The Barack Obama administration is tying itself in knots over its Iran policy. Clearly, the talks at Baghdad saw that the US diplomats went to the Iraqi capital like hollow men without any sense how to move forward. This is an election year for Obama and he needs to calibrate his Iran policy without antagonizing the Israeli Lobby in the US domestic politics.
Obama is a skillful on the dance floor, but the dalliance with Iran is lethal and taxing. The predicament is how to keep Iran “engaged” without giving away anything – how to keep an adversarial relationship in a state of animated suspense.
Something is bound to give way at some point. Like, as the Guardian report claims, the tentative move toward a US-Iranian joint venture on the “holy grail” of green energy. The newspaper claims that a New Jersey company is tying up with a research centre in Tehran to jointly design a fusion machine that would produce unlimited supply of clean energy most inexpensively.
The issue is two-fold. One, if the Guardian report can be trusted, the US is prepared to engage Iran in a major project of immense consequence to energy security worldwide. If true, this should come as an eye-opener for the international community, which is being bombarded by US demarches about the criticality of “isolating” Iran.
Countries like India should especially take note. In fact, Indian diplomats should ascertain the veracity of the Guardian report when they sit across the table in a few days from now at the US-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington.
Two, the Guardian report draws attention to the high level of technological advancement that Iran has attained. In the field of thermonuclear research, Iran has apparently scaled heights that raised the curiosity of US pioneers. So, at the end of the day, Tehran is right in maintaining that the US-led sanction regime against Iran through the past 3 decades failed to work, and, if anything, only inspired the Iranian genius to flower.
All eyes are now on the upcoming Moscow round between the P5+1 and Iran. The big question is whether or not Moscow succeeds in persuading Obama to work within the framework of a “step-by-step” approach based on reciprocity, which was an intellectual and diplomatic construct originally proposed by Russia.
In political and strategic terms, how can Iran be “isolated”? No doubt, Obama’s decision to engage Iran is the right decision. But he is going about it with one hand tied behind his back voluntarily. The Guardian report is here.
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