TIROLER TAGESZEITUNG, leading article: “Caught in the logic of escalation”, by Christian Jentsch


Edition for Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Innsbruck (OTS) The fatal attack on the top Iranian nuclear researcher shortly before the change of power in the White House is fueling new tensions. In the conflict with Iran, the hardliners have taken command.

The fatal assassination attempt on the Iranian nuclear researcher Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on the street not far from the capital Tehran was probably meticulously planned. Tehran speaks of a “technically professional attack” and holds the Israeli secret service Mossad responsible for the act. And no clear denials come from Jerusalem. In any case, the attack is a signal. Everyone working on the Iranian nuclear program is targeted. Israel sees the Iranian nuclear program as an existential threat. And threats from Tehran to want to extinguish Israel pour fuel on the fire again and again. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing everything possible to bring the archenemy Iran to its knees. And he had found the ideal partner in the still incumbent US President Donald Trump. He unilaterally terminated the international nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama in May 2018 and instead opted for a policy of “maximum pressure”. With tough sanctions, Iran was practically cut off from the global economy and the country is on the verge of ruin. And it was not just Washington who increased the pressure on Tehran. Israel also sought solidarity with Iran’s powerful Arab neighbors. The claims of Iran as a Shiite hegemonic power are a thorn in their side. Particularly the strong man of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is fighting an extremely bloody proxy war with Iran in Yemen, is betting on hardship in the conflict with Tehran. Just recently there was a secret meeting in Saudi Arabia between Netanyahu, bin Salman and the outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
It was probably also a matter of hammering stakes in view of the change in power in the USA. The elected US President Joe Biden could revive the nuclear deal with Iran that Trump had canceled, so the fear of those who do not believe in the détente. But was the “maximum pressure” policy on Iran really that successful? It became clear that in the spiral of escalation the prospects for a peaceful solution are being lost. And: With the termination of the nuclear agreement, the life insurance of the moderates in Iran was cut, the hardliners have taken command again. The dream of opening up society in the Shiite state of god, which the pro-western middle class in Iran was briefly allowed to dream of, has burst.

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