January 17, 2018

Appeasing Iran’s Mullahs

By: Kazem Kazerounian

Iran’s lobbyists in Washington are celebrating the White House announcement that U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns will attend talks in Geneva between the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran’s negotiator Saeed Jalili.

However, many political observers are puzzled by the unexpected change of heart of the U.S. administration of George W. Bush that talks would not be held until Iran halted its uranium enrichment program.

A few hours after the U.S. announcement, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that Iran will not cross its red line (namely halting uranium enrichment), but that nevertheless he permitted the negotiations!

While the U.S. actions seem paradoxical, by no means it is divergence from business as usual. The U.S. administration is now even considering opening an interest section (code for a low level consulate) in Tehran.

Five U.S administrations (Carter, Reagan, Bush senior, Clinton, and now Bush junior) have followed a path of confusion, commotion and lack of a cohesive policy against Iran. Despite what the proponents of the appeasement policy with Iran recite, all of these administrations have negotiated with mullahs and offered carrots by the ton.

The results have been embarrassment and retreat of U.S. administrations on one hand and emboldened theocratic dictators in Tehran and their terrorist proxies in the region on the other.

The United States has closed its eyes to Iran’s bombing of the U.S. base in Lebanon, taking hostages in Tehran, blowing up the U.S. compound in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, proxy terrorist insurgency in Iraq and Lebanon, providing safe haven for al-Qaida, instigating unrest and impediments to the peace process in the Middle East, hosting Holocaust denying conferences in Tehran, assassinating opposition figures worldwide, and barbarically treating its own people.

As a result we now find ourselves at a table appeasing a nuclear bully. We have negotiated to avoid war, and we find ourselves closer than ever to an ugly and disastrous war with Iran.

But why the sudden burst of affection? Have the Iranian mullahs suddenly abandoned their ideological aspirations to become a regional and international super power? Have Tehran dictators suddenly decided to become peaceful citizens of the world and co-exist with the West?

The answer is clearly no. Not even the supporters of the appeasement policy with Iran dare to suggest that the rest of us are naïve enough to be told that. The root cause of Iran’s willingness to negotiate (albeit not in good faith) should be sought elsewhere. Tehran’s mullahs have taken a series of serious blows from the Iranian resistance in recent weeks. The British parliament forced its own government to remove the Mojahedin-e-Khalg’s (MEK) name off the terror organizations list, citing that the reason their name was on the list to begin with was to appease the Iranian regime.

Following the support for MEK of 5.2 million citizens in Iraq last year, a national effort has curbed the infiltration of the Iranian proxies that country. Last month, 3 million Shia Iraqis (seemingly Iranian mullahs’ stronghold) expressed their support for MEK as the front line defense against the penetration of the Iranian Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

Last month in France 70,000 Iranians-in-exile gathered to hear Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian resistance. This meeting was the largest gathering of dissidents outside their own country. This week, 290 French parliamentarians (a clear majority) expressed support for MEK as the legitimate alternative to the Iranian theocracy.

News of numerous incidents of unrest by resistance supporters in various cities in Iran have been reported by the press in recent weeks. Constraining MEK has been at the top of the list of demands the mullahs have presented at every negotiating table they have sat at.

Recent events have sent shivers down the mullahs’ spines.

Consequently, Tehran is once again attempting a strategy that has proven successful for them over the past three decades: bait-and-switch. In other words, Iran will start negotiating. The act of negotiation by itself is a victory for Tehran, as it forces the West to drop all of their demands before coming to the table. A few weeks or months of negotiations give the ayatollahs time to find a way out.

Nevertheless, we should welcome this round of engagements.

The dream of our policy makers that moderate mullahs in Iran will negotiate in good faith and keep their word has become a mental block in their minds. Although costly, it seems that we have to pay the price for yet another growing pain. Maybe then the West will realize that the only option is that only Iranians and their resistance will be able to enact regime change in Iran.

Kazem Kazerounian is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut & Member of CT Academy of Science and Engineering.

(View Source – Middle East Times)