Tehran sempre più in collera con gli USA
- Secondo valutazioni di analisti sia americani che iraniani,
- mentre con l’attacco ad Afghanistan e Iraq USA avevano quasi accerchiato l’Iran, che stava divenendo più arrendevole (rinuncia al nucleare),
- ora con le difficoltà USA in Irak e il consolidamento del potere dei conservatori a Tehran, le parti si sono rovesciate, con Iran che estende la propria influenza in Iraq e nella regione.
- Un attacco militare USA contro installazioni nucleari iraniane potrebbe sortire l’effetto di consolidare il fronte interno, come già la guerra scatenata dall’Iraq negli anni ’80.
- Ma proprio questa situazione potrebbe indurre gli iraniani a trattare con gli americani; anche in USA c’è chi ritiene si debbano riprendere le relazioni diplomatiche, dopo 25 anni.
Tehran Grows Angrier at U.S.
Ab out Nuclear Intentions
By ROBIN WRIGHT
THE WASHINGTON POST
December 7, 2004
TEHRAN, Iran — A quarter-century after U.S.-Iran relations collapsed, Iranians are angrier and more anxious about U.S. policy than at any time since the period from 1979 to 1981, when the U.S. took in the deposed and dying shah, Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy and 52 hostages were held for 444 days.
Repeated U.S. warnings about Iran’s nuclear intentions have sparked widespread fears of a new confrontation, Iranian officials and analysts said — one that could dwarf the crisis that erupted after Tehran’s 1979 revolution.
In an effort to contain U.S. influence along Iran’s borders and pre-empt U.S. action, they said, Tehran is trying to exploit two trump cards — its influence over neighboring countries and rising international demand for oil . Iran is beefing up aid to allied groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are scheduled to hold elections next year. Iran is also using oil to deepen alliances with strategic nations such as energy-hungry China.
The situation is a sharp reversal from a year ago, when swift victories by U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan sent shock waves through Iran. The country was almost encircled by U.S. troops on land and sea, analysts here said. The squeeze was a major factor in Iran’s agreement in October 2003 to give up uranium enrichment, a key process for peaceful nuclear energy that can be diverted for military use.
But Iraq’s persistent insurgency, the failure of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden and the inability of Kabul’s U.S.-backed government to consolidate national control have made the U.S. more vulnerable in the region and given Iran more leverage, said officials and analysts in both nations.
"The United States has all these places, but it can’t be successful without Iran," said Mohsen Rezaie, a presidential contender who commanded Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. "We are now at the top of the mountain, and the Americans are at the bottom."
A year ago, the Bush administration boasted about the positive impact that free and fair Iraqi elections would have on Iran. Today, the administration is concerned about Iran’s negative impact on Iraq, said Robert Malley, a former assistant to President Bill Clinton who works for the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit conflict-analysis organization.
"Chaos in Iraq and higher oil prices have emboldened the Iranian regime, which still feels threatened by U.S. pressure but far more confident it can withstand it," Mr. Malley said in an interview in Washington. As Iranians debate how to deal with the U.S., he said, the situation has strengthened ideologues who advocate "standing firm," particularly on nuclear issues.
Iran walked out of an original nuclear deal, which had to be renegotiated this fall by Britain, France and Germany. Moreover, the deal is only a preliminary agreement; a permanent arrangement remains elusive.
Internal political shifts have also changed the dynamics of the U.S.-Iran standoff. A year ago, Iran’s president and the majority in Parliament were reformers who wanted to end the mistrust between the two nations.
But conservatives took control of Parliament this fall , after many reform candidates were barred from running in February elections. And conservatives are expected to do whatever it takes to win the presidential election next spring, Iranian analysts say.
So rather than spur political change, Iranian analysts warn, U.S. military action on suspected Iranian nuclear sites could backfire, echoing the impact of Iraq’s 1980 invasion. The eight-year Iran-Iraq war reignited Iranian nationalism and allowed fundamentalist clerics to consolidate their hold on Iran just when the Islamic revolution had begun to wobble.
"If America uses military means against Iran, even if it attacks only one point, the result here will be a rise of militarism in Iran — and the suppression of any democratic trend," said Mohsen Mirdamadi, a ringleader of the embassy seizure 25 years ago who later became a pro-democracy member of Parliament. "This is a problem for reformers."
Iranian officials contend that Mr. Bush’s re-election, strongly backed by conservative Christian groups, also redefined the standoff.
"The problem America has with Iran is not political, not economic. It’s religion, now that the new conservatives…are behind Bush," said Mohammed Hashemi, a U.S.-educated member of Iran’s Expediency Council, a body that weighs in during deadlocks between Parliament and a top clerical panel. "U.S. policy toward Iran is based on a religious war."
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have always been complex, haunted by the revolution’s introduction of militant Islam and the hostage trauma. Today, relations are troubled by Iran’s support for extremist groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, as well as by Iran’s suspected weapons program.
In contrast to its continued reluctance to deal with Tehran, Washington restored diplomatic contacts with Vietnam after a war that killed about 57,000 Americans and over one million Vietnamese, and with China after a Communist revolution that cost millions of Chinese lives, produced a nuclear bomb and led to a cold war with the West.
"It makes no sense 25 years later not to be talking to each other," L. Bruce Laingen, a retired U.S. diplomat and the ranking hostage in the embassy seizure, said in an interview in Washington. "I’m not advocating relations tomorrow, but we have a lot to talk about and we should start. The U.S. is staring [Iran] in the face on both borders and on the Gulf."
Whether Iran’s conservatives and a second Bush administration will confront each other is hotly debated here. Despite stubborn rhetoric, some major political figures sound almost wistful about the potential for a diplomatic thaw.
"This very hot atmosphere of tension…should be defused, and we should move toward a friendlier or more tranquil situation. Continuing tensions are not in the interest of either the U.S. or Iran," said Mohammed Javad Larijani, a former presidential contender.
Some analysts suggested the success of Iran’s conservatives could give Iranians the self-confidence to adopt a more accommodating stance toward Washington.
"Now that they feel they are on top, some factions of conservatives are looking at reaching out to the U.S.," said Hadi Semati,
a Tehran University political scientist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "Even a few from the ideological camp would not be as adamant as their predecessors."
But the conservatives’ chief ideologue, Hussein Shariatmadari, took a tougher line. "We are not enemies of American citizens," he said. "But America is different. When countries commit atrocities against us, we cannot accept relations with them."
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