Iran, in what is a very unsurprising move, is claiming that what it agreed to in Geneva is not what the United States believed it agreed to. The Fars news agency in Iran reports that A fact sheet released by the white house is “invalid,” Iran’s Foreign ministry spokeswoman has said that,” What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action.”(1) If you’ve ever lived in Iran or the Middle East and spent time haggling in the Bazaar, you will recognize the technique.
The Iranian Government clearly realizes that in these negotiations that it has the upper hand. The European Union, China, Japan and India all desperately need Iran’s oil. The United States is naturally very reluctant to engage in a military solution given that Iran is much larger and has a much greater population than either Iraq or Afghanistan. In addition to this is the fact. That Iran would almost certainly in the event of conflict close the Strait of Hormuz. It is clear as well that both Russia and China are vying to use Iran as a cat’s-paw in their power games.
This Mexican Stand off high-lights a number of facts which we would do well to consider. Firstly it demonstrates the limitations of military based solutions. What would be the goal of military operations? Depending on how much air power we were willing to commit, we could possibly destroy Iran’s nuclear program. But what would the consequence be? It would only draw Iran deeper in the arms of Russia and China. Secondly it demonstrates that the United States should base its foreign policy on its on national interests, rather than nation building and policing. What will Iran gain from nuclear weapons? Apart from Ego gratification it will learn that Nuclear weapons have little in the way of military application, which is why they haven’t been used since 1945. Assuming Iran could deliver such a device they only be annihilated by a massive retaliation.
Lastly, it shows the limitations that western Democratic governments face when dealing with Authoritarian Regimes. Adm. C. Turner Joy, in his book, “How Communist Negotiate,”1 noted the advantage the Chinese had in the negotiations to end the Korean War. They did not have to face elections, opinion polls, or a critical media. It is a lesson we should take to heart.
1. Press Tv,Marzieh Afkham “Iran rejects ‘one sided’ U.S. Fact sheet on ndeal.
2. Joy, C. Turner How Communist Negotiate full text at http://archive.org/stream/howcommunistsneg008190mbp/howcommunistsneg008190mbp_djvu.txt