In fact, Rubin also says that the Islamic Republic is unwilling to negotiate in good faith at all, and he even maintains that this is apparent from Iranian officials’ public statements. As has previously been noted by Iran News Update, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to this week’s extension by saying that it signified an inability of the Western powers to “bring Iran to its knees.” For his part, President Hassan Rouhani described the extension as a “significant victory” by Iran over the West.
Rubin insists that all of this is indicative of the nuclear talks being used to advance the same old slogans of the Islamic Republic, which are and have been for 35 years, death to America, death to Britain, and death to Israel.
Indeed, Ayatollah Khamenei and other high ranking Iranian officials like IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari have specifically connected Iran’s communications with the West to the government’s policies regarding the destruction of Israel. Via his official Twitter account, Khamenei said, “Know that whether or not we reach a nuclear agreement, Israel becomes more insecure day by day.”
Naturally, Israel’s supporters in the West regard these remarks with severe concern. But aside such explicit threats, the rhetorical Iranian response to continued negotiations raises definite questions about Iran’s intentions toward its other traditional adversaries, including the United States.
Both of these concerns have been expressed on many occasions by Republican and some Democratic legislators in the US government. They have been largely ignored by the White House, and many observers feel that this negative response is motived by President Obama’s desire to turn Iran into a stable partner in the region, especially in both nations’ fights against Islamic State militants.
One of the latest oppositional expressions of concern has come from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and as Ground Report emphasizes, this statement seems to directly respond to Obama’s policy of focusing on the dangers of ISIS to the exclusion of those posed by Iran. The cautionary message emphasizes that the Iranian regime “has been complicit in the rise of ISIS by pushing a violent sectarian agenda throughout the Middle East.”
The statement went on to point out the danger that this violent sectarian agenda poses not only for Israel and for Sunnis in the region but also for the US’s own interests. “The Administration needs to understand that this Iranian regime cares more about trying to weaken America and push us out of the Middle East than cooperating with us.”
These observations and the fear that the Obama administration does not understand the situation have led to attempts by Congress to take a larger role in the negotiating process. Such a role will be almost certain in January when the Republican Party takes control of the Senate, and Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas outlined the motivation behind that role, in comments carried by the Hays Post:
“As negotiations carry on, Congress must continue to demand terms that secure lasting and verifiable dismantlement of Iran’s illicit nuclear program. Any sanctions relief must be dependent on evident compliance by Iran. The world has too much at stake to accept a dangerous deal that disregards the concerns of Congress and the American people.”
What’s more, similar concerns are shared by arguably unbiased international organizations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been probing the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, concurrently with the P5+1 negotiations. IAEA head Yukiya Amano reiterated this past week that Iran is stonewalling the probe by failing to provide requested information and refusing to accept the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would permit an open inspection arrangement.
Iran has provided some new information occasionally and with strict limitations, but the overall secrecy fails to resolve questions about the regime’s breakout time and actually exacerbates worries about the regime attempting to “sneak out” to nuclear weapons capability without the West noticing.