Thelesson the global stage is imparting to everyone right now is as follows: behave in the most aggressive and problematic way possible. As soon as you show signs of weakness, whether verifiable or not, you will be the star performer in the leading role. That is what is happening to Iran now, stripped by the UN, at the last minute, of the spotlight at the «Geneva 2» Peace Conference on Syria’s future.
The scene is composed of three basic scenarios: the first is the beginning of the operations of the interim agreement on the nuclear program between the P5 +1 and Iran. Within the next six months to a year they have to show positive signs of their good intentions and finally, according to the Americans, reach a definitive agreement. Iran, for now, has committed itself not to enrich its uranium beyond the 5 percent mark, and must dilute the uranium already enriched to 20 percent, a percentage that is suitable for the production of an atomic bomb. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) envoys will inspect the Arak power plant to make sure heavy water production is stopped. The inspectors will verify that Natanz and Fordow, two large, illegal and highly productive nuclear power plants, come to a halt. Today Ali Akhbar Salehi, the head of Iranian atomic energy, announced that the mechanism is already active. The 7 billion dollars coming from the end of the sanctions are moving. But the uranium remains in the territory, the centrifuges can still spin, the nuclear research is ongoing, on the next generation of centrifuges as well. That is, everything is entrusted to the political will of the Ayatollahs; the means to make an atomic bomb are still in their possession. President Rouhani’s tweet was not very promising: the Geneva accord is based on “the total surrender to Iran’s will.” So the future is uncertain, while the sanctions, which brought Iran to a partial surrender, instead of being reaffirmed, fall and the money returns to the Ayatollah’s coffers.
The second scenario, which prior to the UN’s reversal since Iran’s name at center stage appeared quite improper, was the conference which starts tomorrow at Montreaux to discuss the future of a poor Syria, torn by carnage. As everyone knows, Iran is a key player in the war that left 130,000 dead, which they’re trying to reconcile with the conference called ‘Geneva 2’. It supplied weapons to Assad and Hezbollah, placing its fighters alongside Assad. Ban Ki-moon, with useless self-confidence, and realizing that Assad won’t leave this scene, invited Iran to attend the conference. It was only after rebel protests that the invitation was withdrawn. Better late than never. The Americans had sent word that Tehran couldn’t attend; Russia was indispensable. All the while Assad continues his provocations, bombing the rebels (killing 80 last Sunday) and is declaring he will run for re-election in four months.
The last scenario: in Davos, Rouhani is at the top of the list of 40 world leaders and 2,000 key players in economics who will get together for the conference in Switzerland tomorrow. The president will have to attract a larger number of investors. And he will succeed. There’s a queue lining up to speak with him.
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale; English copyright, The Gatestone Institute