Why Iran Won’t Budge
TEL AVIV – No one really believed that the latest round of international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program would produce a breakthrough. So it was no surprise that itdid not, despite the concessions that were made at the meeting in Kazakhstan by the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany). America’s belief that a harsh sanctions regime could coax Iran into a deal has proved – at least so far – to be unrealistic.
Despite being isolated and ostracized, Iran has managed to gain some strategic breathing room with the help of countries like China, Russia, India, Syria, and Venezuela, allowing it to resist Western pressure. More important, even though the severe sanctions regime led by the United States is bound to be imperfect – it only hardens further Iran’s resistance to “America’s designs.”
To be sure, Iran’s alliances are vulnerable to erosion and, in the case of two staunch allies, Syria and Venezuela, to outright collapse. The end of Chavismo would threaten Iran’s vast interests in Venezuela and its considerable presence in the Andes, while the fall of the Assad dynasty would be a devastating blow to Iran’s regional strategy.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in