This Axis of Evil Prisoner of America

“The dogmas of the quiet past.” Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama underlined the merits of change in his last State of the Union address. With the European Union, America and the United Nations about to lift sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program, Republican candidates for the White House cannot imagine the implementation of the agreement of Vienna as a climax of multilateral diplomacy. But, they see it instead as a surrender to a nation that should never have been removed from the “Axis of Evil” that George W. Bush placed it in in 2002.

Their preference to ally, without hesitation, with Saudi Arabia, a Sunni power that degrades balance in the region because it, in terms of respect for the fundamental liberties, is disastrous. They take pleasure in interpreting any statement of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, any demonstration of brainwashed citizens shouting “Death to America” as proof that Iran is the embodiment of evil. Yet they refuse to critique Riyadh in the same way. By choosing a side, Sunni, they sabotage the more or less neutral position that the Obama administration has tried to adopt in the denominational war that rages in the Middle East.

Yet Iran, which also has a horrible record of balance in terms of executions, can become an ally of circumstance. The modern, young, and educated Iranian society aspires to freedom which is hardly different from young Westerners. Slamming the door in their faces, like the Republicans are doing, is an insult to the values which they claim to have.

Between Washington and Tehran, there is not a complete thawing of tensions, but an evolution. It is uncertain if the agreement on Iranian nuclear power will be an overall success. But the way John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif settled, within 24 hours, a mini-crisis caused by the interception of ten American sailors in the Persian Gulf, says a lot about the accomplished progress. There is, however, a danger that threatens them: a Republican winning the election that would swear only by the Saudi ally and Revolutionary Guards and would also be determined to marginalize the moderate President Hassan Rouhani. The Saudis have a lot to lose as well. Their political, military and economic influence has never prospered as much as it has under the duration of sanctions against Iran.

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