September 20, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3247

Kayhan: Iran Has Triumphed, and Has Overtaken the U.S. – Iran Is Now the Regional Power in the Middle East

September 20, 2010
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 3247

In a September 19, 2010 editorial, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that the signs of Iran's triumph in its strategic power struggle with the U.S. in the Middle East are clear. The paper enumerated Iran's diplomatic achievements in the Iraq arena, noting the U.S. troop withdrawal; it also pointed out Iran's accomplishments in Afghanistan and in its nuclear issue vis-à-vis the West.

The editorial stressed that Afghanistan has become an emergency for the Americans, and concluded that for this reason the U.S. will soon have to turn to Iran to ask for its help to resolve the crisis there. It added that the U.S. has been completely unsuccessful in stopping Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state, and that Tehran's nuclear achievements mean that it will come to the negotiating table under circumstances that are more favorable to it. Iran, the paper noted, has already paid the price of sanctions; it added that now the West, not Tehran, must be the one to compromise.

The paper went on to say that because the U.S.'s needs in these arenas have become critical, the Middle East geopolitical system will soon undergo a shift, and Iran will be recognized globally as the unassailable regional power in the Middle East. This, the paper said, will have clear ramifications for Iran's relations with the West.

The following are the main points of the article:

"The White House Must Ultimately Agree to the Option That Iran Supports For [Iraqi] Prime Minister [i.e. Al-Maliki]"

"... In the Middle East, the most important arena of the conflict between Iran and the West, the outcome of this strategic struggle is beginning to emerge, after a period of uncertainty and waiting for a decision.

"In Iraq, the American strategy was based on creating a dead end in the political process, and on preventing [outgoing prime minister] Nouri Al-Maliki from becoming prime minister [again] at any cost. Nevertheless, it is now clear that the White House must ultimately agree to the option that Iran supports for prime minister [that is, Al-Maliki].

"The difference [now] is that during this past year, Al-Maliki came to understand very well who his friends are and who his enemies are... What apparently will hasten the process [of his appointment as prime minister] is the exit of most U.S. Army battle units from Iraq – which will have a serious impact on [the U.S.'s] bargaining power in the matter of the political balance within Iraq."

"America Has So Far Refrained From Officially Asking Iran For Help [in Afghanistan]… [Due To] Its Desire Not To Give the Impression That It Had Removed the Iranian Nuclear Issue From the Top Of Its Agenda"

"In Afghanistan, the Americans have for some time been emphasizing that they agree that the only strategy that will work will be a regional one – one that will set Iran at its center – in order to resolve the chaos there. At the same time, the reason that America has so far refrained from officially asking Iran for help [in Afghanistan] was its desire not to give the impression that it had removed the Iranian nuclear issue from the top of its agenda.

"[Recently, it seems] that the Americans are gradually beginning to recognize that they are being forced to move towards Iran, and to begin to ask it for help. This will happen soon. The move [towards Iran] stems more than anything else, apparently, from the Americans' understanding that the Afghanistan issue is too much of an emergency to be considered marginal [any longer] in the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue."

"Iran Is the Premier Regional Power" In the Middle East

"The question of how Iran will respond to such a request is not the subject of this article; however, it is clear that the U.S.'s needs have become critical. This will soon cause a shift in the Middle East's geopolitical system – such that the U.S. will understand all too well that [despite] the 2009 events [in Iran following the presidential election], Iran is the premier regional power [in the Middle East], and nothing has changed in this matter."

On the Nuclear Issue, "Iran Has Already Paid the Price of Enrichment [To 20%]... Now It Is the West's Turn To Find a Way To Arrive At An Understanding In This Area"

"The third arena to examine in order to complete this picture is the Iranian nuclear issue. In the past 18 months [i.e. since U.S. President Barack Obama's election], the Americans have assumed that the only path to bring Iran back from [becoming] a [nuclear] threshold state is to empty its storehouses of nuclear material. This is because the two other components of [becoming] a threshold [state] – that is, knowledge and equipment – are impossible to restrict in any way; therefore, they focused on this project. During this time, and despite the serpentine diplomatic and intelligence ups and downs, this goal has not been accomplished, and Iran has made highly significant strides in producing nuclear material and in its enrichment skills – [strides] that even Iran itself did not anticipate.

"Iran is now increasing the quantity of low-level enriched material at Natanz, according to plan; it is now examining more advanced technology for centrifuges. More importantly under the current conditions, Iran has fully mastered techniques to enrich [uranium] to 20%, and this is of great strategic value.

"Of course, as has already been announced officially, Iran does not intend to bring its entire stock of low-level enriched material to 20% enrichment. However, its solution of the engineering and technical problems involved in enriching to 20%, and the fact that it has already stockpiled 20 kg of such material, will cause serious difficulties for the West in any sort of future negotiations.

"Iran has already paid the price of enrichment [to 20%] in advance, in the consequences related to [U.N. Security Council] Resolution 1929 and unilateral sanctions. Now it is the West's turn to find a way to arrive at an understanding in this area.

"Apparently, due to these difficulties, the West cannot reach a decision vis-à-vis the Vienna talks, and always emphasizes that the nuclear negotiations must be held with the group of six [i.e. the 5+1]. This is because they know that as far as Iran is concerned, this issue has been resolved [i.e. the matter is closed]."

"If the U.S. Adds Up the Iran Strategy... It Will Arrive At a Final Assessment: Iran Has Overtaken It"

"The sum total of these issues – that is, [of Iran's] internal assessments, as well as regional and nuclear assessments – clearly shows that despite all the Americans' efforts and plots in the past year, Iran's national security has improved... [This] will have ramifications for the future, and from now on the West will be forced to face Iran empty-handed [that is, with nothing to offer].

"If the U.S. adds up the Iran strategy [that it has implemented] for the past two years, it will arrive at a final assessment: Iran has overtaken it. Besides the question of its next move [i.e. the U.S.'s decision regarding contacts with Iran], this assessment [i.e. that Iran is the premier superpower in the region] will have ramifications that cannot be ignored in future relations between Iran and the West."

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