In two recent articles in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, the daily's former editor Tariq Al-Homayed argues against renewing the nuclear deal with Iran and in favor of threatening it with military force should it refuse to abandon its nuclear efforts.
In the first article, from September 11, 2022, he notes that Iran's unreliability is patently clear from its actions, and even from its actions over just one week: In the course of a few days in early September, he says, Iran demanded that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shut down a probe into uranium particles found at three Iranian sites. Later in the week, Albania severed diplomatic ties with Iran in response to a massive Iranian cyber-attack against it. And at the end of the week Germany reported that it had captured some 700 kg of narcotics that had been smuggled into the country by an Iranian gang. This, says Al-Hmayed, reflects the character of this country that "has been exporting terrorism and ruining our region for some four decades," and shows that an agreement with it is untenable.
In the second article, from September 14, 2022, he states that the West does not seem to have a plan B for dealing with Iran in case nuclear talks fall through. Moreover, he adds, more and more officials in Washington – including Democrats – are urging the Biden administration to threaten Iran with military force if it fails to commit to stopping its nuclear program. It the West fails to do this, the result may threaten the international order and lead to an arms race, he states, and concludes: "Plan B must include a real threat [against Iran]. Actions are needed, not words. Washington and the West must realize that it is time to replace the olive branch with a stick and this is language that Iran understands very well."
Tariq Al-Homayed (Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London)
The following are excerpts from Al-Homayed's articles, as published in the English-language edition of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
In his September 11 article, titled "This Is Iran," Al-Homayed wrote: "We have been hearing talk that Iran will cooperate ever since the term of US President Barack Obama. In the region, we have been hearing these remarks since the time of Hashemi and Rafsanjani, and now the Europeans and American administration are repeating them. Of course, none of this cooperation has been achieved. But let us talk now of Iran of the past week, not of decades or years.
"The American administration and West were awaiting the Iranian response to the negotiations over its nuclear deal. Tehran made its response in what the US and West described as a 'step backwards.' On Saturday, France, Britain and Germany (E3) vented their frustration at its demand… that the UN nuclear watchdog close a probe into uranium particles found at three sites, adding that it was jeopardizing the talks. 'This latest demand raises serious doubts as to Iran's intentions and commitment to a successful outcome on the JCPoA,' the three countries said in a statement, referring to the deal's full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 'Iran's position contradicts its legally binding obligations and jeopardizes prospects of restoring the JCPoA,' they added. 'Given Iran’s failure to conclude the deal on the table, we will consult, alongside international partners, on how best to address Iran’s continued nuclear escalation and lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its NPT (non-proliferation treaty) safeguards agreement,' the E3 said.
"On Wednesday, Albania severed diplomatic ties with Iran after it carried out a cyber-attack against Tirana, prompting condemnation from NATO. 'We strongly condemn such malicious cyber activities designed to destabilize and harm the security of an ally, and disrupt the daily lives of citizens,' it said.
"On Friday, prosecutors in Germany announced the largest heroin bust in the country that can be traced back to Iran. Four people were detained, with police confiscating some 700 kilograms as part of an operation against a gang smuggling narcotics from Iran.
"Well, this has been the news from Iran in the past week. We haven’t even spoken about what it has been doing in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon or Yemen or about its actions in the Gulf and other waters, such as seizing vessels and threatening marine navigation. This is Iran in just a single week. This is the Iran that the West, led by Obama, had been hoping for some form of cooperation with and for Tehran to show some openness. Obama specifically used to say that Iran’s critics were the same parties that would rush to war. This is the Iran that neighbors us, that has been exporting terrorism and ruining our region for some four decades.
"In spite of all the false talk about Iran’s desire to cooperate and negotiate and display some openness, this is Iran in just one week!"
"Washington And The West Must Realize That It Is Time To Replace The Olive Branch With A Stick And This Is Language That Iran Understands Very Well"
In his September 14 article, titled "Iran… No Plan B", Al-Homayed wrote: "The gist of what we have read and heard from American and western statements after Iran’s response to the 'final proposal' offered by the European Union to the Iranians and Americans over the revival of the nuclear deal is that there is no Plan B to deal with Tehran.
"For example, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Iran’s response makes reaching a deal unlikely in the near future. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: 'I’m sorry to say that I am less confident today… about the convergence of the negotiation process and about the prospect of closing the deal right now.'
"Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country was not concerned with the nuclear deal, whether it is signed or not, and that it agreed with Washington that it has the right to act against Iran.
"All this proves that there is no Plan B over how to deal with Iran.
"It is difficult to predict whether a nuclear deal will be sealed after the US midterm elections. Therefore, more and more officials in Washington are urging the need to threaten military force against Iran if it fails to commit to stopping its nuclear program. Not all of these officials are warmongers, on the contrary. Most prominent of these figures is influential former ambassador Dennis Ross, a Democrat, who wrote an article in Foreign Policy titled, 'A New Iran Deal Won’t Prevent an Iranian Bomb.'
"Commenting on calls that [the] world must live with a nuclear Iran, he remarked: 'They fail to see how others in the region are going to respond,' warning of the danger of undermining the stability of the Middle East. He added: 'The bottom line is without a deal, Iran will draw closer to having a bomb sooner rather than later. With a resurrected Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it becomes later rather than sooner - unless the Biden administration and its successors act to convince Iranian officials of the risks they are running, including by very explicitly conveying that Washington will use force to prevent it.' Tehran must realize that Washington 'will act at a certain point and take out their entire nuclear infrastructure.' Blinken 'should make a speech on Iran,' suggested Ross. 'He should explain why it is imperative that Iran not acquire nuclear arms.' He added that President Joe Biden should use his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this month to 'reinforce' Blinken’s remarks.
"Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, had previously called on the Biden administration to show some realism instead of idealism in its foreign policy.
"All of the above had been proposed before 2015, but the Obama administration ignored it. The Democrats also ignored the 'maximum pressure' policy that was adopted by former President Donald Trump against Iran. They even strongly protested the killing of Qassem Soleimani that Iran has yet to recover from.
"Today, if the US and Europeans fail to come up with a Plan B and clearly and credibly threaten to use military force against Tehran, which is close to the nuclear threshold, then the consequences may threaten to destroy the international order and lead to an arms race.
"Plan B must include a real threat. Actions are needed, not words. Washington and the West must realize that it is time to replace the olive branch with a stick and this is language that Iran understands very well."
 English.aawsat.com, September 11, 2022, September 14, 2022.