Obama’s Iran Strategy: Are Regional Developments Related to Final Nuclear Deal?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ali Mousavi Khalkhali
Member of Editorial Board of Iranian Diplomacy

While Iranian diplomats are busy holding consultations and doing diplomatic bargaining in Geneva over the text of a possible final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, new developments are taking place in the region. ISIS’ advances continue both in Iraq and Syria and the terrorist group has brought new areas under its control. At present, more than 50 percent, and some even say 60 percent, of Syria is out of control of the central government in Damascus. Also in Iraq, Ramadi, the capital city of the western Anbar province has fallen to ISIS, making the situation in Iraq more chaotic. Regardless of whether such developments are indicative of the failure of the United States strategy toward Iran and its coalition in fighting ISIS, some experts with close knowledge of regional developments have a different viewpoint.

Last week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned that he had information indicating that some regional leaders, in line with their Western allies, are hatching a plot in order to bring proxy wars close to the Iranian borders. Informed sources believe that when the Supreme Leader says this, he is fully aware of the ongoing developments in this region and, therefore, his remarks are totally accurate and rooted in the existing realities in the region.

Informed sources have also told the Iranian Diplomacy that on the verge of a possible final deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries, the United States and its allies in the region are trying to provide conditions that when the deal is signed, Iran would be at its weakest position in the region in security and political terms. This means that they want Iran to be engaged in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and sign the final agreement not from a position of power, but out of helplessness and because it would have no other choice. Now that the Western countries suppose that they have been able to put pressure on the Iranian economy through sanctions and, as they allege, force Iran to sit at the negotiating table, now it is time to make Iran give in to negotiations on security concerns.

According to those sources, Americans are doing their best to undermine Iran's position in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. To achieve this goal, they are putting the highest pressure on volunteer popular forces in Iraq because they believe that these forces are actually Iran's military arm in Iraq and in future, they will be able to scuttle the United States’ plants across the region and turn the table in favor of Iran. And in Syria, it is quite evident who is making the most of the situation. At present, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) are not considered the United States’ enemies any more in order to encourage them to fight for a different goal. This is why military forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar Assad have been losing their positions recently.

Many experts also believe that the fall of the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad is still a red line for the US President Barack Obama. Of course, various secret services in the United States have assured him that the security belt around Baghdad is so powerful that the fall of Baghdad would not come about easily. The same approach applies to Syria as well. Secret services in the United States believe that despite recent advances by ISIS, the fall of Damascus would not be possible in near future.

Therefore, also the fall of Ramadi cost dearly for the foreign policy apparatus of Obama administration, the Americans will use it as a stage in their trial-and-error strategy in the region. Experts are of the opinion that based on Obama’s strategy, the United States should reach agreement with Iran over different regional issues topped by Iran's nuclear issue. However, this agreement will only happen when Iran would practically feel that it has to reach an agreement with the United States. In other words, such a feeling would be taken as a sign of weakness in Iran.

As put by American experts, Obama has reached the conclusion that under the present circumstances, no power can stand on the same par with Iran in the region. Arab countries of the region are all in the weakest position they have experienced during the past two or three decades and Saudi Arabia, despite its claim to be the leader of the Arab world, has broken no major ground in its foreign policy as of yet. Riyadh has been neither successful in Syria, nor in Iraq. Even now and in the heat of Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen, the coalition that Riyadh has formed is shrinking day by day. As a result, although major Arab countries are apparently members of this coalition, they have practically quit it and are not ready for any actual cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Saudi Arabia is a weak country which cannot be counted on. On the other hand, reaching an agreement with Iran will not be easy as well. Iran is the enemy of the United States, the West, and most importantly, Israel, and from the viewpoint of Western countries, an agreement with Iran must not mean more power for Tehran in other regional cases.

This is why in his recent meeting with leaders of the Persian Gulf Arab states during the Camp David Summit in Washington, Obama said he will never sign an agreement with Iran that would increase Tehran’s power against other countries and cause fear among Arab states. Also, in a recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, the national correspondent for The Atlantic, he said the United States has had the highest level of security cooperation with Israel in recent months. It is quite evident that such a high level of security cooperation is more against Iran than any other regional state. In other words, the assurances that Obama has given the Arab states and Israel about reaching a “good” agreement with Iran means that such an agreement will be only reached when the United States comes to conclusion that Iran has been weakened enough.

Key Words: Obama, Iran Strategy, Regional Developments, Final Nuclear Deal, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, ISIS, Iraq, Syria, P5+1, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), Ramadi, Saudi Arabia, Camp David Summit, Mousavi Khalkhali

Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD)
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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*Photo Credit: National Review

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