Iranian dossier and Euro-Atlantic security
Talks took place on different channels that seems to have caught the European Union in the middle.
13 August 2018, 15:42
Producer Radu Dobriţoiu – Latest tough talks between the United States and Iran have made World News La Une. Talks took place on different channels that seems to have caught the European Union in the middle. This is happening amid deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, an evolution of which Tehran knows very well. The United States has recently re-imposed sanctions on Iran that it lifted two years ago. President Donald J. Trump withdrew from the multilateral deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), for “disastrous flaws” that he said posed a security threat, according to Council on Foreign Relations. Return of U.S. sanctions is intended to restrain Iran’s behavior beyond nuclear controls but runs the risk of reviving a program to develop atomic weapons, experts say. After the Iranian President threatened that a war with Iran would be "the mother of all wars", President Donald Trump sent a tweet in capital letters "Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before".
Radio Romania News Producer Radu Dobriţoiu, military reporter, analyzed the Iranian dossier in the latest “Euroatlantica” show of Radio Romania News (Radio Romania Actualități), broadcasted on 27 July, having as special guest Brigadier General (ret) Prof.Dr.Stan Petrescu, with interventions of Radio Romania News correspondents in Israel, United States and the European Institutions in Brussels/Belgium.
Radu Dobrițoiu: General, we are again turning our attention towards the Middle East, where the security situation, precariously enough, continues to deteriorate. Do you think that in response to the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran, Tehran leaders are even more involved in deteriorating the security situation in the Middle East?
Stan Petrescu: We can speak of a one-sided withdrawal because the Iranian side has expressed will not to withdraw from this agreement. It is a P5 + 1, in which the European Union is also drawn as a partner, and surely some of the countries of the European Union do not agree with this unilateral withdrawal. On the other hand, President Trump says the withdrawal is due to the fact that Tehran was not sincere at the time of the contract, even Obama was accused for these reasons, because under that cover, allowing Iran to revive its financial situation by having access to international trade, there were certainties that nuclear research and arms procurement continued, which triggered a reaction from Israel and Saudi Arabia. So, after the Arab Spring, the security architecture was placed on two very important axes in this Middle East, namely the Washington-London-Tel Aviv axis, against Moscow-Syria-Tehran-Beijing. The main actor who feels the most threatened is Israel, pointing to Tehran that the latter continues its nuclear research. Netanyahu went out and showed hundreds of kilograms of papers proving that (Iranians, n.a.) continue their nuclear research...
Radu Dobrițoiu: And of course to finance Hezbollah.
Stan Petrescu: To finance Hezbollah terrorist groups, Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, and others.
Radu Dobriţoiu: Let's not forget Yemen, where Iran ...
Stan Petrescu: It has been involved in the conflicts in Yemen, indeed, it is true. And if we were to place the parties, Iran on one side and Israel on the other side, Israel with allies - the United States of America, Saudi Arabia - and Iran with Syria and non-state entities, we refer to /.../.
Radu Dobrițoiu: Lebanon ...
Stan Petrescu: Hezbollah, Amal Movement, branches of ISIS or Al-Qaeda sponsor them, (Iranian President Hassan n.a.) Rohani threatened that in case of war he will revenge on America.
Radu Dobrițoiu: Desire to develop an axis, to quote you, between Tehran, passing of course through Iraq, which is dominated by Shi'ite factions, Syria, and reaching Lebanon.
Stan Petrescu: Up to the Persian Gulf. Meaning that their interest in foreign policy will be Iraq, Damascus, Lebanon and the Persian Gulf. There is also a third axis that we have to mention here, and this Washington, Moscow and Ankara. This axis may be moderating or it may set up a fire to cause this conflict to break out. Therefore, these actors in this third axis must also be taken into account.
Radu Dobriţoiu: Israel wants withdrawal of all Iranian troops from Syria and calls for stopping the transfer of Iranian arms to Lebanon's Hezbollah. Demands of Jerusalem are clear and unequivocal about Iran's Shiite militia in Syria.
From Israel, for Radio Romania Actualități “Euroatlantica”, RRA correspondent Dragoş Ciocîrlan.
RRA Reporter: During the recent visit of a Russian delegation to Jerusalem, that included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chief of Staff Valery Gherasimov, Israel rejected the offer of Vladimir Putin: Iran withdrawal 100 kilometers from Golan Heights. Position of Jerusalem remains unchanged, namely the withdrawal of all Iranian forces from Syria, as (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin n.a.) Netanyahu recently said in Moscow. Rhetoric of the Islamic Republic leaves no room for doubt. Israel has stepped up its demands on Iran. At first, there was the red line on the supply of advanced weapons in Lebanon, to Hezbollah, then the red line became a geographic barrier. Israel will not allow Iranian military presence and Shiite militia affiliated to Tehran in the vicinity of the border. Mossad was applauded for information results. Israel was not surprised to learn that the Iranians were lying. The military component of the nuclear program is proven by Iranian documents. Obama administration and European leaders, Russia and China would not have had so much difficulty in obtaining a 2015 agreement that only delays the nuclear program and does not remove the threat of a regime involved in the region's conflicts. President of France, Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, when they met with US President Donald Trump, knew that Israel had searched into the Iranian nuclear archives. Islamic Republic is trying to distract attention and reduce pressure by fueling conflicts in the region, such as attacks by the Hamas terrorist organization. Sometimes the war is inevitable, especially when it comes to the existential threat, and that means both sides. This perspective is not excluded as regards situation in Syria.
Radu Dobriţoiu: General Petrescu, my colleague Dragoş Ciocîrlan reminded of this military component of the Iranian nuclear program, a component to which Tehran did not give up, claiming in turn that it has completely renounced nuclear research. Let's explain what this military component means.
Stan Petrescu: Operative, tactical and even strategic missiles, transport module. All they have to do is to load them with Uranium 235, that is the warhead, the nuclear cargo, and there is certainly enough data proving that they operate or develop this military dimension to the number of centrifuges to improve Uranium 235. In general, nuclear technology costs a lot, but Iran has money, it also has technology, so Netanyahu's information can be confirmed, and not accidentally, Trump's reaction was extremely tough, extremely fast, and he wants to renegotiate (...) but under the conditions imposed by the United States; on the other hand (…) there are European powers opposing this renegotiation, it was renegotiated once and it should not be renegotiated. Hence friction.
Radu Dobrițoiu: Of course. This military component, to be very clear, is referring to long-range and medium-range ballistic missiles.
Stan Petrescu: This is Israel's fear, too. This is the point causing a whole series of threats, and on the other side there is Rohani who threatens the United States “not to play with the lion's tail” because, he said, Iran has enough force to deal with an attack. He has even threatened Israel, saying that Iran has military capabilities to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, to erase them off the face of the Earth. So, if it were only for these explosive statements, situation is not exactly in a state of peace, but rather announces a war.
Radu Dobriţoiu: Unlike the United States, Russia is in good relations with Iran, but it does not want to turn Syria into a political and military fief of Tehran.
From Moscow, for Radio Romania Actualități "Euroatlantica", RRA correspondent Alexandr Beleavschi.
RRA Reporter: As the Syrian army, supported by Russian aviation and pro-Iranian forces, imposes its control in the three provinces of southwest Syria, on the border with Israel and Jordan, Moscow is trying to find a compromise between its interests in the Arab country, those of the States United and Israel, on the one hand, and Iran on the other. Unlike the United States, Russia is in good relations with virtually all the countries in the region, including Israel and Iran. But it does not want Syria to be transformed into a military and political fief of Tehran, nor to ruin its relations with Iran. Iran is Russia's ally in the war in Syria, Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara being the co-sponsors of the Astana process (…). Russia's position, expressed by President Putin in Helsinki, is that after the Syrian army takes full control of the Golan area, on the border with Israel, there will be neither jihadists nor non-Syrian (that is Iranian) forces, and the situation will return to that provided by the 1974 Security Council Resolution - decommissioning of the Syrian and Israeli forces, creation of a demilitarized area and deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in this region. Russia, on the other hand, supports the nuclear agreement with Tehran and makes efforts in the sense that Iran does not put an end to it, and alongside other signatories of the agreement, it opposes extraterritorial application of the US sanctions against the Iranians.
Radu Dobrițoiu: General Petrescu, Moscow is trying to find a compromise. Who would benefit of this compromise that Moscow RRA correspondent, Alexandr Beleavschi, reminded of?
Stan Petrescu: Taking into account the old, constant and profound Russian diplomacy, it would first be them to benefit. Russians are exceptional diplomats, they have not changed their foreign ministers, like other states did, 28 times in 20 years, and they have a very good diplomatic school. Putin has managed to have good diplomatic relations with Israel and to temper its warrior zeal, and Iran cannot forget that (…). Iran has uranium natural resources, it has sources for the high-tech industry, it is placed at the gates of Urmuz and in the Persian Gulf, it has a lot of oil. Iran also has the largest arms production and arms export capabilities. Iran receives or has very good trade relations with Russia. On the other hand, Russia does not leave Tartus in any way. It remains a very powerful actor that scans these conflicts. During the last encounter with Trump, Russia has shown willingness to maintain not a fiery fire out there, but to reinstall peace, but we do not know what Turkey is thinking after Erdogan won the elections and has very large constitutional powers, it can force a stronger military presence in northern Syria, but also in the East, and on the other hand it threatened Israel in unacceptable conditions, calling it a fascist, Zionist and a racist state. This statement leads me to the idea that it is hard to temper this actor who ...
Radu Dobrițoiu: Erdogan ...
Stan Petrescu: Erdogan ... see it's that axis I told you about, Washington-Moscow-Ankara. Therefore, here lies the secret of diplomacy of the two great powers to temper the zeal of war between the two sides, Iran, Israel.
Radu Dobriţoiu: EU wants to rescue the nuclear agreement with Iran and is looking for solutions to protect European economic investment in Iran, from the perspective of the agreement. Europe seems to be closer to Moscow's position than to that of Washington, which remains firm in terms of economic sanctions for Tehran. Europe is also interested in importing Iran's energy resources, despite the economic blockade desired by Washington.
From Brussels, for Radio Romania Actualități “Euroatlantica”, RRA Correspondent Amalia Bojescu:
RRA Reporter: EU wants to respect its commitments and to protect the nuclear agreement with Iran. Europeans have pledged to provide Iran with economic resources, in order to save the deal in the nuclear file. EU has updated its legislation, aiming to protect EU-based companies that continue to do business with Iran. We are looking for practical solutions to enable Iran to continue its oil and gas sales, bank transactions, maintain its air and maritime routes and secure export credits and facilitate investment", High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said recently. She admitted that it is a difficult task, after US President's controversial decision, but the two sides, both European and Iranian, are determined to keep the agreement in place. Federica Mogherini also says that if Iran respects its commitments, the EU will respect its own. In her view, maintaining the agreement is in the interest of EU, region and world security, and a break-up of this agreement would have disastrous consequences for all. Europeans rejected the US request to economically isolate Iran and adopted a legal instrument so that European businesses in this country are protected from US sanctions.
Radu Dobriţoiu: EU has high economic interests in Iran, but it is caught in the middle between the US and Iran.
Stan Petrescu: That's right. EU remains constant in terms of negotiations for this treaty, that benefit parties on the one hand, and Iran and the EU, on the one hand, because trade relations first make the policy of each state, and an old diplomatic saying is that "all states set their diplomatic principles and behavior in relation to their geographical position". EU has great interests in the Middle East, commercial interests, and it is certain that a choir against Trump has already been created by the great European powers - France, Great Britain, Germany. Trump is very badly characterized by both his ruling party and the whole America, the fact that he is extremely loud, extremely inconstant, the fact that this meeting with Putin put him in a subsequent situation and the fact that he wants to impose trade sanctions on the EU - we are talking about steel and aluminum, 10%, and 25% taxes - which is not easy. He even threatened the EU, he says: we no longer receive your vehicles (…) and we will no longer give you wheat. In the Euro-Atlantic relationship this must not happen, there must be more wisdom, more communication and the Iranian issue can be solved by renegotiating the contract so as to put it under greater control, and by stopping the warring zeal of some states that are dissatisfied with US exit from this contract.
Radu Dobriţoiu: Prof. Ştefan Popescu wrote about this – we can say historical – meeting in Helsinki between Trump and Putin, as a sort of a Yalta meeting when the two discussed over the head of the European Union, over the states considered weaker and not able to makes very important decisions.
Stan Petrescu: It is a reason here that few people understand and the reason is the following: after Potsdam, 1945, when the great powers set ...
Radu Dobrițoiu: Treaty of Potsdam.
Stan Petrescu: Treaty of Potsdam and eternal peace, in a way, but there is no eternal peace, as a great author used to say.
Radu Dobrițoiu: Negotiations in Yalta.
Stan Petrescu: Yalta. Of course, nobody knows outside the four great signatory powers how they designed the future in Europe and the world.
Radu Dobriţoiu: You know, I have studied the original documents from Yalta and ...
Stan Petrescu: But not the secret annexes.
Radu Dobrițoiu: Of course, I did not have access to those.
Stan Petrescu: Certainly. The two who met (…) discussed in their interest, and I am convinced they do have a new future security architecture on their minds, where few have access.
Radu Dobriţoiu: Donald Trump has recently sent several messages to Tehran ahead imposing sanctions on Iran. Washington remains firm.
From the United States, for Radio Romania Actualități "Euroatlantica", RRA correspondent Doina Saiciuc:
RRA Reporter: Just two days after he cautioned in a tweet about a potential military conflict with Iran, President Trump has tempered threatening rhetoric on Tehran. President Trump sent a Twitter message to Iranian President Rohani: "Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before"; after that, in a speech at the National Veterans Convention of War, Donald Trump praised his decision to withdraw the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran, but added that his administration is ready to receive Iran at the negotiating table, stating "A true agreement and not a disaster agreement, like the one set in 2015 by the Obama administration". The latest developments in the Trump-style negotiation, threat and intimidation, three weeks before the United States re-imposed the first round of bank sanctions, suspended under the nuclear agreement with Iran. Analysts say there is little doubt that Trump administration officials would not want to change the regime in Tehran. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has harshly attacked Iranian leaders, accusing them of corruption, of impoverishing their population to fill their own pockets and to finance terrorism. Mike Pompeo: Not many know that Ayatollah Khamenei has his own hedge fund, Setad, worth $ 95 billion. His wealth obtained in a dishonest way, and it is used to fund the illegal activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. The level of corruption and wealth of Iranian leaders shows that Iran is driven by something resembling the mafia more than a government.
Radu Dobrițoiu: General Petrescu, I remember, because it is part of recent history, Donald Trump's rhetoric towards North Korea, first aggressive and then friendly. Do you think the same will happen to Iran?
Stan Petrescu: I am convinced that the United States - staff behind world's strongest man will persuade him to renegotiate this treaty, under the conditions that Trump would like but also under those that Tehran wants; of course, there may be greater scrutiny of the military dimension, if we talk about nuclear research. On the other hand, relationship between the European Union and the United States of America should be tempered, because the Euro-Atlantic area is very important for the whole world peace. The winner by far is the Russian Federation, who managed, through diplomacy, good listening and wisdom, to have relations with all the states involved here. I said it and I repeat it - key remains Ankara, what Erdogan wants.
Radu Dobriţoiu: Tehran has prepared for the moment US sanctions would hit the Iranian economy and has also prepared intense negotiations for economic guarantees with major European powers. At the same time, the US Administration's speech is getting tougher. Meanwhile, there is growing pressure in Iran, more and more discontents out on the streets, and allegations of corruption launched by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against Iranian leaders have an echo among the population.
RRA Reporter Carmen Gavrilă, editor of an Iranian issue synthesis, for "Euroatlantica":
RRA Reporter: There are voices in Iran stating that the regime spends huge amount of money to strengthen its political and military position in Syria or Yemen, sponsors the Hezbollah terrorist movement in Lebanon, and the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, all these while inflation is out of control, unemployment is chronic among young people, and drought is raging, with no money for irrigation systems. Corruption is a sensitive and inflammatory issue in Iran, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's declaration on the illegal fortune of supreme leader Ali Khamenei, the most powerful man in the state, and the mafia-like behavior of the ruling religious class has come to very receptive ears in Iran, where the popular reaction was rather annoyance against Iranian leaders than against the US government. According to Radio Romania sources in Teheran, social tension is on the rise but has not yet reached its top because Iranian society is behaving as an assaulted fortress from all sides, and considers radical changes would make the country vulnerable. Meanwhile, the supreme leader calls for unity within the political class and between the centers of power, given that a possible understanding over Syria between Washington and Moscow can leave Iran without the power of influence it got there starting with 2011 to date and can break the link of arms supplies between Tehran and Lebanese Hezbollah. Intense recent communication between Russia and Israel can remove the Iranian bases created on Syrian territory over the last few months, near the Israeli border.
Radu Dobriţoiu: General Petrescu, how do you think the Iranian issue will evolve?
Stan Petrescu: The Iranian problem will calm down, because a war in the Near East would be a fire for the whole planet. There are enough diplomatic forces to temper the zeal of war on both sides. This treaty will be reconsidered, renegotiated, the European Union will also powerfully rejoin this relationship and we cannot expect a war.
Radu Dobriţoiu: "Euroatlantica" at the end, we have discussed the latest developments in the Iranian dossier. Guest of the edition was Brigadier General (ret) Professor Doctor Stan Petrescu. I am Radu Dobriţoiu and together with the Producer of the show, Nicu Popescu, thank you for listening to the "Euroatlantica" show at Radio România Actualităţi (Radio Romania News).
Source:RRA.Translated by Miruna Matei