What is Worse? Negotiating with the Enemy or Being a Secrete Neo-Keynesian?

Is Hassan Rouhani secretly negotiating with Israel? Or worse, is he a secrete Neo-Keynesian!?

According to an IRGC officer and head of the think thank 'Center of Borderless Security Doctrinal Analysis' he is.

Hassan Abassi had accused Rouhani of these two unforgivable atrocities during a speech at Ardebil Azad University.

According to The Middle East Eye Abassi said

“No matter how hard you try to escape, one day you will be tried in the Islamic Republic for holding talks with Israel,” Abbasi said. “I assure you, as long as I am alive, I will not let you escape [punishment for] negotiating with Israelis.”

Keep in mind, he did not present any evidence of this.

This is all happening in the wake of mass protests that sparked up over the rise is gas prices (that were sparked by sanctions from Trump's Maximum pressure campaign) and while there is a conservative push in the Iranian parliament for impeachment.

According to the Middle East Eye

...Clergy member and legislator Mojtaba Zolnour was collecting lawmakers’ signatures for Rouhani’s impeachment based on charges such as “spreading divisive speech, carrying out dull economic policies, being incompetent in managing the country”, and causing a sharp fall in the value of the country’s currency.

So ignoring the fact this anti Rouhani sentiment over the price of gas and his need to adopt the use of 'Neo-Keynesian' principles is all directly a result of the 'Maximim Pressure' placed on by the US (a campaign that appears to going exactly as planned with the protests and call for the ousting of Rouhani ie, regime change to instill a more cooperative leader who will bend to the will of the US Empire), isn't this inline with Iran's foreign policy? Barring, of course, the 'Neo Keynesianism.'

It should be. It's kind of what has become a trend over the last couple of months here, these secret and sometimes not-so-secrete background talks with foreign nations.

Isn't Kuwait relaying messages between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain?

Oman openly called for talks with Iran at an oil conference in the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking of the UAE (an ally to Saudi Arabia), they had held talks over the summer with Iran during the 'Tanker Wars' situation in the Straight of Hormuz.

Also, most importantly, isn't this opening of dialogue needed to achieve the 'new paradigm of cooperation in our region' the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif was calling at for Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan?

Here are some of his quotes according to AsiaTime.com

He was adamant that there’s a possibility of implementing “a new paradigm of cooperation in our region,” referring to Nazarbayev’s efforts: a real Eurasian model of security. But that, Zarif explained, “requires a neighborhood policy. We need to look at our neighbors as our friends, as our partners, as people without whom we cannot have security. We cannot have security in Iran if Afghanistan is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Iraq is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Syria is in turmoil. You cannot have security in Kazakhstan if the Persian Gulf region is in turmoil.”

Alright, alright we get it.  The US has caused a world of trouble throughout the middle east.  Almost like having a nation half way across the world who doesn't understand the people or the culture shouldn't be forcing policy changes and taking sides in disputes.  Policing the world is a bad idea.  But what would you suggest, Dr. Zarif?

"President Rouhani this year, in the UN General Assembly, offered a new approach to security in the Persian Gulf region, called HOPE, which is the acronym for Hormuz Peace Initiative – or Hormuz Peace Endeavor so we can have the HOPE abbreviation.”

HOPE?  Please, go on.

HOPE, explained Zarif, “is based on international law, respect of territorial integrity; based on accepting a series of principles and a series of confidence building measures; and we can build on it as you [addressing Nazarbayev] built on it in Eurasia and Central Asia. We are proud to be a part of the Eurasia Economic Union, we are neighbors in the Caspian, we have concluded last year, with your leadership, the legal convention of the Caspian Sea, these are important development that happened on the northern part of Iran. We need to repeat them in the southern part of Iran, with the same mentality that we can’t exclude our neighbors. We are either doomed or privileged to live together for the rest of our lives. We are bound by geography. We are bound by tradition, culture, religion and history.” To succeed, “we need to change our mindset.”

Huh.

Well that's all well and good for Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar; your southern land (or water) locked neighbors.  What about, say,  Israel, Dr.Zarif?

“There is still an arms embargo against Iran on the way. But we are capable of shooting down a US drone spying in our territory. We are trying simply to be independent. We never said we will annihilate Israel. Somebody said Israel will be annihilated. We never said we will do it.”
It was, Zarif said, Benjamin Netanyahu who took ownership of that threat, saying, “I was the only one against the JCPOA.” Netanyahu “managed to destroy the JCPOA. What is the problem? The problem is we decided not to fold. That is our only crime. We had a revolution against a government that was supported by the United States, imposed on our country by the United States, [that] tortured our people with the help of the United States, and never received a single human rights condemnation, and now people are worried why they say ‘Death to America’? We say death to these policies, because they have brought nothing but this farce. What did they bring to us? If somebody came to the United States, removed your president, imposed a dictator who killed your people, wouldn’t you say death to that country?”

Hmmm.  Well, I will take this for what it is but to consider that the Iranian Foreign Minister is calling for the peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries and saying there can be no security for anyone if a neighbor is in turmoil, that's something to consider.  Also his bit about if a some country removed the US president, set up a dictator that kills the people, that might sour the US peoples view of said country. Compelling case.

But this whole Israel thing, I understand you're saying Iran never said they would annihilate them, someone did but not you.  And if/when that ever happens it will not be Iran.

So you think Netanyahu used that against you to fear monger and demonize Iran?  Kinda like he's playing a zero-sum game.  Either Israel can win, or Iran can win.  There is no third option.  

Well then, one last thing Dr. Zarif.  What are you're thoughts on zero sum games and the current geopolitical situation?

“in every zero-sum game everybody loses.”
Zarif identifies three major problems in our current geopolitical madness:
First: a “zero-sum mentality on international relations that doesn’t work anymore;”
Second: winning by excluding others (“We need to establish dialogue, we need to establish cooperation”);
Third: and “the belief that the more arms we purchase, the more security we can bring to our people.”

Whoaa.

(Now I must admit when talking about zero sum games he was referring to the JCPOA and US relations.  But I can not recommend this article enough if you have not already read it.  Here is a link. It is well worth the time.)

So getting back to this military man Abassi who is accusing Rouhani of negotiating with a regional neighbor, Israel.  Is this an example of the inner divide that is festering under the surface of Iranian politics or is this just an opportunist who is wittingly or unwittingly playing into the US's hands?  Or is it a little bit of both?

It appears that Rouhani and Zarif are at least on the same page with one another. Cooperation, opening dialogue, negotiating, peaceful coexistence in the region.

And maybe these hardlined clerics and conservatives who are supported by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (who by the way supported Rouhani's rise in gas prices though admitted he deferred to the experts because he was not one himself) really just can not get behind the idea of speaking with Israel what so ever and view it as a deadly sin that can land Rouhani in the Farah Pool (where the last Iranian president's body was found).

But in any event, what is yet to be seen is evidence of these negations and the details of what was negotiated.

Remember rumors coming from intelligence agencies of countries negotiating with Israel have been circulating around about others (the article linked is titled 'Oman denies Mossad chief’s claim it’s establishing diplomatic ties with Israel')

Also, speaking of intelligence agency's,  Abassi and his supporters should be weary of the unlikely allies they may gain in calling for the oust of Rouhani, ie Mike Pompeo.

I am also not clear on the support for Abbisi and his calls for impeachment by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  It is not yet clear if it is just in general and prior to this new finding of Rouhani negotiations, meaning this can pull Khamenei's support away for being a sham or, if real, not agreeing that negotiations with Israel is a problem, or if Khamenei is also directly supporting Abassi and his claims and the call of impeachment.

Something we will indeed have to wait and see.

But to me this all looks like the true goals of the 'Maximum Pressure' campaign are finally starting to be reached.  With the protests, this IRGC leader Abbisi looking to take out Rouhani, and the difficult situation Rouhani and Zarif find themselves in as they are trying to remain independent and coexist in their 'neighborhood' while facing sanctions and being in a war torn region, Iran is right where Trump and Pompeo want them.  

Take care.

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