Economics of antagonism against Iran!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Clearly, anti-Islamic nations led by the trio USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia for specific individual reasons, now targeting Iran, are doing so because they all want to make Iran a weak nation – especially Saudi Arabia, which, unfortunately, does not consider itself as the leader of Islamic word but only as a narrow Sunni leader and views Shi’ite Iran as its main enemy. Worse, Saudi rulers now forge strange bed partnership with Israel, that kills Palestinians in a sustained manner, to defeat Iran, make it remain a weak nation in West Asia so that Riyadh can continue to enjoy economic superiority in the region.
The framework deal between Iran and UNSC 5 plus 1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) is an international game changer and if everything follows the script and it becomes a done deal by 30 June it will drastically change the international power matrix.
Given the fact that the interim deal with Iran at Lausanne, Switzerland, was given a green signal by the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany, the ‘many a slip between the cup and the lip’ kind of situation is unlikely to emerge. Iran is in with a whale of an opportunity to end its nine-year-old stifling international sanctions and there is every reason to suppose that Teheran will sign on the dotted line eventually by 30 June.
Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have more to lose from the deal than gain from it. Riyadh is not officially saying so and keeping its cards close to its chest. These two powers believe they determine the success or failure of this major international initiative in which China and Russia have been on board with the West so far. The biggest threat is from Israel, a country known for embarking upon ambitious transnational military strikes in a covert, surgical manner in the line of its national security duty. The Israeli top leadership has already criticized the Lausanne arrangement and pointed out how Iran has repeatedly and publicly threatened, rather joked to keep Israeli leadership in good humors, to obliterate Israel from the world map.
The Saudis are increasingly finding virtue in the do-it-yourself methodology rather than depending on the US help. Riyadh has of late been indulging in very aggressive foreign policy and its newly opened war in Yemen is an example. Saudi Arabia’s aggressive foreign policy in Yemen demonstrates that Riyadh has finally done away with its umbilical cord with the US. It shows that the Saudis no longer count on the Americans when it comes to their rivalry with Iran which the Lausanne arrangement will inevitably intensify.
The Saudis know that the Americans are playing a double game by exploiting Sunni-Shi’a divide. Saudi Arabia is suspicious about the Americans’ real intentions vis a vis Iran. Riyadh is angry with Obama for not attacking Iran or Syria as suggested by Israel. .
According to the framework deal at Lausanne, Iran will give up about 14,000 of its 20,000 centrifuges and will give up 97 percent of its enriched uranium and will be allowed to hold on to only 300 kilograms of its 10,000 kilogram stockpile in its current form. Iran won’t be allowed to build or develop newer models and it will ship out all spent nuclear fuel.. Iran will have to forego its plutonium plant at Arak and the allowed substitute won’t be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Iran has agreed to the intrusive inspections. The framework deal has allowed Iran to keep a small nuclear programme and Iran will be able to pursue uranium enrichment at its facility at Natanz at a very limited scale. The research at Fordow will be restricted and barred from using fissile material.
Saudi Arabia and Israel are seething with anger and are looking at the development as a serious threat to their respective national interests. The West Asian geopolitics will inevitably go through a tailspin once the Iran nuclear deal, as of now an interim deal, becomes a binding agreement by 30 June. Two West Asian states will be crucial in the post 30 June period: Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Obviously, the framework deal will affect an amazing web of international power equations across the globe as the bilateral relations between US-Iran, Saudi-US, US-Israel, Saudi-Iran, Israel-Iran, Iran-Iraq, Iran-Russia and Iran-China.
It is a universally known fact that the Shi’a Iran and the Sunni Saudi Arabia have been engaged in a long-drawn power struggle to enlarge their strategic footprints across the Islamic world and continents. Now Iran has been losing $1.6 billion a month in oil revenue alone because of sanctions. Thus far the sanctions-hit Iran was lagging behind Saudi Arabia but after the Lausanne arrangement is formalized by 30 June the international sanctions on Iran will be lifted and Iran will surge ahead of the Saudis. That is the chief worry of Riyadh.
A resurgent sanctions-free Iran would suddenly see huge monies pouring in. Iran might get back between 60 to 100 billion dollars extra per annum after the international sanctions are lifted. This would mean that in a matter of years Iran would become a mirror image of Saudi Arabia, courted by every power in the world. Saudi Arabia does not want that.
An immediate impact of this will be that Iran will inevitably get into two activities that Saudi Arabia has been doing for decades: exporting its Shi’a brand of Islamic ideology.
And one must not forget that India is currently home to the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia but their real position in the country is very weak.
RSS backed Indian media say Muslim population can in another few years increase to overtake total populations of Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, etc put together. That is not just Hindutva fanaticism but Indian fanaticism.
Of the 200 million Shi’a population in the world about one-fourth of that is in India. Therefore, India too won’t escape unscathed if Iran decides to mirror the long-practiced Saudi strategy.
One must not lose sight of strong reactions from Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which feel terribly threatened by the Iran deal. While officially Saudi Arabia has reacted cautiously and expressed the hope that the deal would strengthen the stability and the security of the world, the Saudis have hinted that they too would be in pursuit of nuclear weapons as the Iran deal has left a small window open for Iran to pursue its nuclear programme which many feel may yield a nuclear weapon.
Hawkish Israeli PM B Netanyahu remarked after speaking to US President Barack Obama on telephone: “A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel. Such a deal would not block Iran’s path to the bomb. It would pave it.”
India has been having very close relationship with each of the three powers in the volatile region: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. None in this triangle has an easy relationship with the other two. India, wanting more oil also can be sucked into this explosive triangle as each of these three powers will inevitably be demanding more ‘loyalty’ from South Asia (India) and painting an ‘us-versus-them’ kind of cold war scenario. Israel would even threaten weak nations if they dont support it.
Pakistan is already experiencing this difficulty as Riyadh has asked Islamabad to lend military support to the Saudi-led coalition of ten nations for its war against Shi’a rebels in Yemen who are widely believed to be backed by Iran. This is the price a weak nation pays when it becomes very close to one strong power. Pakistan is being torn asunder on this count as it cannot say no to the Saudis and at the same time if it lends military support to the Saudi war in Yemen it incurs the enmity of a resurgent neighbour like Iran with which it shares border.
Although the strategic, geopolitical and Shi’a issues make Saudi kingdom way about Iran and its relations with USA, it is the economic position that Iran would achieve sooner than later makes Saudi’s new ruler nervous.
Obviously, the nervousness is unnecessary and even imaginative.