Europe’s Iran Card in Struggle against US
Israeli officials have travelled to Europe to consult with European officials about Iran. To what extent, in your opinion, is Europe's approach with regard to Iran in line with that of Israel?
Israeli officials' consultations with the Europeans are within the framework of this country's attempts to gain the West's agreement with a harsh move and a fighting approach against Iran's nuclear program. In other words, at the present juncture, the Israelis pursue two objectives; first, they do not agree with the re-election of Barack Obama and they are making great efforts for a Mitt Romney victory in the US presidential election, for they see him as being more in line with their goals; their second objective is to move the situation forward in such a way so that what is considered as the red line in Iran's nuclear program and for their own security is accepted by the West and the West accompanies Israel in preventing Iran from reaching this red line. This red line, as was proposed in Netanyahu's speech at the UN General Assembly, is the acquisition of nuclear capabilities with which Iran could build a nuclear bomb under any conditions and whenever it wished to. This is while some other countries consider Iran's decision to build nuclear weapons as the red line. This difference exists between the positions of Obama and Romney. Obama tries to contain Iran through sanctions, but Mitt Romney and the Zionists believe that Iran will not be contained in this way and they must stop Iran's nuclear program with a military approach. It seems that neither the Obama administration nor the Europeans are willing to pursue a military approach with regard to Iran alongside Israel, and despite their support for Israel, they do not intend to engage in a war in the Middle East again. Their concern is being forced to enter an unwanted war, meaning that Israel attacks Iran without their agreement and, practically, involves them in such a war. Based on this reason, recently Sir John Sawers, the Head of the MI6, Britain's intelligent service, visited Israel and warned this country against taking military measures against Iran.
During recent days, reports were published about direct Iran-US negotiations. To what extent, do you believe, Israeli officials' trips to Europe can be related to these reports? Is it possible that Israel and Europe are concerned about the closeness of Iran and the US?
It does not seem that the report which was first published by the New York Times, stating that Iran and the US have agreed on the establishment of bilateral negotiations, was correctly based. It is true that Mr. Ahmadinejad expressed Iran's readiness to negotiate with the US in his trip to New York, but it does not seem that the government of Ahmadinejad is in a position to be trusted by the Americans and it doesn’t seem that, through negotiating with his government, they would seek to gain concessions which would impact the result of the presidential election. It means that the conditions are different from those of Ronald Reagan's election. Furthermore, it seems impossible that, under the present conditions, someone would be appointed by the Supreme Leader to negotiate with the US. But there is no doubt that there have always been people, like Hooshang Amirahmadi, who try to introduce themselves as mediators between the two countries, and the officials have never blocked their path, because they might be helpful one day in suitable conditions. Nevertheless, it does not seem that these visits would be related to these reports.
Recently, the position of European officials with regard to Iran's nuclear program has become harsher. For example, Laurent Fabius, France's Foreign Minister, has stated that Iran should be prevented from building nuclear weapons. Can these positions mean that the Europeans, at the present time, disagree with a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US? Do the US and Europe have a sense of competition with regard to Iran?
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Europe has attempted to prevent the absolute dominance of the US in the world, and it still continues this trend. Even before that and during the Gorbachev government, the plan for the Common European Home proposed by Germany and attempts to create unity with the Soviet Union at that time, showed that the Europeans, while cooperating with the US, were in competition with this country. But the events in Afghanistan and Iraq and also the Balkans proved to them that they could not rely on the US, as they had done after WWII, and that they had to accept more responsibilities instead. Perhaps, the creation of the European Union can be evaluated in the same line. One of the most important points of competition between Europe and the US has been the Middle East region (no matter how we define the Middle East) and especially Iran, about which it has played a significant role during the past few years.
A response to this question needs more explanations and evidence so that the interests of European countries, particularly Britain and France, in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the Persian Gulf region can be better assessed. Although Iran's role, following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, has apparently not been positive for the West, it has been a blessing for the Europeans because they have played the Iran card against the US establishment in the region and its absolute dominance in the world, and especially the Middle East, and provided their financial and even political and economic interests.
The three issues of Iran's nuclear program, terrorism and human rights have always been issues of dispute between Iran and the West. What are the differences between Europe and the US in prioritizing these issues? Is it a correct analysis to say that the US pays more attention to the nuclear issue than to human rights violations? Is their view different from that of Europe?
It seems that the cases that you mentioned are issues of concern for Europe as well, and the US, Europe, and their allies have had a common position with regard to these issues, as we have seen with Iran's nuclear program, where the P5+1 have taken common positions. But, due to the domestic conditions of most European countries, the issue of human rights is more important; meanwhile, since the US, based on its international role, feels more responsible about Israel's security, it shows more sensitivity with regard to Iran's nuclear issue.
During the reformist government, Iran's negotiating parties were three European countries, which were later transformed to the P5+1. To what extent, do you believe, Iran's opinion was considered in this change?
It is obvious that Iran's mistake, not only tactically, but also strategically, was directly entering the US in the scene. Perhaps, the assessment of the officials was that with the US’ entrance, it would be more difficult to reach a common decision and competition between the countries would lead to Iran's immunity. But, on the contrary, the decisions were made faster, and with unwise statements made by Iranian officials, Iran's nuclear dossier was securitized and delivered to the Security Council. Several resolutions were adopted and more harmony was created in exerting pressure on Iran, not only between the westerners, but also with Russia and China, the result of which is the present hardships Iran faces.