The missile attack carried out on September 14 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard against Saudi oil facilities have further raised tensions in the region
Less than two weeks after this attack the international community pledged to try to ease tensions in the Middle East and urged Iran to “refrain from choosing provocation and escalation.”
The International response to Iran’s attack was not what the Iranian authorities would have predicted and significantly changes the game. Two weeks ago, it appeared that Iran might find an open window for negotiation, but the attack against the oil facilities has resulted in a marked shift in position. |Although Iran has denied any involvement and warned it would retaliate against any attack that targeted it, international opinion and the evidence is stacked up against it.
Boris Johnson met with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, on the sidelines of the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders, to coordinate their strategy on Iran. “It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation,”. “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery,”. the three leaders said in a joint statement released by France.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson went further and said the UK will consider taking part in a US-led military effort to bolster the Gulf kingdom’s defenses.
The statement, which aligns with Washington’s position on both the Saudi attacks and the need to strengthen the nuclear accord, was issued after leaders of the three countries met at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and represented a significant shift in Europe’s position of tolerance toward Iran.
At this time last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had mostly won over European support as Iran attempted to insert a wedge between the United States and its European allies. By contrast, this year Iranian officials discovered that they are isolated in the corner of the UNGA with the Europeans unable to offer any substantive economic relief and even a French-led initiative to issue a credit line of $15 billion, likely to fail.
“….. they are able to get from Europeans are no more than some limited political cover for support of the nuclear deal,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, the deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa studies for the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Shortly before leaving for the UN meetings on Monday, Iran’s President Rouhani said on state television that his country will invite the Persian Gulf nations to join an Iranian-led coalition “to guarantee the region’s security.” Zarif said the new Hormuz Peace Initiative contains two underlying principles: nonaggression and noninterference. In other words, he wants to “Let the fox guard the henhouse or to set a wolf to guard sheep” .
However, the West has frequently erred by relying on the word of Iran’s Mohammed Javad Zarif. A CNN security analyst said last week “Iran’s Zarif is a professional liar.” Reactions poured out on social media against Zarif and Rouhani with the hashtags #zarifliar and #No2Rouhani.
Meanwhile, to emphasize that Iran’s warmongering policy is the other side of the same coin as its domestic policy, human rights experts from various countries took part in a conference held on Friday at the Palais des Nations of the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, spotlighting the need to end the three-decade-long impunity Iranian regime officials have been enjoying in relation to continuing human rights violations across the country, and especially the horrendous summer 1988 massacre when over 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in just a few months.
Let us trust that the truths that are now emerging mean this change of perspective continues to shift until the Iranian regime is seen clearly throughout the world for the menace it is and treated accordingly.
*Perviz S. Khazai is a law graduate and former and former Apprentice diplomat in French Ministry of Foreign Affairs- in IIAP(ENA) Paris, in United Nations in Geneva, In Red Cross International, In Council of Europe in Strasbourg and International Court of Justice in The Hague 1969-1971. He served as an international law expert of foreign affairs in Tehran 1976-1979 and served as the head of the mission and acting ambassador in Norway and Sweden in 1979-1982. He is now representative of NCRI in northern Europe.