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A Nuclear Iran Is Only a Matter Of Time
Tehran is currently on the cusp of the final stage of converting enriched uranium from an energy project to a nuclear bomb project. It is a fact that there have been many warnings over the past 10 years, mainly from Tel Aviv, and recent reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency confirm these Israeli fears. We can say that we are facing a hot or nuclear winter.

Eva J. KOULOURIOTIS

15/09/2021 Region: Middle East Topic: Various

At 9:03 a.m. in New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001, Marwan Al-Shehhi (known as Abu Al-Qaqaa Al-Qatari within Al-Qaeda) crashed his plane into the south tower of the World Trade Centre. The events of that day, the anniversary of which we had a few days ago, continue to this day to influence the reality of international politics.

The United States of America is no longer the same as it was twenty years ago. The economic sanctions they impose to bring to their knees and starve the various countries and their long military arm do not make the enemies tremble with fear, and its politicians are not charismatic personalities who confuse the opponents. All this has changed, and we see it very clearly in one key issue that is the hottest at the moment: the Iranian nuclear program.

Tehran is currently on the cusp of the final stage of converting enriched uranium from an energy project to a nuclear bomb project. It is a fact that there have been many warnings over the past 10 years, mainly from Tel Aviv, and recent reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency confirm these Israeli fears. The risks are heightened by the fundamental changes taking place in the three most important capitals on this file, from Tehran to Tel Aviv and Washington amid the rise of the hard-line wing in Iran, to unrest within the Israeli political scene and the American retreat. Therefore, we can say that we are facing a hot or nuclear winter.

Ibrahim Raisi is finally taking over the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This fact has a strategic specificity for the region in general. All observers of the Iranian affairs have always confirmed that Raisi is the candidate to assume the post of Supreme Leader of Iran in the event of the death of Khamenei. On the other hand, the position of the Presidency of the Republic has always been the one in which Khamenei blamed any negativity on foreign or domestic policy. For example, conservatives in Iran and a significant portion of the Iranian people believe that Rouhani and his policies at home and abroad with the creation and support of militias in the wider region were the cause of the collapse of the Iranian currency and economy. In fact, the foreign policy of confrontation and the support of militias outside the borders, such as Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, were all strategic choices made by Khamenei personally and were the main reason for the Iran's tired economy.

Therefore, the choice to appoint Raisi as President of Iran in this particularly complicated period of time may mean two things: The first is that Khamenei no longer considers him suitable for the position of Supreme Leader and therefore chose to burn him in the eyes of the Iranian people. The second is that the presidency of Ibrahim Raisi will take fundamental decisions that will pave the way for popular support to take over the position of Supreme Leader in the future.

Given the absence of any signs of trouble between Khamenei and Raisi, a plan to be the person to announce that Iran has become a nuclear state could be the trump card for him and his future in the country's top leadership.

This estimate may be wrong, but it makes sense. What is certain is that Iran today is no longer in a hurry to return to the nuclear deal with the West, led by Washington. This Iranian obstruction can be understood by the fact that US financial sanctions are not an obstacle for both China and Russia to offer huge projects and investments to the Iranian regime, just as they do not prevent Iran from pumping two and a half million barrels of oil daily on the world market.

The rise of Iran's relations with Russia, China and the East in general was reflected in Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's first tweet as Iran's new Foreign Minister: "We will look to the East." This approach has been a proposal of Iran's radical revolutionary wing for a long time, but now this wing is at the forefront of the scene there. They believe that Iran today is capable of withstanding any US-Israeli move if Tehran chooses to become a nuclear state. In fact, the regional atmosphere in general and in Israel in particular is not ideal for stopping the nuclear dreams of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards lobby.

It is clear that Netanyahu made a mistake when he decided to clash with Biden in their discussions on Iran's nuclear program and the 11-day war in Gaza. Netanyahu's rivalry in dealing with the US Democratic government was, without exaggeration, the immediate reason for Washington to overthrow his government and influence Israel towards the formation of Bennett's new government, a government that knows in advance that the lines allowed by the United States are getting narrower and narrower on regional issues and especially the Iranian nuclear file.

Although Bennett is considered by Israeli observers to be hard-line regarding his hostility to the Palestinian cause and to Iran and its allies in general, his personal views are clearly not the only determinant in building the plan for dealing with of Iran and the danger posed by its nuclear dreams to the interior of Israel.

During his first visit to Washington, Bennett tried to push as hard as possible into Iran's nuclear program, but he was certainly forced to deal with the Israeli attack on Iran with an unusual pragmatism for Israel. In addition, he calmly confronted the recent tense Lebanese front. This new policy confirms that the current Israeli government is moving carefully in line with the American vision, which has very limited options regarding the Iranian nuclear file.

On Biden's table in the White House, there are three options for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, one of which must be adopted as soon as possible in order to focus on the greater danger to Washington posed by the Chinese dragon. One is to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear program militarily by launching an air and missile strike similar to the operation to destroy Iraq's nuclear project. As for the second option, it is to pressure Iran to stop developing this program through diplomacy and return to the previous nuclear deal with some consolation gifts in the region, which will be related to Lebanon, Yemen and Syria. The third option is not to take any action, whether diplomatic or military, and therefore in a few months we will see Iran announce that it is becoming a nuclear power and will have a nuclear bomb.

Within these limited options, with the Democratic Party leading the way in Washington, choosing the highest diplomacy over the maximum economic sanctions of the Trump era is the solution for Biden. Almost every day, the leaders of this government claim that they will not take any military steps towards Iran in any way. Even when the Americans were forced to answer Bennett's questions during his visit to Washington about what Washington would do if Iran did not respond to the diplomatic talks, the answer was, according to Bennett himself in a press conference and in the presence of Biden, that the latter assured him of the existence of alternatives to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear. This statement not from Biden's mouth makes these words meaningless.

The events of 9/11 and the subsequent wars waged by Washington in its "war on terror," whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, led to its immediate military, economic, political, and even mental exhaustion. American politicians and strategists are lost in their dealings with their allies before their enemies.

Iran accelerated uranium enrichment without a deterrent, while the United States itself trimmed the nails of its Israeli ally through red lines that made the long Israeli arm represented by the Mossad less impulsive. On the other side, the Iranian conservatives, friends of the slain general Qassem Soleimani, are on solid ground and see that one day their dream will come true. Against this backdrop, the coming winter could bring the breeze of a nuclear Iran, unless Mossad and only Mossad has a different opinion.