Istanbul Conference ends in positive tone

Yesterday, April 15, 2012, the Istanbul Conference ended—a surprise for all participants—in a positive tone. The previous round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 took place in late January 2011 and ended in compete failure. Back then, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton released a statement: “We came without preconditions, and made every effort to secure agreement,” she said. “We had hoped to have a detailed and constructive discussion of those ideas. But it became clear that the Iranian side was not ready for this, unless we agreed to pre-conditions relating to enrichment and sanctions.” This time things were different. Both sides engaged in dialogue and decided on a meeting on May 23, in Baghdad.

Istanbul Conference 2012

These meetings are unusual in their level. P5+1 refers to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain—plus Germany. They take place due to Western accusations that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Israel—the only Middle East state with an atomic arsenal—sees Iran’s atomic plans as a threat to its existence and has threatened military action. Iran says its programme is peaceful, and has already clarified it would retaliate for any attack on it by closing the Hormuz Straits, a major oil shipping route. The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites. However, the USA recently made clear there would be no attack before the presidential elections this November. This may have caused the change in the tone of the talks.

Saeed Jalili – Iranian Negotiator

The difference in the international treatment between Israel and Iran is the result of Iran being a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, while Israel is one of the four nuclear countries refusing to do so (the others are India, Pakistan, and North Korea). This allows the international community to watch over Iran’s nuclear program, but not to do so in Israel. Instead of being sanctioned for this, Israel is allowed to persecute Iran. The Istanbul conference is a quite formal instance, but other talks are taking place in preparation for the December 2012 Nonproliferation Treaty Conference in Helsinki (see Hiroshima, Tel Aviv: The December 2012 NPT Conference). In the first week of April 2012, Jaakko Laajava, Finland’s Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs informally visited Jerusalem to discuss Israel’s participation, while in January, he met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and dealt with the same issue. Following its aggressive nuclear policies, Israel is trying to cancel—or at least postpone—the conference which will center on the Middle East. The USA—Israel’s closest ally—helped to postpone the conference from 2011 to December 2012, but the American Administration has announced it supports the actual date of the event.

Given the circumstances, Israel is worried about all the statements pronounced by the participants of the Istanbul Conference. “They met in a constructive atmosphere” said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who is also Chair of the Istanbul Conference. “We had a positive feeling that they did want to engage.” This time, Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili did not state preconditions to further advance the talks, as had happened in 2011.

Saeed Jalili – Iranian Negotiator

“We want now to move to a sustained process of serious dialogue, where we can take urgent practical steps to build confidence and lead on to compliance by Iran with all its international obligations” Ashton said. The aim of the P5+1 is to create the confidence “in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program,” Ashton said. Yet, the international community doesn’t request that from the most-probable-aggressor, namely Israel, since it is not a signatory to the treaty. This type of discriminatory treatment is what undermines the trust on international organizations run by Western States and their allies.

In March 2012, U.S. President Obama convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a summit in Washington to give diplomacy a chance. This change of American attitude was welcomed in Iran. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei greeted Obama’s words that diplomacy not war was on the agenda by saying they were “an exit from delusion.” Afterwards, a statement hinting at a possible solution was issued. The Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi, said Iran would cap uranium enrichment at 20 percent, enough to drive a reactor that makes medical isotopes, but not refined enough for nuclear weapons. This may be the agreement to be achieved next month in Baghdad.

Plummeting Policies

When the main talk in Israel’s media is an imminent aggressive attack on Iran, the Nuclear Security Summit of December is not a comfortable option for the Zionist regime. Especially considering that the only reliable option open for Israel to attack Iran is a nuclear one (see Astonishing Israeli Attack on Iran). The Israeli efforts to defer the conference were opened in the talks with the representative of the Finnish government, and are likely to intensify in the coming months. Israel claims that the conference should not be held until regimes in the region, particularly in Egypt and Syria, stabilize. This is highly ironic, considering Israel had a key role in destabilizing Syria (see Slicing Syria). Israel’s chances to cancel the summit are slim. The decision to proceed with the conference was incorporated in an agreement document issued by the 2010 conference. The U.S. State Department expressed “deep regret” about it, and Israel protested its inclusion; but the document was not repealed. In April 2012, Israel is still repeating its mantra, claiming that it would not sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons until a comprehensive Arab-Israel peace deal is in place.

If next month an agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is achieved, Israel would be in a tough position with all its policies plummeting into the deepest oceans. All its rhetoric would have been rendered as motivated by its will to begin a war no matter what. Losing legitimacy in the eyes of most of its electorate—as well as the entire world—is the worst thing that can happen to a regime. The Zionists are about to reach such a point, unless something dramatic happens.

Since 2009, I have been claiming Israel would not directly attack Iran, unless in the fashion described in Astonishing Israeli Attack on Iran. Israel is simply unable to perform a conventional attack on such a large and far away target. Instead, Israel tries to Wag the Dog, an attack in which the “tail” (Israel) is attempting to wag the “dog” (USA) into attacking Iran, as some say was done in the Iraq War (see Wag the Dog for a more detailed analysis). The fact is also that the USA would find such an attack very difficult. Iran is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. Instead of sacrificing two or three million American young men, the American president may find himself saying “no!” to Benjamin Netanyahu. If unable to Wag the President, Israel may decide to take him out, as Mr. Adler kindly pointed out in January 2012.

Andrew Adler published on January 13, 2012, the main column of the Atlanta Jewish Times. He claimed that Israel might someday need to “order a hit” on the president of the United States. He described a scenario in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would need to “give the go-ahead for US-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel.” Then, the vice president would take office and dictate US policies that would help the Jewish state “obliterate its enemies.” Adler wrote that it is highly likely that the idea “has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles.” (see Yitzhak Obama). I would dare to speculate that Israel asked Mr. Adler to publish such an article. It reads very much like a veiled threat against President Obama. “This is what awaits you if you do not fulfill our orders!” was Israel’s message. There is nothing new in such an attack; in Yitzhak Obama I gave samples of institutional political violence in Israel, and of Israeli violence towards America. Such an attack would be an escalation of existing tactics and not a new one. Everything is in place. In this Wag the Dog scenario, Israel is trying to force the USA into war with Iran. It seems, the situation is so desperate that last January a personal warning against president Obama was issued.

On September 23, 2011, an historic event took place at the 66th meeting of the UN General Assembly. Mahmoud Abbas—speaking for the Palestinian people—asked the UN member states to accept Palestine as an equal member of this exclusive club. Palestine got a standing ovation from a crowded room. Mahmoud Abbas succinctly summarized the Israeli violence and said:Enough, Enough, Enough!. It is time for the rest of the world to stand before the Zionist beast and say clearly: Enough, Enough, Enough!.

Roy Tov is a frequent voice for The 4th Media.

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