No Difference between Rohani and Ahmadinejad for Netanyahu

05 October 2013 | 17:26 Code : 1922455 Interview General category
An interview with Dr. Assadollah Athari, a university professor and analyst of regional affairs
No Difference between Rohani and Ahmadinejad for Netanyahu

October 4th, 2013 - by Shahrzad Saeedi

Netanyahu has once again displayed his enmity towards Iran. A large part of his speech at the UN General Assembly was about Iran and Hassan Rohani. He stated that Rohani must not be trusted, because Iran’s recent actions are meant to deceive. On the other hand, Obama, who intends to win the trust of the Israelis, announced after his meeting with Netanyahu that the military option against Iran is still on the table. Iran also reacted in return and Zarif even stated on his official Twitter account that President Obama needs to have consistency in order to promote bilateral trust. However, despite all the ups and downs and the efforts of the Zionist lobby, it seems that the two countries have made a strong decision and are fully determined to reach an agreement and resolve the issues and problems in the Middle East through cooperation. Iranian Diplomacy spoke with Dr. Assadollah Athari, a university professor and analyst of regional affairs, about Netanyahu’s speech at the UN and its effects on Obama’s decision-making.

Netanyahu made a speech at the UN General Assembly and this time said that Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing but Rohani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. How would you assess Netanyahu’s statements compared with his previous statements during the past few years? Has there been any change in his positions after the coming to power of Rohani and his administration?

Netanyahu authored a book in the 1990s entitled “A Place Under The Sun” wherein he considered Iran as the biggest threat for Israel and the free world. He had this view before he became prime minister and it seems that his thoughts have not deeply and fundamentally changed during the course of time.

Some Israeli analysts are similar to the Iranian analysts; for example, since the Islamic Republic of Iran has no friendship with the Zionist regime, if Netanyahu comes to power, or Ehud Barak or Sharon, Iran states that these governments are not righteous and views them as illegitimate. Or it is said that no matter what regime comes to power, due to certain characteristics, it cannot be trusted. Similarly, the Israelis share the same view on Iran stating that no matter whether Ahmadinejad is in power or Rohani or Khatami, such a government is fundamentally illegitimate and it makes no difference who comes to power. This is while each government has its own characteristics. For example, the viewpoint of Yitzhak Rabin with regard to the issue of Palestine was different from the views of Sharon and others, or the ideology of the Labor Party is different from that of Likud Party, as the views of Khatami and Rohani are completely different from those of Ahmadinejad.

Netanyahu has, hitherto, made great efforts and has been stating since ten years ago that the Iranians will achieve an atomic bomb within the next six months. This view has caused his radical cabinet to be maintained and it seems that Rohani and his team have made his task very difficult because they are acting diplomatically and wisely and do not let the Israelis take advantage of this situation.

Netanyahu has, once again, talked about the intensification of sanctions against Iran as the best effective tool and has also threatened with a military attack. Are such statements credible considering the situation of today’s world especially the US’ flexibility with regard to Iran? Will these statements affect Iran-US relations?

As it was reported, Obama had apparently talked with Netanyahu before his talks with Rohani and it seems that there has been some collaboration in this regard. Therefore, it must be said from this viewpoint that there is still collaboration between the Zionist regime and the US with regard to Iran. But the US tactics are different from them. Obama believes that he could reach his objectives by becoming close to Iran instead of distancing himself from it. For example, the Americans pursued the same path with regard to Cuba and Fidel Castro for about 50 years and right now it does not seem that they intend to pursue the same path and continuously increase sanctions.

The main US objective is for Iran’s nuclear program not to become militarized and the Iranians have, several times, stated that this is not their intention like South Korea or the agreements which Turkey has recently signed with Russia. Iran’s example is, in fact, similar to that of Japan that does not pursue military objectives and there is no need for military use of nuclear improvements. Therefore, nuclear capabilities are different from atomic war capabilities and the Iranians have chosen the Japanese model. Israel attempts to show that Iran’s nuclear program is moving towards military objectives.

In other words, the US imposed sanctions against Cuba for about 50 years and caused this country to move towards Russia, so why should this scenario be repeated now for Iran for Iran to become closer to Russia and Europe and more distant from the US? This policy is a failed policy based on which Iran would get closer to other countries for there are common interests between Iran and the US in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and in the Persian Gulf, thus the US tries not to lose Iran.

Joe Biden has said that there is a moral bond between the US and Israel and if Israel did not exist in the region, we would have had to establish a country which would support US interests. The question is why should the US feel so indebted to Tel Aviv and what is this moral link?

What they mean is the Jewish-Christian values or their defense of democracy and moral issues. But Joe Biden’s statements do not mean much in the Middle East. It means that when the Palestinians are killed by the Zionist regime, these moral values are not important for the Americans and move along the lines of Jewish values.

Israel and the US signed a strategic agreement in 1983. This agreement is more important to them than moral issues. Thus, it must be reiterated that what brings them closer to each other is their interests and such an agreement, as Obama has repeatedly stated that what is important for the US is Israel’s security. Hence, moral values are a cover for the strategic objectives of Tel Aviv and Washington.

Iran, and particularly Mohammad Javad Zarif, has shown a strong reaction against Obama’s statements after his meeting with the Israeli official. Zarif had stated that if the US pursues the same path, the wall of mistrust would not be destroyed and that Netanyahu is a hated figure. What is your assessment of the views of the new administration in Iran and its future programs?

I do not share the same view as Mohammad Javad Zarif in this regard. The reason is that as Rohani is under pressure in Iran by the opposition with regard to his interaction with the US, Obama is also under pressure by certain groups. This issue must be understood, particularly between two countries which have had numerous problems during the past 35 years. Therefore, it must not be thought that the Americans are retreating from their positions. Instead, the power circles and pressure groups and the military must be first analyzed in this country and then positions could be taken. But the outcome is that if the US acts contrary to its declared policy, which it would not, it will lose its status in the international community, thus, it will act according to what it has proposed.

So you believe that despite all the problems and pressures exerted upon both the Rohani and Obama administrations, the differences between the two countries would be resolved?

Right now, several issues are proposed. Some believe that the government of Iran is deceiving the Obama administration and some state that the Iranian government has been deceived by the US or this process was a tactical mistake in Iran. This is not heroic flexibility, but that rather the pressures caused by the sanctions have forced Iran to move in this direction …. The powerful pressure groups will use this situation to their advantage. The weight of these groups must be understood and that there are powerful groups in both countries which would prevent negotiations between Iran and the US from taking place.

tags: iran rohani zionist netanyahu israel obama US