December 2, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 5075

Editor Of Saudi Daily: U.S. Negotiations With Iran Will Be 'At Our Expense'

December 2, 2012
Saudi Arabia, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 5075

On December 2, 2012, the Saudi London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published in its online version an op-ed by editor-in-chief Tariq Alhomayed titled "The Negotiations Will Come At Our Expense," on how U.S.-Iran negotiations will be at "at the expense of all those in the Middle East and of course the Gulf... This is the strategic Iranian goal; either to use a nuclear weapon to impose its influence or to use negotiations as a means to extend that influence, while America's behavior in this regard is lax."

The following is the op-ed:[1]

"One Of The Most Prominent Reasons For Iran's Danger And Difficulty Is America's Laxity Towards Tehran, Especially During The Current U.S. President's Term In Office"

"The U.S. Secretary of State recently announced that her country is ready to hold bilateral talks with Iran, with regards to its nuclear program, as long as Tehran 'is ready to engage.' This current U.S. willingness contradicts its previous rejection of the same issue on the eve of the presidential elections, so for what reasons does America want to negotiate now?

"Hillary Clinton describes Iran as the most difficult issue she has dealt with as U.S. Secretary of State, 'because of the dangers that its behavior already poses and the geometrically greater danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.' These words are true, but one of the most prominent reasons for Iran's danger and difficulty is America's laxity towards Tehran, especially during the current U.S. president's term in office.

"The U.S. does not have to strike Iran militarily, but its laxity towards the mullahs in Tehran certainly cannot be described as pragmatic. Even if President Obama is taking into account the interests of his own country, for example, when handing Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter, this is still a grave political error.

Likewise, pragmatism does not mean President Obama continuing with his outstretched hand policy towards Iran for four years, only to impose more sanctions on Tehran now.

"The Current U.S. Administration... Has Ignored The Most Important Piece Of Political Advice... 'Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick'

"The problem with the current U.S. administration is that the carpet merchants, i.e. the Iranians, understand full well that Washington is not trying to change what has already changed; rather it is seeking to coexist with the new status quo, even if this status quo is the result of a coup, as can be seen in Egypt now!

"The problem with the current U.S. administration is that it has ignored the most important piece of political advice, namely the advice of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who said: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick.' This is what the Iranians understand, and of course something that the current U.S. administration has failed to grasp."

Iran Seeks "A Greater Role In The Region, At The Expense Of Our Security And Interests"

"Before we answer the question of why America wants to negotiate now, we must consider what Reuters reported with regards to Hillary Clinton's comments about America's readiness to negotiate directly with Iran. Regarding direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, the news agency reported that one option could be 'for each side to put more on the table – both in terms of demands and possible rewards – than in previous meetings, in a bid to break the stalemate!'

"It is important to note the expression 'demands and possible rewards' here, because it is very accurate, and the most important demand and reward that Iran is seeking is to have a greater role in the region, at the expense of our security and interests. This is what President Ahmadinejad has expressed clearly in a number of statements, the latest of which came on his recent visit to New York, where he said that there are issues which the Iranians and Americans can cooperate on, referring to the security of the Arabian Gulf! Of course the Iranians have already talked about Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this is no secret, so Tehran is taking an active interest in the whole region in an attempt to strengthen its negotiation chances, while the concerned Arab states are preoccupied with a number of open fronts or with Iranian meddling!"

"Iran And The U.S. Will Negotiate At Our Expense"

"Thus, the simple answer to the above question is that Iran and the U.S. will negotiate at our expense, i.e. at the expense of all those in the Middle East and of course the Gulf, and this, unfortunately, is decisively clear. This is the strategic Iranian goal; either to use a nuclear weapon to impose its influence or to use negotiations as a means to extend that influence, while America's behavior in this regard is lax.

"The Americans only care about the security of Israel and want to move forward with the least possible losses, but this is a short-sighted viewpoint that the U.S. will pay the price for sooner or later. So are the Arabs, particularly those in the Gulf, paying attention to this?"


[1] In the original English. The text has been lightly edited for clarity.

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