Sanctions and the threat of military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities aren't swaying the leaders of the Islamic regime in anticipation of negotiations this weekend. In fact, Iranian pundits proclaim, Iran does not have to make concessions to the United States because it is a powerhouse.
In an analysis that appeared Saturday, Mohammad Mohammadi, an Iranian international affairs and nuclear program expert, wrote, "Iran is in a position now that it does not necessarily need to compromise with the U.S."
"It is quite clear that when we watch the current arguments between America and Israel over Iran, the Obama administration is quite confused," Mr. Mohammadi said in the Keyhan newspaper, an outlet under the direct supervision of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In his article, titled "The Lessons from the Past for the Negotiations in April," Mr. Mohammadi wrote: "Looking back at the past decade, all the red lines by America and the West over Iran's nuclear issue have now been transformed into acceptance. America has always adopted radical actions at first that have changed to symbolic measures later. Iran has always known that America and the West needed a way to solve the nuclear issue with some honor, and today it is quite visible that with the defeat of America's policies toward Iran, the talk about a need to solve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically is a way to obtain that honor."
The United States initially demanded that Iran suspend all its nuclear activities, Mr. Mohammadi said. "Today, though, the Americans have given up on that, and what Obama is asking is the halt of the enrichment to the 20 percent level with a full acceptance of Iran's enrichment rights to the 5 percent level." Enriching uranium to the 20 percent level is a critical step to achieving nuclear weaponization.
"The Americans have also changed their language," Mr. Mohammadi said, "where at first they claimed that they had evidence that Iran was working to make the nuclear bomb. Now, though, they state openly that Iran has not yet decided to make a bomb. This change in their demands and in their language can only mean one thing - that they are incapable of stopping Iran's nuclear program."
Mr. Mohammadi said that with the recent U.S. sanctions on Iran's Central Bank and Iranian oil, America has burned its last options with its economic threats against Iran, which will only hurt the global economy and create a paradox in which the Americans have to choose between an economic recovery or oil punishment of Iran.
"The increase of oil prices in the last three months is in itself a verification that they will have a hard time," Mr. Mohammadi said.
"The talk of a military attack by Israel and some American officials in itself caused many Western leaders, diplomats, military officials and others to openly state that such an option cannot be implemented against Iran and that it will be devastating for the region and world," Mr. Mohammadi said.
So in a very short period of time, the two most important choices for the West, one a military option and the other crippling sanctions, have now left the West empty-handed for the upcoming negotiations, Mr. Mohammadi said. The next round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - will be held on April 14 in Turkey.
"The ineffectiveness of the American policies toward Iran has now reached an acute point where the intelligence to avoid a checkmate over Iran's nuclear program is not visible in the White House," Mr. Mohammadi concluded. "Maybe the clearest sign is what at one time George Friedman, the head of the intelligence outlet Stratfor, said: 'Iran wants to become a regional power without any compromise with America.' However, we can rewrite Friedman's words that 'Today, Iran is proving the point that in order to be a powerhouse, it does not need to compromise with America.' "
Meanwhile, Iran continued its saber-rattling Saturday through other mouthpieces.
"If Israel dares to make any mistake, the Islamic republic will plough under the existence of the plunderer and murderous Zionists," threatened Gen. Hassan Firoozabadi, the Iranian armed forces joint chief of staff.
In raising the stakes, Iranian lawmaker Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam said that although Iran does not want a nuclear bomb, it has the capability to build one. This was further verified by an article titled "The Last Bullet in the Political Direction of the United Nations" on Mashregh News, a media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards, stating that the Iranian nuclear program "has now reached a point that it can make a nuclear bomb, should it want to, and the fact that Iran could share its nuclear technology with other countries, it's in fact the last bullet" the Islamic regime can use against its enemies.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the author of "A Time to Betray" (Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster, 2010). He is a fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).