If a diplomatic breakthrough comes from the Geneva talks between Iran and the six world powers, known as the P5+1, it will be largely down to Iranian wisdom and tenacity in facilitating a possible peaceful way out of the Western-imposed nuclear deadlock.
This deadlock over the past decade has inflicted suffering on untold numbers of Iran’s 80-million civilian population through barbaric Western economic sanctions. It has seen countless threats of military attack on Iran issued by the United States. And the deadlock has also been punctuated with Western-backed covert terrorism on Iran, including the assassination of Iranian scientists.
Yet, despite all this criminality, provocation and aggression, the Iranian people have not been bowed. The irony is that it is the Iranians who are creating a peaceful alternative in the face of Western belligerence.
In that case, Iran’s 10,000-year-old Persian culture will have civilized the warmongering instincts of its opponents – the United States, Britain, France and Germany in particular.
These Western states are perhaps the most aggressive and destructive that the world has ever known, inciting countless wars and causing the deaths of tens of millions people to satisfy their imperialist ambitions. In addition to their wars, these Western states have enslaved many more millions of human beings over hundreds of years through capitalist oppression and exploitation.
By contrast, Iran has been at peace with its neighbors for hundreds of years.
It is both risible and insulting of intelligence to read the tone of Western media coverage of the latest Geneva negotiations between Iran and the coterie of powers that self-appoints itself as the “international community.”
“Western diplomats have detected a change of attitude from Iran,” read one report. How do you like that: a change of attitude? The inference in the Western official narrative is always that Iran is the belligerent party and the one who is a threat to world peace.
It is incredible that such a feat of doublethink and distortion can be perpetrated and accepted when the historical record clearly shows that war, death and destruction are the prerogatives of the Western powers.
It is Iran that is the peaceful nation, and yet it is the one that is being treated like a criminal pariah.
Leave aside the centuries of colonial carnage inflicted by Britain, France and Germany across the entire globe, let’s just focus on the United States. This is because the conceited delusion of the US, known as “American exceptionalism,” presumes that it is not an imperialist predator and that it is the world’s savior for democracy.
As Solomon Commissiong pointed out in a recent article for Black Agenda Report, since the birth of the United States, from 1776 to the present, that country has been at war or engaged in covert conflict for 216 years of its 237-year existence. That means that for more than 90 per cent of its lifetime as a state, the US has been waging wars, destroying and killing.
“The US has never gone a decade without being engaged in some sort of military conflict,” notes Commissiong.
Historian William Blum estimates that the US has been involved in more than 60 wars, overt and covert, during that period. That is a belligerence rate of one war for every year. Or put it another way, the US is constantly at war with the rest of the world.
The human casualties for American aggression over the decades since WWII amount to at least 25 million. These victims are located in every continent on earth. What makes the US killing machine so frightening is that its rulers and many of its people are deluded in not being aware of this abhorrent panorama.
Iran’s maligned reputation as a “sponsor of international terrorism” is a function of the same Western propaganda indoctrination, which turns reality on its head and whitewashes the bloodstained hands of Western governments. The propaganda fabrication against Iran is owed simply to the fact that Iran has vehemently condemned imperialism and terrorism, which is actually carried out by the US and its allies, in particular the Zionist regime.
France wrecks P5+1 deal for Arab money
The French deal-breaking intervention at the P5+1 negotiation with Iran may have been motivated by France wanting to ingratiate itself with the Persian Gulf monarchies for strategic economic reasons.
Negotiations to resolve the nuclear deadlock and lift economic sanctions on Iran appeared to be near a breakthrough agreement after three days of talks in the Swiss capital, Geneva, over the weekend.
The hasty arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry as well as the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany raised expectations that a potential deal was in the offing. But it was the French diplomat, Laurent Fabius, who threw a spanner in the works at the last-minute.
Fabius invoked “security concerns of Israel” and announced that his country was not going to sign a draft agreement. The French intervention appeared to catch participants by surprise.
An unnamed Western diplomat told Reuters, “The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively for months on this proposal and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations.”
However, contrary to Fabius’ words and speculation by some analysts, the French motive seem less about appeasing Israel and France’s formidable Jewish lobby, and more to do with pandering to the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Israeli opposition to any deal with Iran over the 10-year nuclear dispute is, of course, obvious. On the eve of the latest talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was almost apoplectic in urging Western states to reject “a deal of the century for Iran.”
Equally as disconcerted about a possible accord were the Wahhabi monarchies led by Saudi Arabia, which view Shia Iran as an archenemy for influence in the Middle East. Only days before the latest round of P5+1 talks in Geneva, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al Faisal told the Washington Post in an interview that his country was opposed to lifting sanctions on Iran.
One of the most striking political developments in recent months is the alignment of Israel with the House of Saud and the other Persian Gulf Arab regimes in terms of foreign policy objectives and adversity towards Iran.
Another salient development has been the strategic economic cooperation between France and the Persian Gulf oil kingdoms. Major sectors of interest include energy, water and electrical infrastructure, construction and weapons sales.
The French government has been embarking on an aggressive bilateral investment drive with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
In April this year, Paris hosted a Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum attended by 500 businessmen from both countries.
French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bertrand Besancenot, said, “Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner of France in the region and the bilateral relationship is of paramount importance in the economic field,” pointing out that bilateral trade has doubled over the last five years.
In July, French company Veolia won a $500 million contract to build and operate water desalination plants in Saudi Arabia. That contract is reckoned to be the biggest of its kind in the Middle East, and from the French point of view, it is a model for the future, given that water and electricity infrastructure right across the Persian Gulf oil kingdoms is a vital development need for decades to come.
France is also courting capital investment and commerce from Qatar and the UAE. At stake is the purchase of French Rafale fighter jets worth billions of dollars underlined by the fact that France is in sharp competition with arms exporters from the US, Britain and Germany.
Another lucrative sector that the French are eyeing in the Persian Gulf Arab countries is nuclear energy. French nuclear company Areva is vying with Western competitors to build and operate nuclear energy plants in the UAE, which is something of an irony given France’s apparent objections to Iranian plans for the same technology.
“France calls for increased investment from Qatar,” read a headline in the Financial Times on 24 June.
The report said, “French President François Hollande used a weekend visit to Qatar to call for more investment from the gas-rich Gulf state to boost job creation in France.”
The FT added, “Mr Hollande told business leaders he hoped more Qatari money could be lured into France’s services and industrial sectors, with a reciprocal rise in French companies implementing the grand development ambitions of this fast-growing Gulf state.”
And the Qataris have obliged Hollande’s plea for funds. The two countries have set up a joint investment vehicle worth some $400 million to direct Qatari petrodollars towards French businesses. So far, Qatar’s total investment in France has reached an estimated $15 billion, with shares in flagship French companies, such as energy giant Total, construction firm Vinci, media business Legardere, water and electricity supplier Veolia, and even football team Paris Saint Germain.
Qatar’s ruling Al Thani dynasty has also been buying up luxury Paris real estates.
When France’s Hollande visited Qatar in June, he brazenly pitched his country as an alternative foreign investment destination to Britain and Germany.
France’s deteriorating economic situation and Hollande’s slump in the polls – he is the most unpopular French leader ever – can only but intensify the French dependence on Persian Gulf Arab money. This week, the international credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded France for the second time on the back of ballooning national debt, trade deficit and unemployment.
In this context it becomes clear why France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius acted to scupper the P5+1 talks this weekend in Geneva. By wrecking a potential deal with Iran, Fabius was no doubt bidding to please Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf Arab regimes with a view to securing billions-of-dollars-worth of urgently needed capital.
Mouthing disingenuous concerns, Fabius vandalized with a spanner in one hand and a begging bowl surreptitiously in the other.