Iran’s Defense Minister responded to rumors in past days as to Iran’s stepping back from conducting missile tests and emphasized that there will not be any changes in the “Islamic Republic’s” missile programs.
His words are expressed under conditions when Iran’s last missile test faced international reactions, and by U.S. demand, an emergency session of the UN Security Council was held to deal with this issue. It is expected that conducting similar missile tests would face harsher reactions, and its first expected consequence would be encouraging the U.S. Senate and Congress to impose new sanctions against individuals and organizations that are affiliated with Iran’s missile program.
» New Alliances
After Donald Trump’s presidency, Iran’s military exercises probably aim at sending the message of Iran’s readiness and resolve to keep its previous positions against Washington. Trump in his numerous positions against Tehran has warned Iran to be careful about its behaviors, and understand that conditions have changed in the U.S. members of Trump’s team, with their hostile views towards the “Islamic Republic” and their deep sympathy with Israel, add fuel to this hypothesis that there are no hopeful conditions for alleviating tension between Tehran and Washington, and more strained days are to be expected.
Understanding this complicated international game has provided this opportunity for Iran’s neighbors to oppose Iran more significantly. Munich Security Conference was the place where Iran’s regional rivals frankly and without usual diplomatic language expressed their dissatisfactions with Iran’s regional policies. Turkey which has had longstanding tension with Iran over Syria for a long time called Iran the “divisive country” in the region, showing that scars due to Syrian crisis are so deep that they cannot be so easily healed.
Saudi Arabia adopted a harsher stance than Turkey, and its Foreign Minister questioned Iran’s claims as to opening a new chapter in relationships. When Adel Al-Jubeir said that Iran is after destroying Saudi Arabia.
» Diplomacy of Ifs and Buts
The events in Munich Conference can be considered as a failure for the diplomacy of Rouhani’s government, showing increasing difficulties that can make Iran’s regional foreign policy face difficulties that are more serious. If the chain of a regional alliance against Iran gets more complete, and the circle of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other related countries becomes active against Tehran with more resolve, it should be expected that 2017 would be one of convenient years for “Islamic Republic’s” foreign policy. Alliance against Tehran with the support of Trump’s administration will not face serious challenges, and its priorities are almost clear. Regional rivals are first after stopping Iran’s influence in Arab countries of the region— especially Syria, Iraq and Yemen—and reversing the impacts of this influence.
In this regard, Saudi Arabia has announced its readiness to deploy military ground troops to Syria to make sure that after capturing a region, Iran, Syria or ISIL will not have dominance over it. Such a plan will not be fruitful without the U.S. serious support, because currently Russia is the major player in Syria, and Riyadh cannot advance such an ambitious plan all by itself.
Syria and plan of Iran’s rivals to win the game is only one example of small and big differences that exist. Iran has neither many options nor significant allies to change the conditions. Iran more than anything relies on Moscow, that plays a major role in keeping Assad in power. There is no guarantee that Russia wants to pay more costs, and it is also this predicted that Putin is after easing the tension with the U.S. after years of quarrels between the two countries.
Consequently, the conditions are fraught with “ifs” and “buts” which will not be answered easily. However, the question is obvious. Iran, despite its hope for openings in foreign relations after the nuclear deal, is again becoming isolated, and this time not just the U.S., but also its regional rivals are ready to push Iran in that direction.
Source: Zeitoun Website