The end of sanctions against Iran

The lifting of the international sanctions that were punishing Iran for its fearsome nuclear program — continuously denied by the Islamic regime of the ayatollah, but evidently under construction and aimed against the West – has now allowed Iran to get rich and expand its international relations.

Good news? Well… From a full member State of the United Nations one would not expect the execution of 700 people in the first half of 2015, the sentencing to death of homosexuals, the imprisonment of dissidents, the consideration of a woman’s witnessing in court as half of a man’s.

From a State that smiles at Obama as an equal, one would expect that it stops proclaiming that it will destroy Israel, calling it “a rotten root”, and that it stops using the fundamental slogan of “death to the United States of America” in the wake of its supreme leader, ayatollah Khamenei.

From a country called to help re-establish global balance, one would not expect the construction of a new ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, while the world congratulates it for its renunciation to the nuclear, nor the holding as hostage of ten American seamen freed – what a coincidence – exactly at the time of the lifting of the sanctions.

Following the agreement that in fact shall be the true practical and ideological heritage left to us by Obama, all of Iran’s ayatollahs’ trading and relations will be legitimized.

It has been calculated that 100 billion dollars will quickly fly into the Iran’s accounts and the rest of the world is optimistically hoping that its population, that has suffered so much under the extremist decisions of its leadership since the 1979 Islamic revolution, shall finally see the proceeds of this new aperture, shall live better, shall enjoy greater freedom.

Should this ever happen, this will be the only positive aspect of an agreement that places into Iranian hands the legal permission – never forgone – to start building an atomic bomb again in the next ten years.

In the meantime, Iran has such loose control regulations that it is perfectly capable of continuing its cat and mouse game of concealment with the IAEA, the UN’s atomic agency, just as it has done in the last twenty years.

Obviously, everything is possible. However, today, as things stand, the inflow of cash will allow the ayatollah to continue their armaments policy that as of now is worth 2-3 billion dollars a year and that will multiply exponentially.

This policy will reach the farthest corners of the Middle East, favoring the Hezbollah who already possess thousands of lethal Iranian missiles, defends Assad in Syria and actually rules in Lebanon; the Houty that instigate war in Yemen, and Hamas that has close relations with Teheran, and all of the Shi’ite minorities of the Arab and Muslim world in general. Obama, as well as the European Union, hopes that the agreement with Iran may help defeat the Sunnite ISIS.

On the other hand, the extensive Sunnite world headed by Saudi Arabia feels challenged, and the fear of the newly regained power of its historical enemy is such as to have led it to enter a new agreement with another nuclear power, Pakistan. In short, Obama’s ideal world is very pretty but also very risky.

The only guarantee we have that the agreement could work is in the replacement of the current Iranian leadership, but Khamenei holds many cards and, as we can see, plays them with cunning, patience and determination. And what is his goal? Islamic supremacy.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Grazia (January 22, 2016)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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