Only if the mullahs conclude that they stand to lose their grip on power will Iran meet the demands of the P5+1 (the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus Germany—meeting together with Iran) to end its nuclear enrichment program and comply with the International Atomic and Energy Agency (IAEA) requirements of unfettered inspections of its nuclear facilities is.
The turmoil in Syria has severely disrupted … much of Tehran’s influence on the Palestinians.
The United States and the European community, in particular, must now capitalize on Iran’s growing regional isolation, especially in the wake of the upheaval in Syria, with its regional repercussions, and the impact of the sanctions, which are now entering a new crippling phase that Tehran may no longer be able to withstand.
Playing for Time
The intense pressure on Iran over its defiance of numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions continues to cast a dark shadow over Iran’s regional and international standing.
After months of failed negotiations, the possibility of an Israeli and/or American attack on its nuclear facilities is approaching a dangerous precipice as Israel and the United States have been continuously explicit that “all options are on the table,” including the use of force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran has consistently played for time in order to advance its nuclear program and is hard at work to shield its nuclear facilities from potential attack. The international community should have no illusions over the prospect of breakthroughs at the technical talks in Istanbul in July.
Unless Iran halts enrichment and permits IAEA inspections, the talks will meet the same fate as all previous negotiation attempts.
Although, as suggested by the Obama administration, the new crippling sanctions should be given more time to work and may eventually force Tehran to concede, the question is how much longer Iran will continue to resist while racing to insure that its main nuclear facilities become immune to air attacks.
Extracting Syria from Iran’s belly will inflict irreparable setbacks to Iran’s regional ambitions.
There should be no doubt that Iran has and continues to play for time and its behavior only confirms its sinister intentions: Tehran refuses to end the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, is unwilling to ship its current stock of enriched uranium to another country, and averts pertinent questions by the IAEA while denying IAEA inspectors free access to investigate its Fordo and Parchin plants, among others.
Iran’s nuclear ambitions, however, must now be dealt with in the context of what is happening in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring, particularly in Syria, to force the mullahs to reconsider their nuclear posturing.
With the imminent collapse of the Assad regime in Syria, Iran’s ambitions to become the regional hegemon could soon further unravel, shattering its influence over a predominantly Shi’ite crescent extending from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
Tehran and Damascus have been strategic allies since the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), in which Syria backed Iran against its fellow Arab state, Iraq. Iran’s interests in Syria are especially critical as Syria acts as the linchpin that provides Iran continued support of its Shi’ite connection in Iraq and Lebanon, which solidifies the alliance.
Iran has a Shi’ite majority while the ruling minority in Syria is Alawite, a sect of Shi’ite Islam. Iran’s continued support of Assad’s killing machine by providing funds, arms, and expertise in fighting Syria’s insurgency has made Iran not only complicit in the day-to-day massacres but has painted Iran as the No. 1 enemy of Sunni Muslims.