Is war the only alternative to the Iran nuclear deal?
Remaining silent over the nuclear deal with Iran, as it stands, would have been the worst possible choice — and its cancellation is the least painful. This does not mean there will be immediate relief and peace, but instead the diminishment of the regime that will try to rebel, threaten and intimidate the region’s countries by spreading more chaos and wars.
We must know that what is coming next will not be easy or swift. Therefore, what is the benefit behind the cancellation of the deal, if it will have repercussions that would open wider the gates of hell?
Canceling the agreement and reinstating the economic sanctions aim to return and lock the evil genie in its bottle until seeing a change in its behavior, which will take lots of time and effort. Faced with the imminent danger, and before the sanctions begin, the Iranian toman has lost a third of its value, French oil giant Total has pulled out from developing the Iranian oil fields, and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is considering the cancellation of deals for airplanes that Rouhani’s government celebrated and advertised as a victory against its opponents.
Do not underestimate the crisis facing the government in Tehran, and the regime’s fears in general. The crisis might cause a collapse in Iran and an internal conflict within the regime’s forces themselves. It might also encourage the Iranian people to stage more demonstrations — the result of which might ultimately be the fall of the regime.
Remaining silent over the nuclear deal with Iran, as it stands, would have been the worst possible choice — and its cancellation is the least painful.
The other countries in the region need a policy to confront a wounded regime that will try to export its crisis and cause more conflict and wars. Those nations did not seek to escalate the crisis inside Iran, did not finance the creation of external fronts against it, and do not have anything to do with the ongoing popular protests in many Iranian cities every week. However, these countries have the right to defend their security, and the security of the region, by fighting Iranian influence in Syria and Yemen, and hindering its projects in Iraq and Lebanon.
The results of the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon are clear proof that Tehran is moving fast toward besieging the region by any and all means. Freeing Lebanon, Syria and Iraq from Iranian domination, and ridding Yemen of it, depends on cornering the regime economically and putting restrictions on it.
The confrontation with the regime needs to happen on many fronts: by defeating it in the war zones, making it pay a higher price, and standing by the Iranian people who are waging a peaceful war and supporting them morally. Pressure must also be exerted on the European states still supporting the agreement — disregarding the price being paid by other countries in the Middle East –– challenging them to take a stand with us or with Iran, for what they are doing endangers the order and stability of the region.
The goal of confronting Europe is to send a clear message to Tehran and put more pressure on the regime: it must stop if it wants to remain in place. Sending its rockets to be fired at Riyadh, destroying border towns, killing 600,000 Syrians and inciting hostility against the Palestinian Authority all amount to a declaration of war that must be addressed.
Is there hope for peace after this dangerous escalation with Iran? The goal of the escalation, the increased pressure and the boycott is to modify the regime’s behavior. Changing it is left to the Iranian people, who are the most capable of judging and confronting it — if they want to.
We do not want to criticize the Iranian regime for its actions, only to follow in its footsteps by spreading chaos and forcibly changing regimes.
- Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Twitter: @aalrashed