Arabs are warning that the Biden administration's appeasement of the extremist and terrorist regime in Tehran would allow Iran's proxy militias to continue their attacks on America's Arab allies and massively destabilize the Middle East. (Image source: iStock)
As the world's attention is focused on the Russia-Ukraine war, the Arabs are continuing to express fear about the possibility that the Biden administration and the world powers will revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The Arabs are warning that the appeasement of the extremist and terrorist regime in Tehran would allow Iran's proxy militias to continue their attacks on America's Arab allies and massively destabilize the Middle East. Dr. Ibrahim al-Nahhas, a prominent Saudi political analyst and academic, wrote on February 23:
"The parties of the international community that are negotiating with Iran, especially the P5+1 (the US and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, Britain, and Germany), must realize that the extremist Iranian regime has not, and will not, abide by international laws, regulations and agreements, even if it swore and signed or pledged to abide by and implement them... The Iranian regime was founded on the [former supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah] Khomeini ideology that adopts terrorism and believes in exporting chaos and destruction."
Nahhas cautions that if Iran obtains a nuclear agreement that prioritizes economic, commercial and investment interests at the expense of the security interests of the Arab countries, "the destructive capabilities and extremism of the Khomeini ideology that exported terrorism, chaos, havoc and destruction to the countries of the region will be enhanced."
The Khomeini ideology, Nahhas pointed out, has already brought destruction to Arab countries, including Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
Those who signed the 2015 nuclear deal made "major mistakes," the Saudi political analyst argued.
"They agreed to sit with a regime that explicitly declares its support and sponsorship of terrorism and extremism; they agreed to enter into secret talks [with Iran] without the knowledge of the countries that are negatively affected by the terrorism and extremism of the Iranian regime; and they signed an agreement that did not take into account the interests and concerns of the countries and peoples of the region."
By reaching that deal with Iran, Nahhas added, the US and the other world powers "implicitly accepted extremist political regimes and terrorist and destructive practices. They also accepted Iranian intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, the development of destructive weapons, and acquiring nuclear technology for military purposes."
Nahhas said that he believes that the talks in Vienna between Iran and the US and the world powers will lead to a deal that is worse than the previous agreement.
"The P5+1 group is once again moving towards rewarding the extremist Iranian regime for its terrorist and destructive policies, practices and behavior... This group works without realizing the direct harm to global security, peace and stability. This group needs to take into account the great danger that the extremist Iranian regime poses to global security, peace and stability. It needs to be aware of the great suffering caused by the Iranian regime's terrorism and extremism. It is necessary for this group to listen to the fears and concerns of the countries of the region about the continuation of Iran's nuclear program and to actually learn about the suffering of the peoples affected by the terrorism and extremism of the Iranian regime. The ambitions and policies of the extremist Iranian regime will cause further destabilization of security, peace and global stability if it is given more privileges in the nuclear and armaments fields. If the group does not acknowledge these facts, it will notice them when Iranian terrorism and extremism reach the countries (that are currently negotiating with Iran). The [Iranian] terrorism and extremism, however, will be more violent and destructive, given the nuclear and armaments benefits it will obtain from a new agreement.
Alarmed by reports of an imminent deal with Iran, Syrian political analyst and commentator Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali asserted on February 23 that the world will be less safe after the signing of a new nuclear accord with the mullahs in Tehran. Al-Ali wrote:
"Although the Biden administration pledged upon its arrival at the White House that it would not be a third term for former President Barack Obama, it is following him step by step... This is evident in the Biden administration's position on the Iranian nuclear issue. This position seems to be weak, hesitant and subject to Iranian blackmail."
Al-Ali pointed out that the Arabs have repeatedly called to make the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
"But is the nuclear agreement pushing the region a step in this direction? The answer is no. On the contrary, the new agreement will increase tension and push for an arms race and perhaps a race towards possessing nuclear technology. In the end, the countries of the region will not accept being hostage to Iranian nuclear technology."
The Syrian analyst said that according to various leaks, the emerging agreement with Iran does not address the "negative points" of the 2015 agreement that prompted then US President Donald Trump to withdraw from deal in 2018.
"The duration of the agreement is still a negative point," Al-Ali pointed out. "The question is, what will happen after the end of this period? Will Iran be free to reach the nuclear bomb?"
The most dangerous point, he warned, is that the US administration "has ignored other issues in which Iran poses a threat to the region, including the ballistic missile program."
"This program is dangerous in two respects. The first is the ability of Iranian missiles to carry nuclear warheads, and therefore ballistic missiles are part of the nuclear program, and there is no sense in any arrangements that do not take into account placing restrictions on it... The second issue is the spread of these ballistic missiles in the region and the provision of them to terrorist organizations. These missiles are now posing a threat to international trade routes, as well as to neighboring countries that are supposed to be allies of Washington."
Al-Ali also noted that the negotiations held in Vienna did not address Iran's support for terrorist militias.
"This is not a secondary or marginal issue, but it rather directly affects security and stability in the entire region... These militias are Iran's arm in the region and they intend to spread chaos and destruction wherever they are. The [new] agreement is expected to unleash Iran's hand in the region, as what happened during the Obama era, which led to an increase in violence in the region."
The US and its Western allies, Al-Ali said, are mistaken if they think that a new agreement will achieve progress in the region.
"Instead, we expect an increase in the pace of terrorist acts and the growth of conflicts in the region... The threat will reach Western societies. If an agreement is reached with Iran, this will be similar to the Munich Agreement, which released Hitler's hand in Europe and wreaked unprecedented havoc on Europe."
Veteran Lebanese journalist Kheirallah Kheirallah wrote on February 16 that the Biden administration seems ready to cave in to the mullahs in Tehran.
The Ukraine crisis, Kheirallah said, "exposed the weakness of the Biden administration, which appears ready to submit to the Islamic Republic."
"It is not surprising that Vladimir Putin went to the end in Ukraine after discovering that he faced an American administration that could not be more than an extension of Barack Obama's administration. The Biden administration can yell and threaten as much as it wants."
The US, according to the Lebanese journalist, has revealed its "impotence" everywhere in the world.
"Perhaps the most important thing Putin has noticed is that US allies do not trust it... The Russian president must have paused for a long time on American behavior towards what is happening in Yemen and Iran's aggression towards the Arab Gulf states. Whoever discovers all these American weaknesses can only work to benefit from them. There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin is a shrewd man who has manipulated Obama and is currently playing Biden."
Dr. Huda Raouf, an Egyptian political science teacher and researcher in regional and Iranian affairs, wrote that the Iranian regime has understood that the Middle East is no longer a priority for the Biden administration's policy. The Biden administration, according to Raouf, limited its view of the threats to American security to only China and Russia.
"With the sudden and uncalculated withdrawal from Afghanistan, we find that the Middle East is no longer a priority for American policy, which is what Iran finally understood... By looking at the developments of the Vienna talks, we find that the US intends to reach a reduced copy of the original 2015 agreement. So far, the Biden administration does not appear to have a comprehensive approach towards Iran. As long as the US does not negotiate with Iran about its regional behavior, it may have to build a framework with its partners and allies on their concerns regarding Iran even after the nuclear deal is revived."
Raouf noted that Iran feels that it is not being held accountable for its meddling in the internal affairs of the Arab countries.
"So far, it seems to Tehran that there is really no price to pay, as it has not been pressured about its actions in Iraq and its involvement in the wars in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. These are the most important challenges that may face the region, and there must be a mechanism for solving them. Reviving the [Iran nuclear] agreement will not change Iran's regional positions, including its support for groups such as Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen."
Lebanese editor and political activist Mustafa Fahs also expressed concern over the impending agreement. In his view, not reaching any agreement would be better than reaching a new one.
"The [upcoming] agreement seems to be a new factor of tension in the region, and not a factor of stability... The neighboring countries, especially the Arab Gulf states, cannot accept a nuclear agreement without restrictions on Iran's ballistic project and its regional influence, as fears that the agreement will be confined to the nuclear issue will lead to an escalation of regional tensions and push Tehran to invest more in its foreign projects."
In such a scenario, Fahs said, the lack of an agreement would be less harmful than reaching a new one.
"The lack of agreement will keep the conflict with Iran confined to the great powers," he added. The lack of agreement may also suit Tehran if it refuses to back down from some of its basic demands. The lack of agreement removes the specter of a confrontation [between Iran and the US]. The proposed agreement will open the door wide to crises."
Sayed Zahra, deputy editor of the Bahraini Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper, also asked whether US President Joe Biden has decided to "acquiesce" to Iran.
"Any follower of developments and current events and the positions and policies of the Biden administration will inevitably arrive at the fundamental fact that Biden has decided to acquiesce in Iran; he has decided to yield to its expansionist project, which ultimately aims to impose Iranian hegemony in the region...
"This project is linked to the terrorist and subversive role played by Iran and the forces, militias and groups affiliated with it in the Arab countries, especially Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Through these terrorist forces and groups, Iran represents a direct threat to the security and stability of Arab countries. It is sufficient for us to see terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by the Houthis [Iran-backed terrorist militia in Yemen]. This is the danger facing the Arab countries. What is important is that the issue of Iran's terrorist role in the region and the danger of its ballistic missiles is not at all on the table in the negotiations and does not receive any serious attention from America and other countries participating in the negotiations."
Zahra noted that the Gulf states had previously demanded to be partners in the negotiations, but their request was ignored by the US and the world powers.
"This simply means that there is an undeclared American message to Iran that the issue of Tehran's role in the region is not of much concern to Americans... In other words, it means that Iran and its proxies feel at liberty to do whatever they want. It is clear that the US administration has decided to succumb to the reality of Iranian being a nuclear power. It is clear that the US administration no longer cares much about the destructive terrorist role Iran is playing in the region and the capabilities it possesses that allow it to threaten Arab countries through its agents. We should expect that reaching a new agreement with Iran will mark the inauguration of a new era of escalation of the Iranian terrorist threat in the region. The Arab countries must prepare for this."
Clearly, many in the Arab world are aware of the dangers that derive from the Biden administration's anemic attitude towards Iran. These Arabs have alerted the world to the fact that they feel mortally threatened by Biden's perceived capitulation to the mullahs in Tehran and the destabilizing consequences for the region.
Most disturbing is what a growing number of Arabs are trying to warn the Biden administration about: that striking a new deal with Iran would not only embolden Iran and its terrorist proxies and endanger America's friends in the Middle East, but create calamitous turmoil, including a nuclear arms race "on steroids" in the region -- all of which would justifiably be blamed on the Biden administration. It appears that the Biden administration has chosen to ignore the likelihood of this terrifying scenario. It is a decision that is causing irreparable damage to America's credibility in the Middle East.
Moreover, as Arab analysts are saying in no uncertain terms, America and its Western allies are themselves in the sights of the mullahs in Tehran.
Worse, as with Biden's generosity to Russian President Vladimir Putin in extending the new START treaty and gifting him the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (which yesterday filed for bankruptcy), it will not buy goodwill. It will only appear as weakness and accelerate aggression against the West.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.