What is the real goal of Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

What the Arabic language media says about Iran’s aim in its negotiations.

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When Iranian jets bombed ISIL targets in Iraq, Tehran dismissed talk of any cooperation with the US. While this took place, negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme not only continued but seemed to pick up speed.

“Tehran says that the negotiations on the nuclear programme are ‘coming close to success’,” Hassan Haidar wrote in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

“This is despite the failure of the latest meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna, in reaching a final agreement and despite the extension of negotiations for another few long months.

“Yet, remarkably, Iranian foreign minister Jawad Zarif associates this ‘success’ with what he called ‘practical results that include strengthening Iran’s capacities regionally’.

“Mr Zarif’s statement could be considered in the context of power struggles internal to Iran, following a campaign led by radicals against him, accusing him of agreeing to compromises in Vienna or camouflaging the failure of negotiations caused by Iran itself for a similar reason, regionally.

“Perhaps it is his way of ‘informing’ Arab countries that some sort of ‘deal’ was made on the sidelines of the negotiations with regards to the Iranian role, a deal whose results are gradually beginning to emerge,” he added.

Mr Zarif’s statement coincided with an announcement by the US that for the first time since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, Iranian aircraft launched raids into Iraqi territory on ISIL targets, using American-made Phantom F-4 aircraft.

“The US announcement seemed like an indirect welcome to Iran’s contribution in the war against ISIL,” he wrote.

“Do US-Iranian relations really require a deal? Has it not been practically proven that the US strategy in the region, from Afghanistan to Iraq, directly serves the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its influence in the region?

“Based on the history of secret relations between Washington and Tehran since the mid-1980s, Iran will continue to blackmail the Americans, who are eager to conclude a deal, believing it will induce a tighter balance of power in the Middle East. Iran will continue to brandish the carrot of its readiness to change its nuclear ambitions, with a view to obtaining greater gains,” he concluded.

In the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat, former editor-in-chief Abdel Rahman Al Rashed said Iran seems like it wants to be saved from itself, rather than from the Arabs or western countries.

“Iran’s problem is within it, not beyond its borders,” he wrote.

“Let’s consider Iran on the basis of the concept of self-incarceration, a regime that cornered itself in a box by way of political slogans, relations and attitudes over a period of 30 years.

“It secluded itself and its leadership while the world around it changed.

“Mr Zarif says the world now wants to reach an understanding with Iran on the basis of logic, dialogue and respect. The fact is, the world was always trying to reason with Iran in such a way, but the Iranian leadership was retracting.

“Maybe the negotiations have just been a ploy so the Iranians can get out of the box they had been forced to stay in.

“The regime would have thus chosen its end,” he concluded.

Translated by Carla Mirza

CMirza@thenational.ae