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Iran, Israel and the West | Iran, Israel und der Westen

Das deutsche Original befindet sich weiter unten.

Iran, Israel and the West: Is There a Way Out of the Crisis?

Interview with Ali Fathollah-Nejad & Hillel Schenker


Possible alternatives and the perception of the spiral of violence discussed in Berlin by German–Iranian political scientist Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Israeli journalist and peace activist Hillel Schenker at the invitation of German branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW Germany) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). The debate on which the following text is based upon was held on 23 April 2012 at the FES before an audience of over 150 diplomats, politicians, academics, students, NGO activists and other concerned citizens.

Moderator: Does the Middle-East face an armed, nuclear conflict between Israel and Iran? In the public discussion there are only three options: military action with conventional weapons, a nuclear attack or a continuation of the sanctions policy against Iran.

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: From the beginning, the West has used coercive diplomacy against Iran. This strategy does not aim at reconciliation of interests, but at a de facto capitulation of Iran. From the Iranian perspective, there has been a security deficit, which was enforced by the neoconservative wars of the last decade through the increased military presence of the Americans in the region. Due to the fact that the West didn’t take into account Iran’s legitimate security interests, coercive diplomacy has failed. The lack of any solution to the conflict has led to a continuing escalation.

Moderator: What are the effects of the sanctions policy of the West in Iran?

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: To put it briefly, sanctions have made legal trade illegal. The situation in Iran has dramatically tightened in the last few months. Prices are rising and the currency has lost nearly half of its value. It is the population who has to pay the price of sanctions. The élite owns the resources and has ways to withstand the sanctions. Hence, the sanctions actually widen the power gap between the ruling structures on one side and the civilian economy and society on the other. As a result, civil society finds itself in a state of siege, pressured by both an authoritarian regime and by sanctions and the permanent threat of war. Overall the policy of the West in the region pushed forward a process of securitization in the country. Instead of running towards an armed conflict, the focus should be on the process of balancing interests and perspectives for security and collaboration. It is alarming that there are no clear signals for de-escalation and conflict resolution, and this is true for Germany as well.

Moderator: Which are the reactions of the Israeli population on the debate around a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities?

Hillel Schenker: In Israel everyone is frightened of the possibility of Iranian nuclear armament. Public opinion surveys show this. For example the Israeli population was asked how they would react in case of a nuclear armament of Iran. 25% of the questioned answered they would possibly leave the country. Another survey shows that the majority of Israelis would be for giving up the Israeli nuclear weapons and becoming a part of a nuclear-free zone if this would prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Moderator: Is the statement from Iran that they are only interest in nuclear energy is the civil use convincing?

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: Due to its geography, its demography and its long cultural history, Iran has a particular place in the region. The country has a quasi-natural geopolitical influence. An important component of the strategic thinking in Tehran is that a nuclear bomb is counter-productive to their grand-strategic interests. If Iran went nuclear, it is probable that other states in the region, states which Iran is not friends with, like the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), such as Saudi Arabia, would get nuclear weapons. Such a nuclear stand-off would lead to the loss of the natural geopolitical importance of Iran.

Moderator: Which options about the Iranian nuclear program are discussed in the Israeli public?

Hillel Schenker: In the public discussion there are currently two strategies of how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. One idea is an Israeli or American or coordinated nuclear attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities. A large amount of military experts expect that this will lead to a spiral of violence in the region with a lot of civilian victims without leading to success. Another option would be a combination of sanctions and negotiations. But there is a third: direct negotiations between the two parties on neutral ground. These negotiations should aim to create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. In 2010 at a NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) review conference, it was decided that an international conference should be held to create such a nuclear weapons-free zone. The conference will be held at the end of this year, 2012, or at the beginning of next year in Finland, with the facilitation of Finnish Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava.

Moderator: How can civil society help lead this conference to success?

Hillel Schenker: From the point of view of the civil society it is essential that Israel and Iran will be attending this conference. If either does not attend, the conference will be a failure. The second point is the conference should not be a one-time event. It has to be the beginning of a process. Thirdly, all the participants have to recognize that a nuclear and mass destruction weapons-free zone and peace in the Middle East are not mutually exclusive; they depend on each other and they have to take place simultaneously.

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A previous version has been posted on the website of the Palestine–Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture on 25 July 2012. Fathollah-Nejad’s statements were originally made in German; the present version presents an edited translation thereof.



Ali Fathollah-Nejad & Hillel Schenker (2012) “Iran, Israel, and the West: Is There a Way Out of the Crisis?“, Palestine–Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture (online), 25/07

▪ slightly edited version republished on Fair Observer, 27/08 ▪ Global Research, Montreal: Centre for Research on Globalization, 28/08 ▪ Arab Spring Collective (Cairo), 29/08.

▪ posted on Red Horse Down, 12/09, Alex(ander) Patico (co-founder of the National Iranian American Council [NIAC] and member of the Board of Advisory of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran [CASMII]).


* * * * *


Iran, Israel und der Westen: Auswege aus der Bedrohungsspirale

Ein Interview mit Ali Fathollah-Nejad und Hillel Schenker


Droht im Nahen Osten ein militärischer Konflikt mit unabsehbaren Folgen, eine nukleare Auseinandersetzung zwischen Israel und dem Iran? Wenn man die öffentliche Diskussion aufmerksam verfolgt, dann scheint es im Nahen Osten zurzeit nur drei Optionen zu geben. Einen Militärschlag mit konventionellen Waffen, einen Nuklearschlag oder weiterhin eine scharfe Sanktionspolitik gegen den Iran.

Welche Alternativen möglich sind und wie die Spirale der Gewalt in beiden Ländern wahrgenommen wird, darüber diskutierten der israelische Journalist und Friedensaktivist Hillel Schenker und der deutsch-iranische Politologe Ali Fathollah-Nejad in Berlin auf Einladung der IPPNW und der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

[Lesen Sie hier weiter.] (pdf)



Ali Fathollah-Nejad & Hillel Schenker (2012) “Iran, Israel und der Westen: Auswege aus der Bedrohungsspirale” [Iran, Israel and the West: Exiting the Dangerous Spiral], interview, IPPNWforum, Berlin: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Germany, No. 130 (June), pp. 10–11.



U.S. Policy on Iran under Bush II and Obama

Ali Fathollah-Nejad puts the Iran policy of Barack Obama in perspective by also discussing the ideas of U.S. think-tanks and George W. Bush. He elaborates on his book The Iran Conflict and the Obama Administration: Old Wine in New Skins? [in German], Potsdam University Press, 2010 & 2011 (reprint).

Praise for the book include:
“A detailed and utterly persuasive indictment of US policy towards Iran.”
Dr. Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, author of Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic, Hurst 2007 and Columbia University Press 2008;
“[…] read with applause. A very thorough and succinct work. […] nothing important left out.”
Rudolph Chimelli, veteran journalist and Iran expert, Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany largest daily newspaper).


U.S. policy towards Iran under George W. Bush

What were the main features of the Iran policy of U.S. President George W. Bush?

As we all know, the U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran was marked by a highly confrontational attitude. The very fact that the Bush/Cheney administration decided to “thank” the Iranian government for its crucial assistance in toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan by autumn 2001, by naming Iran as part of an “axis of evil” in Bush’s State of the Union address in early 2002, has been a clear indication of the approach preferred towards Iran.

During the Bush II years (but already starting under the Clinton administration), there was tremendous pressure by neoconservative groups outside and inside the administration to effect a “regime change” in Tehran, even to the extent to ask the intelligence services to fabricate evidence for the alleged Iranian “nuclear threat” – stark efforts of political manipulation whose shadows still bear upon the current ties of those institutions as Seymour Hersh describes in his most recent piece on Iran policy for The New Yorker.

The neoconservatives who have been occupying the corridors of power in the first Bush II administration had been able to push through their ideas on how to cope with the Iran problem. These were centred around the principle of not talking to a “rogue state” (which in fact was the basis for the total dismissal of Iran’s “grand bargain” offer in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion o Iraq in spring 2003); an imperial posture that sought to impose a Diktat on Tehran on various topics ranging from the nuclear issue (encapsulated in the legally highly problematic and unrealistic demand for Iran to completely halt its nuclear programme) to regional ones (especially in the U.S. war theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan).

It was already during the second mandate of the Bush/Cheney administration that there was an awakening in some U.S. policy circles about the strategic deficiencies of the confrontational, if not belligerent, approach by Washington not only in the Iran question, but also in other theatres across West Asia. After all, the neoconservative-pushed invasions of Afghanistan (in October 2001) and Iraq (in March 2003) had eliminated Tehran’s immediate foes and thus paved the way for Iran’s increasing regional influence, particularly in post-Saddam Iraq and post-Taliban Afghanistan. Together with the deepening of the “Iraqi quagmire” – not least a result of the strength of the resistance there against the U.S.-led occupation –, by the mid-2000s Iran attained the status of an “indispensable nation” for any kind of strategic arrangements in the region – something the neo-cons in their obsession to aggressively confront Iran had been paradoxically the very enablers thereof. Of course, in the run-up to the war on Iraq, many U.S. Realists had warned about the geopolitical consequences of those invasions, but had been quite ignored.

Finally, the Realist camp’s comeback came with the December 2006 so-called Baker–Hamilton report, which being the first acknowledgement of U.S. policy failures in Iraq and beyond recommended a new approach involving diplomatic openings towards the formerly designated “rogue states” Iran and Syria in the effort to improve the U.S. status in the region.

In other words, before George W. Bush left office, it was clear that his administration’s neoconservative-influenced “don’t talk to Iran” stance has not been producing the desired results. Not only was Iran able – even enabled – to increase its regional standing, but its nuclear programme despite heavy pressures was not halted either. In the 2008 U.S. presidential elections, many presidential candidates tried to capitalize on that failure, among them Barack Obama who on some occasions talked about a new Iran policy approach, thus raising hopes of overcoming his predecessor’s sabre-rattling posture which pushed the world to the brink of another catastrophic war in that region.

However, it is too easily forgotten that the Bush/Cheney administration’s military offensive in the region had in fact enabled the U.S. to establish large, permanent military bases to the immediate east and west of Iran (but of course also in the “Greater Middle East”, in Afghanistan and Central Asia with a view on China), thus making Iran’s military encirclement by the U.S. complete. This situation, including the increasing militarization of the Persian Gulf, to this day nourishes Tehran’s sense of strategic insecurity.

Thus, in a nutshell, the best notion to describe George W. Bush’s Iran policy is “coercive diplomacy”, a term borrowed from Diplomatic Studies, which signals a policy that majorly relies on punitive measures (economic sanctions, political and military pressures) to force concessions from the other side. As such, the coercive strategy totally perverts the notion of diplomacy which only when exercised in “good faith” can bring about satisfying results to the parties involved.

Needless to say that legally this “coercive” approach is highly problematic – to say the least. Not only has the constant threat of war (being a clear violation of the UN Charter which in its Article 2(4) states that “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state […]”) been an indispensable feature of the “coercive diplomacy” or “strategy”, but the covert operations in Iran, including acts of sabotage and targeted assassinations to put a brake on the nuclear programme need also mentioning, not least because they still go on.

Policy recommendations regarding Iran by U.S. think-tanks

What policy recommendations have leading think-tanks made regarding Iran?

Against that background, the chance of an Obama Administration formulating a much more even-handed approach towards Iran was the key question, also given the proclaimed need for a “course correction”. I hence studied the various policy recommendation papers being prepared by old and also newly found think-tanks on the Iran question in the transition period between the Bush II and Obama administrations. Here I tried to identify the most important U.S. think-tanks on Iran and wider Middle East issues, and categorize their recommendations, which led me to list them under the following rubrics:

(1) Neoconservatives and liberal hawks favoured the continuation of the “coercive strategy”. This group which among others include the U.S. “Israel Lobby”, with its think-tank The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), has de facto been advocating a “roadmap to war” – aptly described by Jim Lobe –, based on the motto of capitulation or war. Still making alarmist assumptions about the Iranian “nuclear threat” and Tehran’s foreign policy goals in general, they still insist that Iran give up nuclear enrichment within an ultimatum, whose ultimate aim would be to legitimize in the eyes of the public the recourse to war. The logic here is very simple: By making unrealistic demands, the failure of any negotiations is wilfully anticipated, which then, according to the BPC, shall open the way for illegal measures such as an economic blockade and a military attack.

WINEP’s Patrick Clawson has summarized the rationale of such an approach as follows: “The principal target with these offers [to Iran] is not Iran. […] The principal target of these offers is American public opinion and world public opinion.” In this context Dennis Ross plays a key role as he has been actively involved in, if not at the forefront of, many Iran policy papers. Ross who is known for his advocacy for Israeli interests in Mideast “peace process” negotiations during the Clinton administration, was in February 2009 first appointed “Special Advisor for the [Persian] Gulf and Southwest Asia” for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then only four months later joined the National Security Council staff as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the “Central Region” (including the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia): Applied to the policy on Iran, his concept of “smart statecraft” stresses the need for “more carrots and more sticks”, very much echoing the approach preferred during the Bush II years, with the “carrots” remaining unspecified, while the “sticks” are being fully deployed. Of course, the Saudi lobby and the wider military-industrial complex ought to be located in this category as well, plus a considerable part of Obama’s administration, including UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

(2) The mainstream élite think-tanks (above all, the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) argued for a more (but not exclusively) Realpolitik-based strategy in order to serve U.S. interests in the region, which they believe have not been pursued adequately. They warn against a blind repetition of Bush’s Iran policy which they see as having failed. Instead the U.S. should be ready for engagement with Iran, knowing that this will be time-consuming and arduous. Generally, it is stressed that Iran could be contained, even as a nuclear state.

However, within these “centrist” circles there is a wide range of opinions, even including the “unattractive option” of a preventive strike on Iran, as formulated in an article in CFR’s Foreign Affairs by the Council’s President Richard Haass and the Director of Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle East Policy Martin Indyk.

(3) Moderate circles called for a whole new Iran policy embracing real diplomacy that would also take Iranian security and other interests into account. Countering existing myths about Iranian foreign-policy behaviour (especially when it comes to question of rationality in Tehran’s actions), they make the case for a serious diplomacy and a sustainable engagement with Iran. This group involves many Iran experts and long-standing U.S. diplomats (who e.g. gathered in the American Foreign Policy Project). Indeed they have drawn the right lessons of decades of misleading U.S. policy towards Iran and offer a viable strategy for the future.

U.S. policy towards Iran under Barack Obama

To what extent is President Barack Obama’s Iran policy in line with his predecessor’s policy and the advice of think-tanks?

The conclusion of my study was that it was unlikely to see a change in Washington’s Iran policy under Obama, mainly for the following reasons:

(1) Those advocating the continuation, even deepening of Bush’s “coercive strategy” were clearly very much present. During the Bush II years, neoconservative policy-advising circles had been firmly anchored in the policy debates, foremost when it came to the Iran question – an obsession they shared with the U.S. and Israeli governments – where they had acquired some expertise, albeit a very biased one. This sort of institutionalization in the policy-advising sphere has not disappeared with the new administration. In fact, most neocons and “liberal hawks” approved of Obama’s designations being a proof of his sense for “continuity”, as he not only chose the incumbent Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his hawkish Democratic Party rival Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (who during the presidential campaign had promised “tough diplomacy” towards Iran), but he also took over Stuart Levey in the Treasury Department, the man who since 2004 had been in charge of firmly internationalizing the sanctions regime, especially in the field of financial sanctions.

(2) The domestic blockade in the U.S. for a change in the Iran policy still remains intact and is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Of course, fundamental changes to the detriment of U.S. interests, above all a success of the Egyptian revolution or change within Saudi Arabia might trigger a radical new strategic thinking in Washington, which might be in line with what Stephen Kinzer is arguing in his Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future (New York: Times Books, 2010), i.e. a strategic reorientation of the U.S. towards Turkey and Iran, and to the detriment of Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, we are not likely to see the latter happening anytime soon, as the Israel Lobby, the military-industrial complex and the Saudi Lobby are all powerful and interconnected politico-economic alliances fighting any prospects for a U.S.–Iranian rapprochement, and more generally favouring a continuation of militaristic policies in the region.

As to how far Obama’s Iran policy is in line with the advice of think-tanks as discussed above, we can foremost mention the still dominant belief in the U.S. – shared by most think-tanks – that Iran must halt its nuclear programme and be deprived of nuclear material for building a bomb. When the nuclear talks were resumed by autumn 2009 around the issue of providing the Tehran Research Reactor with the needed 20% enriched uranium for medical purposes, such a stance informed Washington’s strategy aimed at preventing an Iranian nuclear break-out capability. This goal then failed in the face of Tehran’s insistence on a simultaneous swap of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) against that higher enriched one. In brief, the talks ultimately failed as a result of Washington’s miscalculated assumption that it could strike a deal which would ship the bulk of Iran’s nuclear material – in fact Tehran’s bargaining chip in its talks with great powers – outside the country.

(3) The more general point is the continuing reliance on the “coercive strategy” – or in the language of major powers, the “dual-track approach” – which is still heavily based on the imposition of punitive measures, above all economic and financial sanctions, in the case Iran does not comply with long-established demands such as the halt of the nuclear programme. Now with Russia and China also benefitting from the sanctions regime against Iran, the continuation of that strategy is being favoured. This was starkly witnessed in the negative reactions by all the UN veto powers to the Brazil- and Turkey-brokered deal with Iran on 17 May 2010, basically pointing out that the Iran issue had to be dealt with within the UN Security Council. Three weeks later, the latest round of tightened UN sanctions was imposed on Iran. Hence, for now we are still inside the vicious circle inherent to the “coercive strategy”, in which it seems more and more actors are finding their niches to profit from.

As a result, by June 2010, the Iran expert of the Council on Foreign Relations, Ray Takeyh, observed that “[…] the strategy has shifted from conciliation to coercion.” Given the improbability of that strategy to succeed, I think it is high time for the West to contemplate about an Iran policy beyond sanctions, which has not only cemented the positions of hardliners on all sides, but also block any advancement in the diplomatic stand-off and on wider regional issues of crucial importance to all parties involved.



Ali Fathollah-Nejad (2011) “U.S. Policy on Iran under Bush II and Obama”, Interview by Leonhardt van Efferink (Editor of ExploringGeopolitics), published on :

Iran Review, 20 September;

Global Research, Montreal: Centre for Research on Globalization, as “From Bush to Obama: US Policy Towards Iran“, 20 September;

Iranian Diplomacy, as “Iran: Barack Obama, Encirclement, Dual-Track Approach“, 25 September.



Safdari, Cyrus (2011) “US Policy on Iran: The Truth is Emerging“, Iran Affairs: Iranian Foreign Policy and International Affairs, 5 October.

Iran in the Eye of Storm


»absolutely fascinating«

Professor Anoushiravan Ehteshami (Dean of the »School of Government and International Affairs«, Durham University, United Kingdom), 11 April 2007

»The study is of great interest«

Professor Michel Chossudovsky (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, and Director »Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG)«, Montreal, Canada), 5 April 2007


Professor Emeritus Hans-Jürgen Krysmanski (Institute of Sociology, University of Münster, Germany), 11 October 2007

»Highly interesting«

Professor Albert A. Stahel (Director of the »Institute for Strategic Studies«, Zurich, Switzerland), 13 March 2008

»umfassende und sehr lesenswerte Studie«

Informationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI), Tübingen, 13. April 2007


Abstracts in English, German and French

English | The Iran crisis has become a synonym for escalation dangerously tending towards confrontation. Tehran therein is accused by the U.S.-led West of developing nuclear weapons. This in fact is an alerting highlight in the tense history of U.S.-Iranian relations since World War Two, as we clearly hear the war bells ring. What lies behind that present Irano-Western conflict has to be seen in a broader historical and political context: Beginning with the 1953 coup d’état against Iran’s democratically elected Mossadegh government till recent wars in the Iranian periphery, American interventionist foreign policy in the world economy’s most crucial region, the Middle East, proves a great deal of bitter continuity in its push for controlling this part of the world for the sake of global hegemony. The new U.S. preventive war doctrine provides the political legitimacy for such an agenda. The major battlefield of this militaristic agenda of America’s grand strategy seems to be focused on the ‘Greater Middle East.’ Besides having to cope with a considerable security dilemma due to tremendous trembles in her environment, Iran now sees herself targeted as an exclusive member of the ‘Axis of Evil.’ This paper will attempt to clarify the interests at stake for the sole remaining superpower. It will thus argue that the only meaningful way to perceive the present conflict is through considering its politico-strategic background and implications. The Iran crisis is indeed a significant symptom of a unilateral world order on the verge of collapse. To prevent a catastrophic conflagration, an unbiased engagement by the European Union is indispensable in order to decrease the regional security dilemma by ultimately establishing a nuclear-free Near and Middle East zone. Europe should assume responsibility vis-à-vis her neighboring region, for surrendering to New Order fantasies à l’Américaine will heavily harm her own interests.

Français | La crise iranienne est devenue un synonyme pour une escalade dangereusement menant à la confrontation. Téhéran est accusé par l’Occident, mené par les Etats-Unis, de vouloir développer l’arme nucléaire. Ceci est en fait une culmination alarmante des relations américano-iraniennes depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale, comme nous entendons clairement les cloches de guerre sonner. Ce qui est derrière ce présent conflit irano-occidental doit être considéré en prenant en compte le contexte historique et politique : Commençant par le coup d’état de 1953 contre le gouvernement iranien démocratiquement élu de Mossadegh jusqu’aux guerres récentes dans la périphérie iranienne, la politique étrangère interventionniste des Américains dans la région la plus prépondérante pour l’économie mondiale, le Moyen-Orient, atteste une continuité amère dans sa volonté de contrôler cette part du monde. Désormais, la nouvelle doctrine de guerres préventives des Etats-Unis offre la légitimité politique pour un tel agenda visé à sauvegarder son hégémonie mondiale vis-à-vis ses rivaux. Le champ de bataille majeur de cet agenda militariste de la politique mondiale des Etats-Unis semble se concentrer sur le « Grand Moyen-Orient ». Face à un considérable dilemme sécuritaire, l’Iran se voit dorénavant ciblé en tant que membre exclusif de l’« Axe du Mal ». Cette étude veut clarifier les intérêts en jeu pour l’hyper-puissance. Elle veut ainsi argumenter que la seule manière significative de percevoir le conflit présent se fait par la considération des éléments de base au niveau politico-stratégique. Afin de réduire le dilemme sécuritaire régional, un engagement sérieux par l’Union européenne est indispensable qui devrait viser l’établissement d’une Conférence sur la sécurité et la coopération dans un Proche- et Moyen-Orient complètement dépourvu d’armes nucléaires. L’Europe devrait assumer ses responsabilités face à sa région voisine, car en cédant à des fantaisies d’un « New Order » à l’Américaine ses propres intérêts seront terriblement nuis.

Deutsch | Die Iran-Krise ist zum Synonym einer gefahrenvollen Eskalation, die gen Konfrontation tendiert, geworden. Der von den Vereinigten Staaten geführte Westen wirft Teheran vor, die Atomwaffe entwickeln zu wollen. Dies ist in der Tat ein alarmierender Höhepunkt in den iranisch-amerikanischen Beziehungen seit Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs, zumal die Zeichen unverkennbar auf Krieg weisen. Um die Hintergründe dieses Konfliktes zu verstehen, darf ein Blick auf den historischen sowie politischen Kontext nicht außer Acht bleiben: Beginnend mit dem 1953 erfolgten Staatsstreich gegen Irans demokratisch gewählte Mossadegh-Regierung bis hin zu Kriegen neueren Datums in Irans Peripherie, zeugt die interventionistische US-Außenpolitik in der für die Weltwirtschaft ausschlaggebendsten Region, dem Mittleren Osten, von der bitteren Kontinuität diesen Teil der Welt beherrschen zu wollen. Die Präventivkriegs-Doktrin der USA stellt die politische Legitimation solch eines Unternehmens dar, dessen Anspruch es ist ihre weltumspannende Hegemonie aufrechtzuerhalten. Der dafür identifizierte Hauptkampfschauplatz scheint unverkennbar der „Größere Mittlere Osten“ zu sein. Einem existentiellen Sicherheitsdilemma ausgesetzt, sieht sich Iran derweil als exklusives Mitglied der „Achse des Bösen“ im unmittelbaren Schussfeld. Die vorliegende Studie beabsichtigt die auf dem Spiel stehenden Interessen der einzig verbliebenen Supermacht zu verdeutlichen. So argumentiert sie, dass die einzig konstruktive Weise diesen Konflikt zu betrachten eine sein muss, die den politisch-strategischen Implikationen bezüglichen des internationalen Systems Rechnung trägt. Um das regionale Sicherheitsdilemma zu verringern, ist ein ehrliches Engagement der Europäischen Union für eine nuklearfreie Zone unerlässlich. Europa sollte sich gegenüber seiner immens bedeutsamen Nachbarregion seiner Verantwortung stellen. Sich stattdessen amerikanischen Neuordnungsfantasien zu beugen, würde ihr großen Schaden zufügen.





1. Geoeconomic Centers: The Stage of Empire

1) The Middle East’s Centrality for the World

2) Iran’s Centrality in the Middle East

2. Geostrategic Hot Spot: The Age of Gulf Wars

1) Oil and Democracy

2) Iran and Great Powers Rivalry


1. 21st Century U.S. Grand Strategy

1) On How to Designate American Supremacy

2) The ‘Cheney Report’ on Energy Policy (May 2001): On Securing Oil

3) The 2002 National Security Strategy: The ‘Preemptive’ Strike Doctrine

4) The ‘Greater Middle East Initiative’: America’s Restructuring Offensive

5) The 2006 National Security Strategy: Putting Iran in Crosshairs

6) A Carefully Prepared Highly Explosive Mixture

2. Iran and America’s Wars

1) Iranian Détente as Response to U.S. Containment and Peripheral Wars

2) Iran’s Security Dilemma: U.S. Militarization of the Middle East

3) Forced Modus Vivendi: ‘Axis of Evil’ as Reward for Cooperation

4) The Neocons in the Corridors of PowerŽ


1. On Iran’s Nuclear Program?

1) The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and Its Erosion

2) Historical Outline of Iran’s Nuclear Program

3) Dilemmas of Double-Standard and Dual-Use                            

2. On How Diplomacy Can Pave the Way for War

1) Negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Program: Escalating Diplomacy

2) Why the Talks’ Failure was Foreseeable

3) Tackling the Real Issues: How Diplomacy Can Finally Succeed


1. Who is the International Community? On Global Fissures

1) The West’s Sole Agency Claim

2) Southern Objection

2. The Global Hegemon’s Decisive Battle

1) Stranglehold on its Rivals: America’s ‘Oil Weapon’

2) Feeling the Hegemon’s Squeeze: Asian Great Powers and Iran

3) Consequences of an Iran War

4) Who Would Benefit from an Iran War and Who Not?

5) The War Bells Ring: America and the World at the Crossroads

Concluding Remarks




Ali Fathollah-Nejad (2007) Iran in the Eye of Storm, 2nd fully revised version, April, 95 pages | 3rd updated version, May, 103 pages, German Power Structure Research, Peace and Conflict Studies, Institute of Sociology, University of Münster (Germany) [over 8,000 downloads until 1 May 2007];

republished by the Institute for Strategic Studies, Zurich, 3rd updated version, 2007;

documented by the Informationsstelle Militarisierung [Information Agency Militarization] (IMI), Tübingen (Germany), 13 April 2007;

reprinted as Report by Nathan Hale Institute for Intelligence and Military Affairs (Boise, ID: Liberty Park, USA™ Foundation).