In Munich, officials from superpower countries met. Iran was number one on the menu list for lunch. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister and Iran’s ally, defended the Islamic Republic and warned of a plan to attack it.
“For years during our meetings with Gulf countries we searched for a possibility to hold a security conference in which all [permanent U.N.] Security Council members, European Union and perhaps the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe participate. Our suggestion is still on. It does not only take into consideration the needs of Gulf countries but also Iran’s legitimate interests. [Iran] itself fears for its security and it has been twice attacked without attacking anyone,” he said.
As for Germany, a major country involved in negotiating with Iran, its foreign minister adopted the idea of resorting to dialogue again.
Guido Westerwelle said: “This current year will be decisive regarding the Iranian nuclear program. We have to frankly and [clearly] speak. We have not made any progress in the past 12 months. It is axiomatic that we use the available time this year to make progress. Iran’s nuclear program does not only affect Israel’s security, as the U.S. and Europe understand, but it [also] affects the engineering of world and regional security. During the past year, we talked of the race the region will witness if Iran possesses nuclear weapons.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s statements during the conference were carried out repeatedly by various media outlets. One can say that the most important is that which Biden did not say. Biden did not mention the military option and did not threaten using it. He retreated from the previous U.S. promise and spoke for long about the peaceful solution.
"We would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership... that offer stands but it must be real and tangible," the U.S. vice president told the Munich Security Conference.
The Russian says trust Iran, the German wants to resume dialogue without conditions and the American increased gifts for the Iranians hoping they would stop.
We know Iran’s behavior since the beginning of the 1980’s. It only retreats when it senses the seriousness of the threat against it. This is why it never comes near Israel and why it was afraid of making a move against former U.S. President George W. Bush.
Now, the Iranian leadership reads the current U.S. policy as one that does not dare commit a military strike against it no matter what it does, including finishing a nuclear weapon. So, Iran will continue working on its nuclear weapon. After that, Iran will become nuclear and the regional situation will become more complicated and Iranian threats will increase across the world.
Let us keep in mind that those ruling Iran are not politicians but a radical religious group that has wrecked in the region for thirty years, and when it becomes nuclear, it will be impossible to deter it.
This article first appeared in Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 4, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.