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The best policy for Iran is look inside strategy

Dr. Keyhan Barzegar

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Donald Trump and America’s increasing recession in pursuing its principles and returning its government to targeted policies based on the containment of regional power in Iran through the threat and political pressure revealed in its recent speech to the United Nations (as in the time of George W. Bush), this is an important lesson and the best way to deal with America’s hostile policies to rely on national power resources.

In the latest development, Minister of Foreign Affairs Zarif says in an interview with international media that “it is speculating that the US government will not adhere to Iran’s nuclear deal.” This is likely to be true, since Donald Trump, in addition to demanding the Obama administration of American domestic and foreign policy in all respects puts the main focus of his opposition to Iran on the basis of controlling the regional role of our country, traditionally the main focus of the Americans has been in regulating relations with Iran. But how should be our country’s policy dealing with this situation?

One way to deal with this Trump‘s policy is to use the “deep defense” strategy that has emerged in a kind of field in our country’s foreign policy over the past decade. This strategy seeks to strengthen Iran’s national and regional power globally, more than anything, in its “economic self-reliance” and “exploiting its geopolitical superiority” in order to increase Iran’s strategic role and role in foreign policy.

In the economic sphere, the focus of this strategy is on interacting with the outside world in order to attract investments, especially in the field of energy, thereby increasing the national economic capacities for the country’s economic development. In the political sphere, exploitation of geopolitical superiority is also important for strengthening interactive approaches and collective and multilateral efforts to stabilize and secure the region. On this basis, Dr. Zarif, the foreign minister, has already defined two Iranian foreign policy interests focusing on economic issues and strengthening relations in the neighborhood.

Donald Trump and America’s increasing recession in pursuing its principles and returning its government to targeted policies based on the containment of regional power in Iran through the threat and political pressure revealed in its recent speech to the United Nations (as in the time of George W. Bush), this is an important lesson that the best way to deal with America’s hostile policies to rely on national power resources. Now, the main excuse for Trump to refrain from prolonging the deal that Iran has not respected the spirit of accomplishment. In his view, the result of the effort that should bring regional cooperation and containment of Iran within the framework of the American political-security trends is just the opposite, and has added to the regional role of Iran.

Of course, this hypothesis is based on an incorrect basis for Americans. As the nuclear deal does not have much to do with regional issues, as the foreign minister has said. I have already said that, some unlike of the prevailing views, they dismantle the regional issues between Iran and the United States. This is not necessarily due to the constant hostility of the two countries, because of the natural algebra of the region and the roles of contradiction. The two countries have very different views on how to solve regional problems, to establish stability and security, to form the source of threats, to fight terrorism, for example, with ISIS, and so on. The experience of international relations also shows that a regional power never wants to modify its independent and influential role in favor of its transnational rivals. In fact, expansion of European, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, and Indian and other ties with Iran after further accomplishment was due to the country’s sovereign regional capacities.

Previously, Iran had come to the right strategic decision that the solution to the nuclear dispute with world powers, especially the United States, would add to Iran’s national power capacity in favor of the development and stability of the country. On this basis, the areas of nuclear deal were provided even before the government of Hassan Rouhani and in a multi-year process. In fact, it was the process of nuclear negotiations that changed the discourse of domestic politics towards pragmatism and balance in foreign policy.

Regional issues, especially the emergence of terrorism and Takfiri extremism of al-Qaeda and ISIS, have brought new challenges to the Iranian national state with centuries of historical events and civilization. Iran’s response to these threats, for example, in Syria and Iraq, has been to “prevent” the threat from responding quickly to threats in the region by exploiting its superior geopolitical position. Iran’s neutrality in the Qatari crisis and its opposition to the recent referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region of Iraq are rightly based on their negative impact on the broader dimensions of instability in the region, in particular the fight against terrorism, which can be sustained at the expense of development and security of the country.

Ultimately, the main goal of the deal from non-prolongation is to send the message that the United States remains loyal to its traditional policies in the region, namely, to control Iran’s power. Under these circumstances, the best policy for Iran is to focus on the “look inside” strategy, which is building on the resources of the national power to try to secure our independent economic, political and security capacities for an active, interactive and multilateral foreign policy to face Trump.

First published at Center for Middle East Research and Strategic Studies

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The economic summit in Bahrain won’t be about Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Ksenia Svetlova

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In less than two weeks Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt will present in Manama the first part of the long-awaited “deal of the century”, the peace initiative of president Donald Trump designed to find an ultimate solution for the prolonged Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Iraq and Lebanon will not take part in the event, while Tehran had already accused the participants, mainly Saudi Arabia of “betrayal of the Palestinian struggle”. Following the massive pressure on Arab leaders and promises of significant economic development, the American administration was finally able to secure the participation of Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states, and probably Morocco. Israel didn’t receive an official invitation for this event yet. It is, however, clear that it will be invited, and some rumors imply that PM Netanyahu himself might come to Bahrain, a country with which Israel doesn’t have any diplomatic relations.

Yet, it seems that this odd event in Manama will resemble a wedding without the bride. The groom will be there, so are the loving parents who will provide the dowry and the guests, but the bride, i.e. the Palestinian autonomy had already declared that it will not send any official or unofficial delegation to the upcoming economic conference.

The relations between the White House and the Palestinian administration had gone sour since President’s Trump decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The Palestinians are suspicious of Trump’s attempts to promote “a deal” that might not include a reference to a two-state solution. For the last two years, the sole connection between Washington and Ramallah has been maintained by the respective security agencies.  Recent remarks made by the U.S. Ambassador to Israel on Israeli territorial claims in Judea and Samaria and the hints of Israel’s annexation plans intensified Palestinian concerns towards the unveiling of the first part of “the deal”. Palestinian officials had harshly criticized the participation of Arab countries in Bahrain conference, expressing hope that they will send low-key representation, while the Jordanian Kind explained that he decided to send a delegation to the summit “to listen and remain knowledgeable of what is taking place”.

Yet, the most fascinating thing about the economic conference is that it’s not at all about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict despite its title. With only one year left prior to the US presidential elections and considering the political turmoil in Israel and the unwillingness of the Palestinian partner to engage in any plan presented by Trump’s administration, there is little hope in Jerusalem, Ramallah or Washington that the “deal of the Century” will accumulate in peaceful solution in the current century.

Why, then, the American administration is investing time and energy in the upcoming Bahrain summit? The answer is clear: mostly, to consolidate the alliance of the “moderate Arab states”.  Considering the recent dramatic events at the sea of Oman and the attack on two oil-tankers, it will not be far-fetched to imagine that the growing tensions in Iran will overshadow the official reason for the gathering. In the same fashion, the “anti-terror” conference in Warsaw that took place in February this year, was solely about Iran, while all other aspects of anti-terrorism activities were left behind. The deterioration of the situation in the Persian Gulf is crucial for the hosts and their allies – the Arab countries in the Gulf. Egypt and Jordan were required to be there because they are key American allies in the region who also maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. The plan that is envisaged by Kushner and Greenblatt will include economic benefits and development programs for both Amman and Cairo who are dealing with pressing economic hardships. Would they prefer to stay away from the conference that is being shunned by the Palestinians? Probably. Could these two countries, who receive significant economic help from the US say no to the invitation and not show up at the wedding of the century? Highly unlikely.

Ironically, some 52 years ago in Khartoum, it was the Arab league that had unanimously voted on the famous “three no’s” resolution in Khartoum, declining any possibility of dialogue with Israel. Today, when the Arab states are weakened by the “Arab spring” and preoccupied with growing tensions in the Persian Gulf while the focus has shifted from the Palestinian question elsewhere, they are more prone than ever to go along with practically any American plan, while the only ones who refuse to cooperate with Trump and obediently fulfil his orders are the Palestinians who will be absent from Manama gathering. The support of the Palestinian struggle and its importance in Arab politics had dwindled, while other regional affairs had moved center stage. Considering this dramatic change of circumstances, the odd wedding in Bahrain doesn’t seem so odd anymore. It can be seen as yet another step in American attempts to consolidate an Arab alliance against Iran. The Palestinian-Israel conflict that will keep simmering after the conference just as it did before has nothing to do with it.

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Who benefits most of suspicious attacks on oil tankers, tensions in the Gulf?

Payman Yazdani

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The events roiling the Persian Gulf in recent weeks and days have the potential to affect everything from the price of gas to the fate of small regional states.

A look at the tensions going on around the world including the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, East Europe, Venezuela all indicate that these tensions originate from the US administration’s unilateral unlawful measures.

The White House’s unlawful withdrawal from the Iran’s nuclear deal (JCPOA), designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, reimposing sanctions on Iran and trying to drive Iran’s oil export to zero all are provocative and suspicious moves of the US that have fueled the regional tensions.

The US and its regional allies including Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s suspicious and provocative move to accuse Iran of being behind the attacks on two ships at Fujairah in the UAE without presenting any document was also foiled by Iran’s vigilant approach and reduced tensions to some extent.

While the Japanese Prime Minister is visiting Iran after 4 decades and many expected even more reduction of the tensions in the region due his visit, in another suspicious and provocative move two oil tankers were targeted in Sea of Oman, a move that can intensify the tensions more than before.

Undoubtedly the US and its proxies in the region as usual will accuse of Iran being behind the incident without any document in hours once again, but the main question is that who is benefiting the most of the tensions in the Persian Gulf region?

Pondering the following reasons one can realize that the number one beneficiary of the tensions and attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is the USA and respectively Tel Aviv and the undemocratically  appointed rulers of some regional Arab states seeking their survival in following the US policies.

– Contrary to decades ago the US is now one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world seeking to grab the market share of the other countries in the world. Following US unlawful withdrawal from the JCPOA and its efforts to drive Iran’s oil export to zero under the pretext of different accusations, in fact the US is making efforts not only to grab Iran’s share of the energy market but also to limit Iran’s income to reduce Iran’s regional influence. The US move to create tensions in Venezuela and East Europe and slapping sanctions against Caracas and Moscow can also be interpreted in this line.

– Any tension in the Persian Gulf not only will increase the energy price in global market but also will create enough pretexts for Washington to boost its military presence in the region. This means control of energy routes by the US in order to contain its rivals like China, EU, Japan and new rising economies like India which their economies are heavily dependent on the energy coming from the Persian Gulf and Middle East.

– Tensions in the region besides Iranophobia project will guarantee continuation of purchase of American weapons by some regional countries such as Saudi Arabia. By continuation of selling weapons to Saudi Arabia the US not only creates thousands of jobs for Americans but also keeps its rivals like China and Russia out of Middle East weapon market.

– Tensions and conflicts created by the US in Middle East has resulted in great rifts and divergence among regional states which is vital for Tel Aviv’s security and its expansionist policies.

From our partner MNA

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The odds of success for Japanese PM’s visit to Iran

Payman Yazdani

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US President’s recent retreat from his previous rhetoric stances towards Iran should not be misinterpreted as the White House’s retreat from its policy of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran.

In line with its maximum pressure on Iran policy, on Friday the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran that target the country’s petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group, the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC).

The main reason behind the changes to Trump administration’s tone against Iran in fact is internal pressure on him. Americans are against a new war in the region. Also opposition from the US allies which will suffer from great losses in case of any war in the region is another reason behind change to Trump’s tone.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is slated to visit Tehran on Wednesday June 12. He hopes to use his warm relation with Iran and the US to mediate between the countries.

Besides Abe’s warm relations with Iranian and the US leaders there are others reasons that potentially make him a proper mediator including Japan’s efforts to have independent Middle East policy and not having imperialistic record in the region which is a good trust building factor for Iran.

Above all, as the third largest economy of the world Japan is very dependent on the energy importing from the region. Japan imports 80 percent of its consuming energy from the Middle East which passes through Hormuz strait, so any war and confrontation in the region will inflict great losses and damages to the country’s economy and consequently to the world economy.

To answer the question that how Mr. Abe’s efforts will be effective to settle the tensions depends on two factors.

First on the ‘real will’ and determination of the US and Iran to solve the ongoing problems especially the US ‘real will’. One cannot ask for talk and at the same time further undermine the trust between the two sides by taking some hostile measures like new sanctions that the US slapped against Iran’s petrochemical section last night on the eve of Mr. Abe’s visit to Tehran. If there is a real will, even no need to mediator.

Second we have to wait to see that how the Japanese PM will be able to affect the US’ decisions. Iran’s Keivan Khosravi spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council said efforts to remove US extraterritorial sanctions against Iran could guarantee the success of Japanese PM’s visit to the Islamic Republic.

From our partner MNA

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