August 31 marked the end of regulation time and as its last fugitive moments ticked away first in Tehran and then in New York the Iran Atom Cup drew to its close.
At the closing ceremonies, Mighty Mouse Ahmadinejad of Iran stood triumphant on the stand in Rezaieh (named after Reza Shah from the earlier Urumiyeh, now again Urumiyeh) and then Makou, with a huge golden replica of a bull’s testes hanging from his neck. In New York, John “the Shaggy Dog” Bolton, with the big fat Iranian bilakh firmly ensconced in his rectum, bobbed and weaved in front of reporters and explained some kind of new foreign policy of an also-ran.
After months of American kaka-diplomacy over the Iranian nuclear issue, Mr. Bolton has boiled it down to one proposition – there will be sanctions imposed against Iran, either by the UN or by the US (and its lackeys). Unilateralism – is what the US does best: it takes its ball and goes and plays by itself. Ciao, baby.
Contrary to the US sanctions against Iran in the last few decades, every year hundreds of millions of dollars of US-origin goods pour into Iran from points of transshipment in the forever Persian Gulf and other places. Exactly how fruitful yet another round of US sanctions will be, I do not know. Maybe Mr. Bolton’s thighs are up to the task, but I cannot see how US can squeeze any more juice out of this tired US policy of anti-Iran sanctions. Equally, it is not clear to me if other countries would ban their private sectors from dealing with Iran. Already there is a US law that permits the US to penalize foreign companies doing business with Iran — and this measure has not stopped many from doing just that. To borrow from Yogi Berra, with another round of US sanctions, it will be déjà vu all over again.
To most readers of this series of score-keeping diaries, on September 1, the score changed to Iran 7 – International Community (still) 0, because Iran missed the deadline in the UN Resolution 1696 (2006) to suspend its uranium enrichment by that date. And nothing happened. Missing the deadline itself, however, was not an achievement. What happened soon thereafter, by September 3, managed to run up the score by five more goals to Iran 12 – International Community (still) 0.
The Iranian recalcitrance has produced five more goals: First, the UN Secretary- General of the United Nations traveled to Iran (where Mighty Mouse Bush and his high level officials dare not step) and secured Iran’s support for the UN’s Lebanon ceasefire resolution, and in return (hush, hush) the Secretary General understood that his UN should not presses on punishing Iran, otherwise Lebanon would sink into deeper morass, yet again!
Second, the Iranian recalcitrance has split the US-EU semi-détente over how to treat with Iran. The Iran-US contest on the nuclear issue has made the Europeans look like morons. They were just doing fine by being where they were – negotiating, not negotiating, making demands and getting counter-demands. Then they got the brilliant idea of getting the US involved. The US, per usual, when gets involved it dominates. So the Europeans then looked like a bunch of school children following the middle school bully with the bigger ball. Because the US had nothing to lose, as the song intimates, was free to throw spit in every direction with great whim and vigor.
The Europeans have realized the mistake of associating the US in their gambit – Where US has no interest or leverage, its rhetoric abounds in invectives and crap ultimatums. The US hijacked a game that was essentially European. After September 1, the Europeans are back in their “negotiations” mode, hoping to salvage something for their efforts. Each of them knows that any attack against Iran by the US will agitate the sensibility of the Moslem communities in Britain, Germany and France and elsewhere, which includes the Albanian ex-pat community in Italy! So, for now, negotiations is it and they well have come to the realization that European interests do not necessarily coincide with US interests – not over the nuclear issue, not over Israel, not over Hamas, not over Lebanon and not over their foreign trade and investment opportunities with Iran.
Third, the Europeans have decided to give Iran two more weeks to get off the devil’s donkey (obstinacy) and start negotiating with them. That is more time for Tehran to keep spinning the centrifuges and the news cycle.
And, fourth, the Iranian recalcitrance has also managed to split the European Community over its treatment of Iran: there are many more countries to the EU than the whorish French, lackey Brits, second-lackey Eye-talians and the second-fiddle harlot Germans.
Finally, fifth, both Russia and China will not support an anti-Iranian embargo, sanctions, or other do-dickey-do nonsense to be proposed by the United States. This is not because of the fear of losing out on lucrative Iranian trade and investment deals; the Russians and Chinese are scared shitless that this UN resolution business by the Anglo-Euro-Poops (US, GB, France) could soon come to bite them in the ass with respect to their own domestic issues!
While a 12-to-0 victory is cause for delight, it should also be a cause for fright. In his speech before a veterans’ group in Salt Lake City, an increasingly graying, hot flashing and irritable Mighty Mouse Bush stated that serious consequences would visit Iran’s defiance of the UN resolution. The Dick (“should I say more”) Cheney is busier than Betty Ross stitching together a tapestry of reasons why the US should strike at Iran as the prime cause for all of American woes here at home and abroad! The US rhetoric is eerily similar to the verbiage used prior to the attack on Iraq. Even the text of the Iran resolution 1696 reads for the most part like the bill of particulars that were included in the resolution 1441 (2002) on Iraq. In that one, too, the UN Security Council stated that it continued to be seized by the issue – but the US went ahead anyway and attacked Iraq on its own, without authorization from the UN.
However, the way that Tehran has played this game of brinkmanship with Washington, Iran has left the US (and Israel) with very little to gain by striking at Iran militarily. If they do not strike, Iran wins (politically); if they do attack, then Iran still wins (politically) because of the tide of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism that will rise even higher in the Third World. As far as I am concerned not a single Iranian’s life is worth proving this hypothesis right.
At the time of the US invasion of Iraq, the Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed outrage at the Bush administration and called the invasion against international law. Recently, he has not minced words to criticize the Israelis and Hezbollah/Lebanon on their violations of the UN ceasefire resolution on Lebanon. The man does not like to be dickered with or have his institution degraded and humiliated by a bunch of backward leaders in the US or elsewhere.
This brings me to the reason why I think Iran is nevertheless the bigger loser overall, even though Iran may have pitched a no-hitter game against the United States. Iran lost every favor that it could have had with Kofi Annan by the manner that it treated him on his visit to Tehran. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, rebuffed the Secretary-General of the United Nations by not meeting with him, thereby making a sympathetic figure on the international stage into someone who can now share the insolence that fuels Bolton’s dislike of Iran and Iranians. Khamenei did not have to commit to Kofi on anything; a gesture of hospitality would have sufficed.
Being rude to the United Nations seems to be a tenet of Iranian foreign policy these days. Khamenei’s rebuff may have not been as acerbic had Mighty Mouse Ahmadinejad had the decency to greet Kofi Annan at the airport or attend the press conference with him. That was a slap in the face. Mr. Annan would be perfectly correct to conclude that Iran is being ruled by a bunch of assholes – and so – as far as he is concerned – in the words of William Shakespeare “fuck ‘em.” Then the man goes to Qatar and Saudi Arabia and is received with dignity and protocol.
Kofi will have the last laugh. Here is a little known fact about resolution 1696. It went farther than just “asking” Iran to suspend its enrichment activity and abide by IAEA requirements. The instrument, in Article 5, called upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and ballistic missile programmes. Folks, on September 1, 2006, the United States has gained the authority under resolution 1696 to interfere with and interdict with Iranian shipping on the suspicion of illicit nuclear and ballistic trade. Arguably, the Russians could be compelled to stop their dealings with Iran on nuclear and missile technologies as well.
In the midst of all this I note the painful absence of Condi “the forked tooth, forked tongue” Rice from the fray lately. If I knew better, I would think that right after her comment about the “Middle East’s birth pains,” she herself went on a maternity leave! I think she is hiding and rehearsing for a total makeover, to unveil a new self on the floor of the UN General Assembly later this month. If she is – then I suggest that she read John Kennedy’s twin speeches before the UN General Assembly – one on 25 September 1961 and on 20 September 1963. Faced with “terror” of his day, JFK always spoke of hope for a better future, about peace.
Going forward – I wish Ms. Rice would lay out the five-point plan for America’s own re-emergence as a force for the good on the international scene — (1) heartfelt and sincere apology for all the wrongs and destruction that America, by mistake or intent, has heaped on the rest of the world in the last forty years – wars, consumption, pollution; (2) pledge to pay for the reconstruction of all the physical damage caused by the US, directly and indirectly, anywhere in the world, without precondition or reciprocity; (3) pledge to enforce every UN resolution, including any that goes against Israel’s Zionist interests; (4) re-establishment of compulsory military service in the United States and recruitment of American youth into construction, literacy and health corps for service across the globe; and (5) lifting of all sanctions and embargoes and renunciation of trade and investment sanctions as an instrument of national policy. Who am I kidding? This lot cannot even spell half of the stuff I am talking about, much less get them.
While Iran won the Atom Cup tournament, it will not advance to a higher level of play, however. For a foreseeable future, Iran will be recalcitrant, good-for-little, jingoistic and contrarian – for it is ruled by a government so steeped in the darkness of its rude self-righteousness that no amount of candles, nuclear or other, would ever enlighten it. This is also the condition of the United States for now. But at least, here, in November 2006 there is a chance that things may improve and, in November 2008, to change for the better. But, then, I am not holding my breath.
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