influence and impose hegemony targets Arab countries first and foremost, particularly the Arab Gulf states. We've seen that Iran has already succeeded in imposing control over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It is important to monitor the Western stance on Iran, because from an Arab standpoint it’s easy to see that this stance is not firm enough and does not give enough regard to the concerns of the region, countries and peoples. Iran's possession of a nuclear weapon will support its expansionist strategy in a way that changes all the rules of the game around the world, not only in the region.
Anyone who is well-versed in history and political conflicts can easily see that this Western inaction spurs a nuclear arms race in the region and the world. It is a laxity that threatens the future of all mankind, and the countries targeted by the threat will not stand idly by. The Western rhetoric on the matter expresses mere “skepticism” In Iran’s seriousness and “concern” about its intentions, and “indications” of other options and “hints” of pressures that can be exercised, it talks about “optimism”, “pessimism” and “frustration”, a political language that is a model of political weakness, of weak decision-making based on a weak vision. Regardless of the internal disagreement in America when it comes to dealing with Iran, prudence shows that the language of force is the only language that the Iranian regime understands, and this is what the Arab countries know well.
Israel is well aware of this imminent Iranian danger, and it is unflinching in its consciousness of the threat and stance towards it. It is a mighty nuclear state with close relations with the West. Western countries are doing nothing about the Iranian regime, and therefore fears exist, and the threat is real.
Through four decades, evolving strategies, changing tactics, and exploiting major circumstances and events, Iran has managed to expand and penetrate the above-mentioned Arab countries, and it is penetrating other Arab countries in multiple ways, but it is important to know that it is also losing. The international and US sanctions imposed by the previous US administration weakened Iran, for one, and the awareness of the Iraqi people, which they expressed in the recent elections, weakened Iran, its militias, and its local agents, for two. For three, the Arab Alliance exceptional military strikes against the Houthi militia in Yemen has further weakened Iran.
In Syria, the Iranian incursion mitigates two main forces: Russia and Israel. As for Lebanon, the failed states is not good at politics. In the face of a major crisis with the Arab Gulf states, Lebanon’s politicians thought that the crisis was related to a minister who was naive and simple-minded, not to state policy, so they decided to dismiss him, and therefore Lebanon’s weight in the region is shrinking and fading, and the suffering of its people is increasing.
The nuclear deal that was concluded during the Obama administration, and which the current administration was desperate to restore, is a flawed and incomplete deal by all accounts. That's why it failed. The Trump administration made it clear that any other option is better than it without trouble, but this administration is clinging to internal American reasons to restore it. They are seeking to revive it with the same names and characters that participated in drafting it for the first time, and any sane person knows that when you make the same mistake twice, you should not expect different results.
Some Arab writers and the Arab media are haunted by the Western media’s discussions of the nuclear talks between America and Iran, and they are following every detail and controversy that comes up. The truth is that the Arab stance towards the nuclear talks is different and the political and media priorities are different, but this is not reflected in those media outlets or the opinions of writers and analysts. This is a major flaw that prevents the Arab observer from truly following the events, analyzing them and weighing their implications, without being influenced by the weak Western stances which are not concerned with Arab priorities for either politics or people.
The “impossible demands” are a summary of what Iran offers and demands, and are one of its ploys that it has always used to gain time. Its escalation of its nuclear project towards developing a nuclear weapon is in full swing, its ballistic missiles and booby-trapped marches are constantly developing, and its interventions in the affairs of Arab countries are increasing and moving into new areas, targeting different segments, the latest of which - for example - is reaching out to the Arab tribes in Deir ez-Zor, Syria.
Obama's "withdrawal" and "isolationist" vision, during his two terms, led to major problems for America and its allies around the world, and caused imbalances in the international balance of power. The “Arab Spring” and the “nuclear deal” with Iran were two things that this administration considered major political achievements, while the Arab countries and many countries of the world considered them bad things with very negative repercussions and consequences. When the current administration strives to revive the failed “nuclear deal” with Iran with its disadvantages then it is simultaneously seeking to revive a kind of “Arab Spring” under the same flashy slogans and fuzzy principles, at the forefront of which we find “democracy,” which the Biden administration has found plenty of time to call for this week enough time, carrying on making the same mistakes and committing the same sins, as if history did not teach people anything.
In order to recall very recent history, we can read Obama’s description in his book “The Promised Land” published in 2021 of the events of the Arab Spring. He says: “From the American point of view, the most important developments were taking place in Egypt, where an alliance of youth organizations, activists, left-wing opposition parties, prominent writers and artists launched a national call for a mass protest movement against President Mubarak's regime." This text is extensive in showing a lack of vision and awareness of what was happening, as it did not mention the Muslim Brotherhood at all, and in fact it was the group that ascended to power in Egypt and spread corruption, terrorism and chaos in all the countries of the Arab Spring.
Finally, the scene is repeated today with the same personalities and the same argument, i.e. “democracy”, as if what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, and what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya did not teach people anything. Whoever made mistakes that were historical sins impacting countries, nations and peoples, has no right to cling to the leadership of a world that he has withdrawn, while seeking to repeat the same mistakes and sins.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, pan-Arab outlet Asharq al-Awsat.