Last time I checked the score it was Iran 5 — International Community 0. It is with much amusement that I now note the Iranians have managed to bag another goal against the international community. The achievement here on the part of Iran is not that Iran has responded formally to the stix-and-karats proposed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council + 1 (the nokhodi is Germany that has allusions of grandeur). The achievement on the part of the Iranian establishment is that it said it was going to respond on August 22 and it stuck to the date of August 22 to give its response.
The Iranian atomic czar, the light-complexioned Mr. Larijani (let’s hear it for the shomali everywhere!) summoned the ambassadors of the 5+1 (the pouting US was represented by Switzerland) to the palace and in a regal gesture sent them back to their offices with a document containing Iran’s non-responses to the aspects of the proposal. It is a delicious irony that the Iranians, who are notorious for being late and unpunctual, to demonstrate such sense of time. That cultural shift itself might be in the long run more important than any accomplishment that atomic enrichment could possibly garner for the Iranian psyche.
Also noteworthy is that the formalities took place in Tehran — not Geneva, or Vienna or New York, the institutional venues of Western hegemony and neo-colonial imperial structures peddled as necessaries of “peace and security.” Iran handed its response on its turf, on its terms and at the time of its own choosing and, no less, in Farsi — and so, Iran 6 — International Community (still) 0.
After many weeks of saying to the world that the US will not accept anything short of suspension of enrichment activities prior to start of negotiations, John “the shaggy dog” Bolton stated on August 22 that the US will study carefully the Iranian response! Excuse me, am I missing something here — what is there to study, bozo? On August 21 the Supreme Leader of the Resolute Nation in Tehran declared that Iran will not give up enrichment and fuel-cycle technology and will continue this stuff with vigor. What is there to study? The US has Iran’s answer — which is a big fat bilakh (!) c moslam (buttered) as the Russian version goes. The condition of no pre-condition, brilliant!
Iran’s non-response — all of its 23 pages — was delivered in Farsi. You’ve got to love it — If biding for time is what Iran needs in order to master this cascade stuff and other technical matters, this submission in Farsi was genial. I can only imagine the long debates that will now ensue because of the lousy translations that the various translators in US/UK, France, Russia, China and Germany will furnish — making Tehran object to the errors and misunderstandings and other such time-consuming and indeterminate linguistic pursuits. Take, for example, the Iranian Supreme Leader’s statement the other day about Iran pursuing its nuclear program with vigor. The jackass in Tehran or somewhere else who translated this statement made it sound like Iran will be pursuing its program “forcefully.” These are not isotopic difference. There is a ton of elemental difference between the two words — the word “forceful” sounds militaristic, unnatural and obnoxious.
Anyway — The time from now until August 31 will be an eternity for the Bush-league architects of America’s kaka-diplomacy. As President Bush stated with masterful yet mumbling oratory at his press conference the other day, on the 31st the US will get together with others in the Security Council to deal with the issue! Great, more sitting down, getting up, lying sideways, spooning Chirac, massaging Angela, yo-yoing with Tony “the Pretty Boy” Blair and dickering with the Orientals — Russians and Chinese!
All that sitting around may or may not produce a sanctions resolution to isolate Iran diplomatically and pressure it economically! Wait a minute — are these not the very conditions that have been imposed on Iran for the last 25 years or so?! You mean to tell me that there were things that the US did not prohibit? I am shocked, shocked, I tell you! If the Iranians survive the additional sanctions and isolation (which they will, out of sheer spite if not nerve), the Iranians will emerge from all this with a shitload of other self-reliant achievements that will baffle the West even more! Maybe they will tunnel under the forever Persian Gulf and walk off with the Black Stone of Kaba.
The progression of Iran’s geostrategic emergence today will lead to its becoming the central power in the next ideological “ism” as yet to be named. What the West does not get is that the Iranian appeal cannot be analyzed or dismissed in terms of the tired old cliché of sectarian differences as to Shiite versus Sunni, or the national/cultural differences as to Arab versus non-Arab, or Islam versus Judeo-Christianity, or even international rivalries like US versus Iran, Iran versus Saudi Arabia, etc. Iran’s appeal today is the universal theme of friendship, lending a hand, standing up against the bully and for the oppressed. Wasn’t that a long time ago America’s own appeal. It is a shame all that has happened to all of that American moral authority.
Folks this contest will not end in a miraculous comeback by the international community, tying the score or going ahead, or going into overtime and ten winning by penalty kicks. The sides are playing two different sports — the Iranians are playing volleyball and the West is playing dodgeball. The contest has an asymmetrical moral imperative — Iran is playing for honor and self-determination and the West is playing for unmitigated imposition of its self-righteous will.
I will not be surprised at all if in the final analysis the Iran Nuclear Enrichment Case ends up before the International Court of Justice — maybe even on Iran’s own motion. After all, is it not the job of the Court to decide if any international laws are being broken by Iran over this issue? Of course not! Silly me — It is the job of the President of the United States to be the judge, jury and executioner in the international system and it is the job of the Poodle-Four + Tofailis to go headlong into another disaster of untold consequences.
Guive Mirfendereski is a professorial lecturer in international relations and law and is the principal artisan at trapworks.com. Born in Tehran in 1952, he is a graduate of Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences (BA), Tufts University's Fletcher School (PhD, MALD, MA) and Boston College Law School (JD). He is the author of A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea >>> Features in iranian.com