Arshin Adib-Moghaddam: However this plays out, Iran's leader can claim a win

Share
Related Topics

This political crisis has more to do with manufactured "diplomatics" ahead of Thursday's meeting in Geneva than with the facts. The revelation by President Barack Obama that Iran is constructing a "secret" nuclear fuel facility, a few days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received a letter from the Iranians declaring that a new pilot enrichment plant is under construction, is meant to compromise Iran's bargaining position ahead of the talks. The threat of "crippling" sanctions and the loud denunciations by Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown are geared to pressuring the Ahmadinejad administration into accepting more comprehensive inspections by the IAEA.

From the Iranian perspective, the revelations will be used to present the country's nuclear enrichment capabilities as a fait accompli, something that no new sanctions or other diplomatic pressures could redress. The indifferent reaction to the storm of protest about the Qom facility indicates that, for Iran, enrichment of uranium on Iranian soil is legitimate under NPT regulations and non-negotiable in the forthcoming talks.

For President Ahmadinejad, all of this renewed attention comes in rather handy. Via the current diplomatic process he is trying to reassert his authority in the face of ongoing protests. Any standoff with the US and its allies is very functional to this end. Not only does it promise to unite Iranian society behind a common, national cause and divert attention from recurrent flares of dissent, it bestows to Ahmadinejad and his conservative backers the kind of legitimacy they failed to secure via the electoral process in the country.

The Iranian president thinks he is in a win-win situation. If the US and its allies tighten sanctions and refrain from reining in Israeli calls for military action, he and his supporters can divert attention away from their flawed economic policies and blame the "West". They would also find any further escalation conducive to quelling domestic dissent in the name of "national security".

But if the nuclear issue were to be resolved, in my opinion something that the Iranian state (both reformers and conservatives) are genuinely interested in, it would deliver Ahmadinejad an important political victory. No wonder he is smiling. He seems rather at ease, despite his compromised position within the country that he purports to represent.



The writer is an SOAS academic and author of 'Iran in World Politics: the Question of the Islamic Republic'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album