Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Advantage, Iran

Advantage, Iran

Dr. Reuven Berko

During the Cold War, at the border crossing between East and West Berlin, police would stop a laborer returning home every evening from work to the impoverished eastern side of the city. They would search through the box of sand he carried on his bicycle and find nothing. Eventually, when they had given up, police promised the worker that they would stop their searches if he told them what he is smuggling in the box of sand. The worker agreed and confessed that each evening he smuggled a bicycle into east Berlin.

The P5+1 group, led by the United States, is now conducting negotiations with representatives of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran's ceasing to develop its bomb. Khamenei has described the United States as the "great Satan." The West, surprisingly, is acting in accordance with the maxim that the "devil is in the details."

In the beginning, the U.S., Baroness Catherine Ashton and her friends were in a hurry to sign an agreement, but found themselves, willy-nilly, in pointless discussions of devilish subclauses. The Iranians are insisting on their right to enrich uranium, operate centrifuges, operate the heavy water reactor in Arak as well as the facility in Parchin, enrich uranium and continue to develop ballistic missiles. Representatives of the West are anxiously studying the "good cop and bad cop" dynamics in internal Iranian politics, lest the Iranians, God forbid, get angry and leave the negotiating table.

Thus the West has prepared in advance a plaster of semantics that will suffice to cover up the expected outrageous agreement.

Everyone knows that Iran is a country with no enemies threatening its existence, nor does it need nuclear energy as it is blessed with sufficient oil for its own energy needs as well as for export.

So what are they smuggling over there in Arak? Khamenei studied the Quran, as opposed to nuclear physics, and yet declared with expertise that enriching uranium was a "red line" for Iran. This declaration should have been enough for the Western powers to look for the bicycle. Iran's foreign minister tries to allay fears by saying that the negotiators have to iron out certain "conceptual differences as well as wording differences." Indeed, despite his careful study of the Quran, Khamenei managed to curse Israel's prime minister in colloquial Iranian as "a rabid dog" and declared Israel as "a country that will collapse."

Khamenei's "wording" troubles Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The threat to destroy Israel has become so trite and habitual that it does not even merit an apology or a cessation of talks.

Not one of the participants, not even Baroness Ashton, would continue talks in Geneva if their own country were threatened with destruction. This is a grave matter because the P5+1 has already caught Iran smuggling nuclear weapons on its bicycle under everyone's nose. For now, the West is in denial. This denial could ultimately descend into a nuclear arms race, and chaos.

The problem is that U.S. President Barack Obama, who has many failures under his belt, longs for an achievement for his administration. He is not interested in a military showdown with Iran on his watch. Perhaps he believes that the Russians, who brought about the dismantlement of Syrian chemical weapons, will do the same for a nuclear Iran?

The Iranians are feeling pressure, but not enough. The Iranian foreign minister, who "desires trust and dialogue," discerned Western weakness and eagerness to "close the deal," and therefore refuses to discuss demands to stop enriching uranium and stop operations of the heavy water reactor in Arak, the facilities in Parchin, the centrifuges and the missile development sites on the claim that these are basic Iranian rights.

On the other hand, Iran categorically demands the right to enrich uranium while expecting the revocation of banking and oil sanctions, and even threatens to abandon the discussions.

A famous producer of animated films, Leon Schlesinger, who happened to be Jewish, created the character of Bugs Bunny, a "rascally rabbit" who is continually taunting the clumsy, stupid, fat, rifle-toting American, Elmer Fudd. Sometimes Fudd wears a policeman's uniform, sometimes he is a hunter, but his stupidity always leads to tragedy: Fudd falls into an abyss while Bugs Bunny continues to insouciantly chomp on a carrot.

The results are foreordained. Despite Netanyahu's warnings, the U.S. at this very moment is rushing headlong into a deal while still hovering over an abyss along with Baroness Ashton and her friends. But like in the cartoons, these hasty actors will crash only when they look down and see the depth of the abyss beneath them. With or without sanctions, the Iranian nuclear bomb is being completed.