The Geneva talks between Iran and the P5+1 group may have been torpedoed, but they are not sunk. The possibility of at least an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program is still on. The saga continues next Wednesday.
Here I have detailed how, and for what turgid motives, France -- acting for Israel and the House of Saud -- derailed the negotiations last week.
Yet the basic win-win rationale, in the long run, remains. Tehran needs to get rid of the vicious US/Western sanctions package. And Washington wants more leverage in Southwest Asia, and across Eurasia.
Make no mistake; this negotiation is essentially between Washington and Tehran, despite the other players at the table. At the same time, the mere, tantalizing possibility of a deal affects the calculations of every player across Eurasia -- from Turkey to BRICS members Russia and China.Debunking a "march to war"
The White House and the State Department are now actively spinning that for the US Congress to impose even more sanctions -- on third-party nations trading with Iran -- would be "a march to war." With negotiations failing, President Obama would have no way to stop Iran's uranium enrichment; hardliners in Tehran would prevail and go for a bomb; and Washington would be forced to attack Iran.
This makes absolutely no sense. To start with, every informed actor -- from the IAEA to the alphabet soup of US intelligence agencies and even former Israeli Defense officials -- knows that Tehran does not have a weaponized nuclear program. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly condemned a nuclear weapon as un-Islamic and totally off-limits.
Iran not only does not have -- or want -- a bomb; it subscribes to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). On the other hand, Israel does not care for the NPT, and is a de facto nuclear power -- with warheads in the low hundreds.
Both India and Pakistan eschewed the NPT and built nuclear weapons. This does not mean that they will use them against one another. Their bombs are part of a dissuasion mechanism.
Even considering the very remote possibility that Tehran would abandon its (unstated) policy of reaching breakout nuclear capacity (the so-called "Japanese option") and decide to go for a bomb -- without first being attacked by Israel, the US, or both -- this would also be part of a dissuasion mechanism.
Washington never sanctioned Israel. On the contrary; it always "protected" Israel's non-denial denial about being a nuclear power. India and Pakistan were also never sanctioned. So why demonize Iran?
There are, of course, a cornucopia of motives; the impenetrable, 34-year Wall of Mistrust erected between Washington and Tehran after the Islamic Revolution; the fact that Washington elites have always wanted regime change; Iran's independent foreign policy; US corporate desire to access that fabulous energy wealth, not to mention opening up a huge virgin market.
By peddling the logic that failed negotiations would lead to war on Iran, the White House and the State Department are in fact pointing their fingers to their allies, the Likudniks in Israel and the House of Saud, who are already doing everything they can to derail Geneva.
As for war, it is already on -- as in financial war, a de facto blockade, with a nasty package of sanctions crippling Iran's oil exports especially to the West (Asian powers, for their part, have found myriad strategies to dodge the sanctions). It's this financial war that must be defused.Attention: Losers whining
The mere possibility of a tectonic geopolitical shift involving Iran has rankled potential "losers" -- the Saudi-Israeli axis -- to the extreme.
With a deal clinched, Tel Aviv -- who US Think Tankland always loves to exalt for bringing "balance" to the Middle East -- knows it would lose the pretext of invoking Iran's fictitious "existential threat' to divert attention from the Mother of All Problems; the occupation/apartheid system in Palestine.
As for the House of Saud, it survives thanks to the petrodollar system -- offered "protection," Mob-style, in the form of huge US weapons sales for regulating the oil market, which must be kept on the petrodollar.
Now comes a new confluence in the horizon. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani realized Tehran's formerly confrontational foreign policy must be recalibrated, as much as Obama refrained at the last minute from plunging "exceptional' America into yet another Middle East war, in Syria; that equally amounts to a confrontational foreign policy redefinition.