On Thursday, February 3, the Wall Street Journal quoted senior officials from the Biden administration that even if the world powers manage to strike a deal with Tehran, the regime would still be capable of producing a nuclear warhead within a year, practically rendering any deal futile.
For almost the entire life span of the new century, the Iranian nuclear dossier has been one of the most serious foreign policy challenges of the northern hemisphere and governments. No matter their political leanings, governments have had a tough time figuring out how to prevent a new nuclear-armed rough state like Iran.
The West in particular has tried quite an erratic approach, varying from ‘critical dialogue’ to ‘positive engagement’ and ‘constructive dialogue’. The former U.S. administration also tried the ‘maximum pressure’ policy towards Tehran. But the clerical regime’s response remained static: a multi-layered security strategy, using regional proxy warfare, a growing ballistic missile program, and the nuclear weapons program. All three served but one purpose: maximum extortion from the global community.
For years, the West has been changing its behavior vis-à-vis Tehran, offering security guarantees, refusing to support the popular uprising in Iran, ignoring gross and systemic human rights violations in the country, blacklisting the main Iranian opposition movement, and even trying in vain to dismantle it. For its part, the Iranian regime frequently changed tone, but in practice, it refused to move an inch.
From its foundation until the very beginning of the 21st century, the Iranian regime has been the most active sponsor of global terrorism. But the West kept on releasing the captured terrorists or paying the ransom, which essentially funded Tehran’s hostage-taking policy. It took 9/11 and two major wars for the United States to wake up to the newest global threat, something the Iranian Resistance had been warning about as early as 1993.
The West was so persistent in turning a blind eye to the regime’s malign activities, that Western intelligence agencies failed to detect Tehran’s clandestine program. Only when the NCRI exposed the Natanz and Arak sites in August 2002, did the world come to learn about a serious threat to regional security and world peace.
Subsequently, the NCRI has kept exposing the various components of the regime’s alleged “leverage” against the global community; namely the IRGC Quds Force and its commander in chief, Qassem Soleimani, its malign activities around the world as well as the regime’s covert missile and nuclear sites. The awaked skepticism of the International Atomic Energy Agency and dozens of sanctions regimes by Western countries were made possible because of the NCRI’s disclosures which came at a very high cost for its own members inside Iran.
The very fact that the NCRI managed to outperform the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Ministry of Intelligence as well as dozens of other intelligence agencies in the West and the Middle East, did not convince world leaders to change course. Their devotion to pin their policy on hope rather than looking at the facts on the ground has practically turned the new “Island of Stability” into a major destabilizing factor in the Middle East and beyond.
The clerical regime has never been a legitimate one in the eyes of the Iranian people. Yet, it has managed to survive major nationwide uprisings and other interwoven crises, owing to the Western powers feckless and misguided policies. We are not talking about a policy of appeasement, rather a strategy of weakness.
Tehran regime does not need nuclear warheads to extort the neighboring countries or the West into endless political maneuvering and never-ending negotiations about its behavior. It has been doing this for four decades. An arsenal of nukes cannot help the Iranian regime survive the current socio-economic crises but the world’s strategy of weakness is only keeping an ailing tyranny on life support.
If the international community wants to liberate itself from Tehran’s extortion and blackmail strategy, it does not need the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader’s blessing. It only needs to recognize what it learned through the last 43 years and make common-sense decisions, i.e., recognize that no amount of economic and political concession will result in a change in the regime’s behavior. A leopard never changes spots.
As the Iranian people and their Resistance are taking the fate of their nation into their own hands, it would serve the West better to recognize this reality and adapt to the inevitable change.