Were Mohammad Zarif not the foreign minister of Iran — a nation aspiring for Israel’s destruction — Israel Hayom probably would have called him on Thursday, asking him to write the commentary below. Zarif could have written the book on Western “blindness” on the nuclear issue. He certainly could have written about how easy it was to dupe the international community, which has stopped giving any weight to the military option, even for deterrence purposes.
In the current state of affairs, Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani could have given themselves the last 24 hours to joke about the world, which chose Friday (for some reason) to embrace the Islamic republic, sending its wayward son home. The problem with this story is that it comes at our expense! At the expense of our future!
During an interview with CNN on Thursday, Zarif actually referred to the interim agreement ratified at the end of November in Geneva using almost the same exact words that we — who were in Geneva to report on the negotiations — used to discuss the deal. What Zarif explained was that the West saw cheese in Switzerland; Israel saw holes; Iran saw both.
Now, Zarif is setting out to explain why the interim deal is “bad,” which has been Israel’s stance since the very beginning. And since Iran is so sure of itself, it gave itself permission to tell the entire world: We outwitted you, and just look at you now.
Zarif could have spoken the truth. He could have said that Tehran knows the Obama administration won’t act against it. After signing off on the agreement, the military option was stuffed in the back of the drawer. Iran is playing with time. Our question now: Is the Obama administration as well? The assumption is yes.
The Obama administration has three years left until a new government is tossed this hot potato. It needs to walk away with achievements. Despite the high hopes of 2008, Obama is not approaching the final stretch of his presidency with impressive credentials. Iran and the negotiations with the Palestinians (the highest hurdles left to jump) are supposed to mark the 44th U.S. president’s greatest achievements at the end of his term.
Tehran has gall. It scorns the gesture it received from Western powers in Geneva. It blasts the American government. Zarif explains that “the White House is exaggerating the description of concessions and is exaggerating Iran’s commitments.” Iran has reminded us that it has “continued to enrich uranium, and is not obliged to dismantle its centrifuges.”
While Iran protests, the Obama administration has stymied a Senate bill, backed by dozens of senators including Democrats, to slap new sanctions on Tehran to make sure negotiators aren’t just using the carrot (easing sanctions) with the Iranians, but also the stick.
Meanwhile in Davos, Rouhani has gone from his effective smile diplomacy to a policy of laughter. Iran went from war film to romance. Hugh Grant could have played Rouhani on Thursday. What a mad world.
Speaking on Thursday, Rouhani stressed that Iran wants a good future, but only with the states it recognizes. In short, a good future is a world without Israel. The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Rouhani’s boss, who says the same thing (just without smiling or laughing), made the same comments on the first day of the Geneva talks. That did not stop the deal from going through.
Rouhani was not speaking to the conservative audience he’s used to back home. There’s no difference between Khamenei and Rouhani when it comes to anything concerning the nuclear issue or Israel. In the ayatollah regime, the good guy and the bad guy are the same person.
Rouhani’s Iran managed to teach itself one thing following this whole debacle: In our world today, it pays to laugh.