Opportunity for peace, diplomacy – When Iran reclaims its place at the world’s table

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SHAFAQNA - Today, Iran is determined to turn the page on mistrust and political manipulations to herald an era of collaboration, at a time when fundamentalism threatens to engulf the pan-Arab world.

Ever since Iran rose in opposition and rejection of monarchical totalitarianism in 1979, Western powers have looked on with suspicion, arguing the Islamic Revolution stood a danger to western democracies. Rather than recognize in Iran’s new Republic, the victory of popular will and the assertion of political self-determination, Western capitalists instead saw the rise of a competitor, one which would reclaim its natural resources for its own and no longer tolerate the plundering of its sovereign wealth.

Iran’s run in with the West traces back to the 1950s, when the United States, under the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower chose to support Britain’s claim over Iran’s oil by engineering a coup against its uncompromisingly nationalist prime minister: Mohammad Mosaddegh. If prior to 1953 Iran had looked upon the United States as a force for good, a lighthouse for aspiring civil states, treachery dissipated whatever hopes Iran had in cultivating a friendship with America.

If not for Operation Ajax, Iranians would not have endured two decades of despotism by a man once labeled “a megalomaniac” by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci.

But this was then…

Today, Iran is determined to turn the page on mistrust and political manipulations to herald an era of collaboration, at a time when fundamentalism threatens to engulf the pan-Arab world (MENA region and Central Asia).

July 2015 nuclear deal was really about mending fences and building bridges. In all fairness Iran’s concessions towards its nuclear program were negligible since Tehran never intended any form of militarization. The so-called “threat” only ever existed in the mind of those powers, Israel in the lead, which sought to hedge propaganda to better sell war.

To much of Washington and Tel Aviv’s neo-cons disappointment, war was averted – diplomacy and reason prevailed!

But Iran’s deal did not simply lay to rest a decades-long argument over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions; it opened the door to opportunity, in that the Islamic Republic would be now in the position to exercise its influence in the region: brokering peace and assuaging tensions, without outside interferences.

As Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once again reiterated during his visit to Beirut, on August 12, with his Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil, Iran is ready to cooperate with all regional countries in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Zarif best expressed Iran’s intentions towards the international community back in July 3rd, when he uploaded a message onto Youtube, clearly hoping to reach out to the public without the damaging filter of media propaganda.

“Some stubbornly believe that military and economic coercion can ensure submission. They still insist on spending other people’s money or sacrificing other people’s children for their own delusional designs.
I see hope, because I see emergence of reason over illusion … you can’t gain at the expense of others; such gains are always short-lived. Only balanced agreements can withstand the test of time.
We are ready to strike a balanced and good deal; and open new horizons to address important, common challenges.
Our common threat today is the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism.”

FM Zarif’s message could not be clearer – Iran is a country committed to peace which can, through its regional alliances and political traction succeed where others [western powers] have failed.

But US officials already know that Iran was never a belligerent power.

A January 2014 US Department of Defense analysis, for example, observed: “Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.” In February 2015, Lt. General Vincent Stewart, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, repeated this conclusion, saying that Iranian military policy is meant “to deter an attack, survive an initial attack if deterrence fails, and retaliate against an aggressor to force a diplomatic resolution.”

As political commentator Marwa Osman asserted in comments to Mehr News, “there can be no lasting peace in the MENA without Iran, as Iran remains a cornerstone in the regions’ socio-political fabric.” A regional powerhouse, Iran has already proven an invaluable ally in Iraq against ISIL.

More importantly, Iran speaks for the people as it knows only too well the bite of despotism and politically-motivated sectarianism.

At such a time when Washington, London and Paris are all but spent politically in the Arab world, as their promises have proven as empty and unreliable as their policies, the international community could use a measure of integrity.

As far as Tehran is concerned, Iran has always carried itself with great consistency.

For the first time in over a decade of perpetual wars against the Middle East, peace has been given a platform and a champion. Maybe this time, western democracies, or at least its people, will recognize a kindred spirit in the Islamic Republic, and realize that the real enemies are those professing death and global unrest to better serve their hunger for domination.

Why doubt Iran when all it has worked to do is support and assist nations’ self-rule ambitions? From Syria to Bahrain and Yemen, Iran has always stood a bulwark against political oppression, arguing a people should be made to choose their leaders.

In sharp contrast, Israel and its partners have played terror to manifest the balkanization of the Middle East. Such a principle was unabashedly expressed by David Ben Gurion, one of Israel’s founding fathers when he stated that land grabbing, expulsion of non-Jewish natives from their land/homes and territorial expansion is best achieved through launching wars of choice and creating social chaos, which he called “revolutionary” times or circumstances.

In this context the villains of the story hide not in Tehran but in Western powers’ deplorable friendships.

 

By Catherine Shakdam  – First appeared in Mehr News Agency.

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