Alwaght – The latest NATO leaders’ meeting was significant from a set of aspects, including mentioning Iran in the 29th summit’s closing statement in which the Western military organization expressed concerns about Tehran’s ballistic missiles and also what it called Iran’s “destabilizing” activities in the West Asia (Middle East).
Over the past four decades, the Western hostility against Iran has never eased under any conditions. Maintaining Iran and checking the spread of its pro-independence resistance discourse in the region have been key parts to any Western strategy designed to the region. There have been some tactical changes but the hostile policy kept moving in its straight track.
Since 2017, the year Donald Trump assumed power in the US as leader of the Western camp, the confrontation of Iran took center stage in the Western policy. The Iran-led Axis of Resistance’s triumphs and West’s losses in such cases as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Afghanistan have prompted this belligerence towards the Islamic Republic. The unprecedented anti-Iranian NATO statement was a showcase of the Western deep anger with the Iranian policy accomplishments.
Europe shows flexibility to mollify Trump
The NATO members agreed on the anti-Iranian statement while deep division was apparently rocking the relations between the EU and the US. Beside backing splits in the European bloc, over the past two months, Trump waged a trade war against the EU. And at the summit, he picked a new fight by striking a tough tone asking the Europeans, on top of them Germany, to raise their military budget share to 2 percent of their gross domestic product. He threatened that if his demands were unaddressed, he would have considered leaving the organization, something EU leaders found distressing.
Seeing the gaps with the key ally widening day by day, the European leaders acceded to Trump’s widely-deemed imperious demands, announcing they will raise their defense spending. Another concession of them to Trump was to take anti-Tehran stances in the final statement. The European compromises are better understood with a consideration of the July 16 Trump meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. EU is worried that resisting Trump demands will push him to agreements with Moscow which could strengthen the Russian position at the expense of the EU. Therefore, the Europeans found no escape from teasing the US leader with an anti-Iranian posture.
On May 9, Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, reached in 2015 between Iran and six powers— the US, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany. He said that he will re-impose the sanctions on Iran which were lifted under the accord. Since May, his foreign policy apparatus was busy forging a global front against the Islamic Republic. The latest attempt was made by his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who visited the region ahead of NATO summit. Pompeo flew to Brussels after meeting with several regional leaders to garner support for his anti-Iranian push.
Who did better for regional stability?
The NATO statement, regarded by Tehran as highly blame-shifting, comes while a comparison between the military organization’s track record, especially after Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and Iran’s policies over the past decades shows which one’s actions have contributed to the rise of terrorism or prompted instability, chaos, and crisis.
NATO waged wars against Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s. But the military campaigns not only failed to help to the two nations’ economic and political growth but also a milieu of devastation, insecurity and displacement led to the ascendance of Wahhabi ideology-fed terrorist groups, receiving financial, military, and ideological support from the despotic allies of the West in the region, in particular Saudi Arabia. Invasion of Libya and intervention in Syria and Yemen, and supporting the Israeli regime’s crimes as part of its expansionist strategy in the region reveals the falsehood of the NATO claims of support for human rights. It, in fact, puts to show the modern-time colonialist nature of the West. The plan to partition as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and even such a larger country as Turkey, run into a firm obstacle of Iran and its Resistance allies.
Iran’s policy lines over the past decades have been openly expressed: Ending the Western military presence in the region, supporting the regional nations’ sovereignty and independence, and last but not least constraining Israeli regime’s expansionism which primarily targets Palestine lands, regional stability, and Muslim world’s interests. This policy, not economic interests, was the drive behind the Islamic Republic’s help to the Syrian and Iraqi governments which called for assistance in their fight against a range of foreign-backed terrorist groups. Another feature of Tehran policy is its opposition to the unceasing Saudi-led Arab military aggression against Yemen which killed thousands and displaced millions and, as the UN aid agencies put it, caused the century’s humanitarian crisis.
Iran is militarily powerful and its missile power is uncontested in the region. But it never posed any threat to neighboring states. Its military power plays the role of a balancing factor in a chaotic region.
Iran has a reason to call the statement blame-shifting. The statement widely ignores the destabilizing activities and warmongering actions of the West’s regional allies like Tel Aviv, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi whose violations in Palestine and Yemen are hardly coverable. NATO not only declines to blast their actions but also provides military, diplomatic, and logistical backing for these regimes.