Potential failure to reach an interim agreement at the P5+1 negotiations in Geneva this week can be attributed to various factors: The lingering damage to confidence caused by the French spoiler lobbed into the previous round earlier this month; the subsequent lack of commitment by the US to pursue the undoubted progress that had been achieved towards closing a deal; and the intrusive lobbying by Israel and its formidable American supporters in Congress creating unhelpful background tensions.
But another major factor is this: Western arrogance. The United States, Britain and France are still behaving as hegemonic powers whose arrogance blinds them to their own outrageous double standards and hypocrisy, and prevents them from treating Iran with mutual respect.
Without this basic ingredient of mutual respect, any negotiations will continue to be frustrated.
French arrogance was perhaps most salient at this particular time. Three days before the opening of the third round of P5+1 talks in Geneva, French President Francois Hollande travelled to Israel in a display of pathetic kowtowing.
On the eve of sensitive talks in Geneva, Hollande’s theatrical rhetoric about “taking a tough stance in support of Israel against a nuclear-armed Iran” was a reckless confidence-sinking salvo.
But more than this, the French leader betrayed the kind of counterproductive arrogance that characterizes the Western attitude generally towards Iran. This hegemonic mentality is at the root of ongoing political deadlock and the continued imposition of unethical economic sanctions on the Iranian population.
Why should France be allowed to have some 60 nuclear power stations operating on its territory supplying 80 per cent of that country’s total energy needs? Why should France be allowed full control of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment to unrestricted concentrations? Why should France possess up to 500 nuclear weapons? Yet when Iran asserts its legally entitled right to develop peaceful atomic technology, France and the other Western powers impede with unreasonable objections.
Such thinking – displayed by the French, but pervading the other Western powers too – is the surely the apex of arrogant doublethink. And it is this mindset that must be addressed if the P5+1 talks are to progress.
This astounding Western arrogance was again revealed in the preposterous claim by the French leader before the Israeli parliament that his country stands against proliferation of nuclear weapons. How can a Western leader spout such arrant nonsense without being ridiculed and held to account? It is a well-known historical fact that it was France that played a crucial role in illegally proliferating nuclear weapons in the Middle East by arming Israel during the 1950s and 60s.
Washington and London also share due blame for creating this dangerous and criminal double standard of nuclear weaponry in the Middle East.
Countless investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency verify Iran’s claims of pursuing legitimate civilian nuclear energy. Iranian assurances have been issued numerous times, most recently this week, by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Nevertheless, the Western powers continue to thwart progress towards a mutual settlement by a) not acknowledging Iran’s fundamental legal right to enrich uranium as bestowed to all signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and b) by continuing to cast aspersions on Iran’s avowed nuclear plans.
This attitude of the Western powers is arrogant and insulting to the integrity of Iran and its revered leader; it is hegemonic and presents an unreasonable, unlawful block on resolving the dispute.
The Western hegemons’ opinions and prejudices are simply being allowed to warp what is a legal process enshrining inalienable rights.
Hollande’s words and actions this week are ample proof of that. But here is another illustration of the Western arrogance from a quarter that shows how deep and problematic that mindset runs. In a debate televised earlier this week on Press TV between Iranian Professor Mohammad Marandi and American commentator Lawrence Korb, it was notable just how regressive Western thinking is. The more troubling aspect perhaps is the Mr Korb is considered to be a voice of reason among the Washington establishment, who is in favor of diplomatic rapprochement and a deal at the P5+1 talks.
Korb sought to make an equivalence between the US and Iran, saying that “mistakes have been made on all sides.” He cited in particular the siege of the American embassy in Tehran some 34 years ago as an example of alleged Iranian transgressions.
As Prof Marandi cogently pointed out, there is no comparison between Iran and US “mistakes.” The crimes committed by the US against the people of Iran are incomparable and inordinate, including the installation of the vicious CIA-backed police state of the Shah until 1979, the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner with the loss of hundreds of lives, the US-backed Iraqi war on Iran between 1980-88, including the American-assisted use of chemical weapons against Iranian civilians. Plus the ongoing raft of economic sanctions that target sick children and terminally ill cancer patients.
In all these crimes committed against the Iranian nation, the US has been supported directly by Britain and France.
Americans, including many supposedly progressive voices, are oblivious to the scale of horror that their country has inflicted on Iran (and many other nations besides). This obliviousness is the blind outlook of arrogance that infects the brain of Washington, London and Paris, and a good many of their citizens.
Americans need to listen more and talk less; they need to do some serious soul-searching instead of pontificating all the time.
Until that arrogance is eradicated, negotiations with these powers will always prove to be frustrating and may be even futile.
[DS added the video report.]
Trilateral meeting between Iran,Catherine Ashton and John Kerry ended (14:00 GMT)
PressTV Videos on Nov 23, 2013
Updated: Nov. 24, 2013
P5+1 & Iran agree landmark nuclear deal at Geneva talks
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