Monday 30 March 2015

Is an agreement with Iran wise?

It may well be the first day of the UK election campaign today, but there will be plenty of time to consider that (notwithstanding your 3 editors here are somewhat indisposed the next two weeks so blogging may be lighter!).

A much more pressing issue for any incoming Government, should we elect one, will be what happens with Iran. It is no secret that President Obama has decided that the best way forward with the Country is to try to get it away from international pariah status to see if it can be re-integrated in a less hostile way. In this view he is aligned with the EU, Russia and China.

On the other side of the table are perhaps those who have more to lose. Israel, faced with Iranian backed militia in Lebanon and Gaza constantly firing rockets at them and brainwashing all children to believe in eradication of the Jews and Israel, is not happy to deal with Iran. Saudi Arabia too, moving swiftly to be an ally of Israel, is concerned at Shia backed militia in Yemen which it is poised to invade. Of course, the Yemeni Shia are backed by Iran.

Then there is Iraq, the Shia south is leading the resistance to ISIS in the Sunni north - an unfortunate turn of events for Saudi, Qatar, the UAE and Jordan - perhaps showing that money to back terror groups always leads to unintended consequences which they should have learned from their sponsorship of Al-Qaeda in the 1990's. But Shia Iraq needs help to defeat Isis, which surely is even more of a threat than Iran.

Then of course there is the economic issue, Iran has plenty of crude to export and even with Sanctions is a functioning state which could quickly re-integrate into the world economy, boosting itself but also applying further long-term pressure onto the oil prices.

Finally, there is the nuclear issue. Iran really wants a nuclear bomb and from time to time seems to elect leaders stupid enough to perhaps use it. Hence the clear focus on stopping it acquiring one. I am loathe to agree with neocons who say Iran already has it or sanctions won't work - their spectacular wrongness in Iraq on the effectiveness of sanctions must always be considered. Sanctions hurt, Governments will do a lot to be rid of them.

Overall then this is a very thorny issue, personally I am with Obama that the total exile of Iran pushes it further to extremism than trying to re-integrate it somewhat. If a deal can be done to ensure it does not develop nuclear weapons then perhaps it is doable. The wider politics of the Shia/Sunni civil war in the Middle East will not be fixed just by the West siding with the Sunni's (who, of course gave birth to Al-Qaeda and ISIS). Getting Israel onside/reassured will be harder, but that is the bit Obama will miss given his visceral hatred of Netanyahu.


BE said...

Can't we persuade the Chinese to buy Iran?

Re the election, I will happily volunteer to run the site over the next few weeks: I live in a safe Labour seat.

Bill Quango MP said...

kaiser Wilhem II once asked Cecil Rhodes what could he do to make himself much more popular in England.

Have you tried doing nothing? Said Cecil.

If Old Bill had heeded that sage advice, then WW1 might have been averted.

Let's stay well out of any Iran,Iraq issues for a good long while.

Anonymous said...

Used to do business with Iranian National Oil Corp who could not organise a p**s up in a brewery - not that they'd want to.

Nuclear weapons? I think there are in the next bunker to Saddams' WMD with Shergar on the other side.

Jer said...

_If_ Iran acquires nuclear weapons - do we care?

Biological weapons are much nastier - let's keep Iran focussed on the old fashioned big bang stuff - especially as it's unlikely to ever affect us directly.

CityUnslicker said...

Jer - I am not a fan of that bit. They are indeed mad in parts of iran and their fanning of loons like Hezbollah is nasty.

Best to keep the real dangerous stuff out of their hands.

rwendland said...

"Iran really wants a nuclear bomb" - I don't think that's the case, and there is certainly no definite evidence. I think what Iran wants is to be in Japan's position ("a tacit nuclear deterrent"), to have the technology so that everyone knows that it could have the bomb, possibly on a missile, in about one year if the situation went pear-shaped and an emergency programme to build one was started.

That way it stays within the NNPT, but deters an attack on its territory (missile or seizure of part of its territory) as any attacker has to factor in the risk of possible severe reaction an a year or two's time. retalliation in a year or two.

Suffragent said...

Here to kill another thread :-)
With Seb on this one. Kick the grandstand from under Cameron and tell him to keep his fat face shut. This dispute has been ongoing since the dawn of time and there is no good reason to get involved His only job is to condemn violence on both sides, while releasing the free market to peddle its wares. (and to corrupt an old Enoch Powell joke. Britain will be sending its own home-grown mad mullahs to replace the ones lost in this disaster. We will provide one way tickets to any volunteers and they will have a direct flight with German Wings)
What’s not to like, let them get on with in. The rest of the world just has to huddle around chanting fight, fight, fight and tell the UN teacher, that they thought they saw someone doing global warming by the bike sheds. Oil is as cheap as chips, with each side using their weapons of mass production to flood the market. Until now they have all been funding their own little terror groups and now it’s starting to get a bit out of hand. Now it’s time for the big boys to step up to the plate. It’s ok for these terrorists running around unopposed with their new toys but let’s see how Mossad deals with them. As was stated in an earlier post “sometimes what these people need is a good kick in” (Britain will also be sending its entire army of social workers. The conscript will be given a one way ticket accompanied by a BBC reporter. BBC2 comedy will be back on the map)
I think the real question is, how we get Putin back in from the cold. With the oil price tanking, the only thing he has left to sell, is nuclear expertise. @rwendland 2 years is a hell of a long stretch in modern warfare (how long did they say it would take Russia to overrun Europe?). Despite modern myth, a nuclear weapon isn’t something you can knock up in your garden shed, unless you buy the components of a disassembled nuclear weapon.

Anonymous said...

The current situation with Iran is an outcropping us backing the virulently rabid horse in the Middle Eastern battle of the sects, a more sane policy would've seen us wooing the Iranians after the revolution regardless of how both sides mistrusted each other.

After all the Iranian people tend towards the more secular, tolerant and open to attitudes than the Saudis. Just a shame the power base in Tehran is filled with more fruitcakes than a hypermarket patisserie, something the Western powers should've been tackling with more subtle methods than backing Iraq.

Obama has gotten very little right, however trying to being Iran out of the cold is a very good idea and one with plenty of benefits.

Israel may be upset, but then they've recently been less allies and more the kind of demanding partner that gets you asking for a good divorce lawyer. And whilst their actions against Gaza have been more than justified, their continued efforts to piss off the entire West Bank stinks. You'd think the prospect of Iran reducing their funding of Hamas would be a nice thing, but no, they've gotten too wedded to a bunker mentality. An understandable mentality yes, but still a bloody stupid one.

And the biggest thing is, with the Quds, Iran has a powerful mechanism to influence matters for good or ill. An alliance could see the ME joining the rest of us in the 21st century before the start of the 22nd, stick with the Saudi's and it'll be a battle with the Greens to see who can get us the 9th century first.

E-K said...

That the Tories would sooner do a deal with Iran than Ukip says it all.

No wonder the polls are so close despite the Miliband/Balls idiocracy.