By M.A. Saki

Security must be inclusive 

December 12, 2020 - 12:3

TEHRAN - As President-elect Joe Biden has announced that he is seeking to revitalize the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, has said his country is seeking a “JCPOA++”.

According to All Israel News, Gargash said by “JCPOA++” he means that it should include Iran’s activities in the region and the country’s missiles.

The UAE minister should have noticed that Iran has insisted that the JCPOA is a legally binding deal endorsed by the UN Security Council and that Iran will not renegotiate it, thereby a new JCPOA is out of question. 

If Iran was to renegotiate the deal it had done so with the outgoing President Donald Trump. Iran suffered the harshest sanctions in the history of the world under Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy without backing down one step from its rightful position.

Biden himself has not linked joining the nuclear deal with other things. He has clearly indicated that if the conditions are ripe he will first join the agreement and then talk about other issues.

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” Biden wrote in a September op-ed for CNN.

Also in an interview with The New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman, Biden said that he still stands by his views on the JCPOA that were expressed in the op-ed.

Even though Friedman tried to convey this idea that the situation has changed since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the multilateral agreement, Biden seemed unwavering in his position. 

“It’s going to be hard, but yeah,” Biden said when asked whether he still stands by his views.

The proposal for “JCPOA++” was first raised by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud in an interview with CNBC during the G20 summit hosted by his country last month. Farhan illusorily argued that Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign has set the groundwork for a new agreement with Iran and Saudi Arabia should be a "partner" to the United States in any discussions with Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who rejoiced Trump’s exit from the JCPOA and imposition of illegal sanctions on Iran, this time are trying hard to undermine any possible return of the Biden administration to the agreement. 

Sabah Zanganeh, an international affairs expert and former diplomat, has said Saudi Arabia is seeking to disrupt Biden’s return to the JCPOA.

“These neighbors behave like someone who has just woken up and now wants to get on the train by running,” Zanganeh told IRNA.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are Iran’s neighbors. We cannot change geography. Gargash reportedly said that “last thing” that the UAE seeks with Iran is confrontation. Iran also does not seek confrontation with its neighbors and this position has been clearly stated by Iranian officials.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif advised the Persian Gulf Arab states to exclude the West from regional talks. Zarif said the U.S. and European powers themselves are the causes of problems in West Asia.

“Dear neighbors, why ask US/E3 for inclusion in talks with Iran when: a) There won't be ANY talks about OUR region with them as they're the problem themselves. b) We can speak directly about our region without outside meddling,” Zarif tweeted.

Zarif said that the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) is still on the table. 

“We are always ready for talks with our neighbors. The proposals, such as the 1986 regional security, the 2016 regional dialogue forum and the 2019 Hormuz Peace Initiative, show this,” Zarif stated.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia should not follow the policy adopted by Netanyahu and Pompeo in the last days of Trump at the White House. It is clear to all that Israel assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh through a collusion with Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump. The assassination not only was intended to completely kill any prospect for the revival of the JCPOA but to provoke a war with Iran. If Abu Dhabi and Riyadh do not understand this, they should be considered naïve. 

Michael Wuthrich, assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, tells the Tehran Times that “why the nuclear scientist was assassinated and why it happened at this current time” is a very serious question. 

If the UAE and Saudi Arabia are really worried about Iran’s defensive missile program why they themselves are buying the most lethal weapons from the United States and other Western countries. Just on Thursday, the Republican-dominated Senate backed the $23 billion deal for sale of F-35s and Reaper drones to the UAE. 

Buying highly advanced arms and then expressing worry about Iran’s defensive missile program is hypocritical, astonishing and unconvincing. 

Officials and people in the UAE and Saudi Arabia remember very well that how Saddam Hussein was showering Iranian cities with missiles and chemical weapons provided by the Soviet Union and Western countries in the 1980s and Arab countries supported him. They also know that no country in the world was ready to sell arms to Iran to defend itself. The remains of our soldiers are still being uncovered because of the Saddam invasion. Though more than 30 years have passed since the then, its memories are still haunting our nation.

Even on Thursday when the U.S. military was flying two B-52 bombers in a show of teeth to Iran over the Persian Gulf, aircraft from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain also joined them.

The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs should be wise enough that one cannot have security at the cost of others.

Moreover, Iran is mostly concerned about repeated military threats by Israel and the United States. The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is a concrete example. 


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