John Kerry has insisted that no further economic sanctions be passed against Iran by the international community, as it may derail attempts to conclude a satisfactory agreement regarding the Middle Eastern state’s nuclear programme.
Many people are supporting Kerry’s stance. Fearful as they are of the West getting sucked into another conflict in the Middle East, they see diplomacy as a more desirable alternative. Likewise, negotiations with the Taliban are now considered preferable to extending a commitment of American forces on the ground in Afghanistan. Of course there is little consideration as to the feasibility of these endeavours.
In the 1930s, the British people were desperate to avoid another conflict. The majority of the population retained horrific memories of the Great War and were content that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain should pursue his ‘appeasement’ policy against the aggression of Adolf Hitler. No war was good news; simple. Few people, with the exception of a knowing clique in parliament, were privy to Hitler’s true nature and the ultimately inevitable failure of appeasement.
Like Hitler and Nazism, the Iranian nuclear threat won’t simply vanish. The representatives at the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear programme are affiliated with President Hasan Rouhani, a perceived reformer in the eyes of the Western media.
However, Rouhani is not the real powerbroker in Iran. That honour belongs to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his loyal Revolutionary Guards. These men want Iran to possess a nuclear weapon and have no intention of negotiating the point.
The only way of slowing Iran’s inexorable progress towards nuclearisation (short of war) is to impose further sanctions, which have proved successful in crippling Iran’s economy, the base for a successful nuclear programme. Preventing further sanctions, or even lifting some as Kerry has hinted at, is akin to accepting a nuclear Iran.
Whilst perhaps not as blatantly negligent as allowing Hitler to gobble up large chunks of central Europe without a shot being fired, Kerry and his supporters are being delusional about what can be achieved through talks alone. It may not lead us to World War Three, but if Iran attains a nuclear weapon Israel will become increasingly nervy and Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to rule out a preemptive strike against the Jewish state’s worst enemy.
Increasing sanctions may put extra burden on the ordinary Iranian citizens, yet they are the people worth riling. Fed-up with religious extremism and authoritarian rule, they are showing signs of a cultural awakening which, given increasingly dire economic circumstances, could lead to revolution. In overthrowing the deeds of 1979, they would be performing a great service to humanity.
Appeasing an ambitious, authoritarian state with an uncompromising leader does not work, as the lead-up to WWII is testament to. Diplomatic negotiations and war-mongering are equally destructive. The fate of Iran, and the Middle East, lies with its citizenry.