It would be nice to live in a world where words carried as much weight as deeds, since we would each have reason to be much more attentive to what we say and hear. In reality, however, even though words count, it matters much more what people and governments do than what they say — unless it comes to Iran.
Listen to many an Israeli leader or a politician or pundit in Washington and one would conclude that every word that comes out of Tehran is loaded with enormous significance — at least if it can be construed negatively. The positive can easily be dismissed, but anything ominous is treated like a window revealing the future.
Fareed Zakaria recently described the nuclear deal with Iran as a “train wreck” because Iran’s president Rouhani has said that Iran would not destroy centrifuges “under any circumstances.”
Meir Javedanfar points out why Zakaria’s conclusion is premature.
I think Fareed is jumping the gun here. What the Iranian government, elected by people in limited regime monitored elections and what the un-elected regime headed by the supreme leader say is not always what they will always do.
This is why Iran should be judged by its actions and not its words.
Why am I saying this?
Because I have lost count of the number of times that Iranian regime and Iranian government officials have stated in the past that Iran would never cease enrichment at any level, be it temporary or permanent.
Here is one example. Here is another. And another. And another. I could go on.
These were all said prior to the 24th of November 2013 Geneva deal.
Yet we saw that as part of that deal, Iran did agree to halt enrichment at 20%.
That Iran’s leaders may say one thing and do another should be interpreted the right way: it shows pragmatism and flexibility.
The whole foundation of talks — something that America’s leaders often forget — is that the spoken word is a flexible medium. Talking shouldn’t be treated as a mechanism of coercion — an opportunity to force a weaker opponent to bend to ones demands. Such an approach inevitably and appropriately provokes resistance. Instead, what talking is all about is opening a space in which accommodations can be found. It’s about exploring avenues which in the absence of such talks, will remain invisible.
Good advice. If we listened to what comes out of Israel, wgich also includes the grandstanding Congress of the U.S., we would either be at war forever of already blown the world up. Considering the many times that the Israeli governments leaders have slapped in the face, American leaders, it’s a wonder that not one of them-U.S.-has found the guts to slap back. Perhaps the tide is changing?
Oh, and isn’t CNN trying to be just another Fox news station? That says a whole lot about Freeaed Zakaria.
There are certain historically bad decisions made throughout history. Neville Chamberlain declaring peace in our time after meeting with Hitler in Munich is one. Granting Iran sanctions relief without firm concessions to dismantle its nuclear program is another. What the West forgets and why this is such a bad deal is that we are conditioning an agreement on the “hope” of compliance from a nation who’s leaders answer to the word of God as interpreted by the supreme leader. At best that seems whimsical. At worst its very naive. Any agreement needs to call for concrete demonstrations of compliance, otherwise you can never ensure real change. Iran has never demonstrated it can follow through on agreements and unless it does so now, agreeing to lift sanctions on a promise is absurd
what can be done to stop Iran’s endless sprees of mass murders and national subversion and destruction? – oh, wait. That’s the US.