IRAN/ Victory for Khamenei and the world trembles: what will Israel and the US do?
With the victory of the conservatives following the "supreme leader" Ali Khamenei, Iran is becoming the new "loose cannon" not only in the Middle East powder keg, but around the world. Of the 290 seats in Tehran’s Parliament, according to preliminary data, the Khamenei’s group of "Principlists" received 75 percent of the vote and this would put wrenches in the wheels of Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad is certainly not a "dove", but, in that complicated world of Islamic fundamentalism and "war at all costs" against Israel, he is a realist who knows his way around international politics much better than Khamenei. Any hopes of reforms in Iran seem to have vanished. Eight of the most important reformist ayatollahs did not even go to the polls. The Iranian problem is now becoming extremely hot and the U.S. president, Barack Obama, is concerned. Guido Olimpio, foreign policy columnist for the Corriere della Sera, an expert on the problems of the Middle East, is in Washington and is carefully watching the U.S.’ steps in this situation, the developments in the Middle East and especially the statements of the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who will meet with Obama today.
What is your opinion on what is happening in Iran?
The victory of the conservatives is confirmed and the situation, to be monitored daily, is growing more complicated. It is pretty obvious, I think for everyone, that the Parliament in Tehran has very little authority, but certainly this victory of Khamenei reduces the pragmatic maneuvering of Ahmadinejad.
First of all, there is President Obama’s concern. He will try to convince Nethanyhau not to launch an attack, or raid against Iranian nuclear sites. How much room for mediation is there at the moment?
There is no doubt that the margins are very narrow, but Obama is a politician who knows how to make decisions. If a spiral is set off by Israel attacking and leading to the "winds of war" spreading throughout the Middle East, it would be a tragedy, mainly because of the war, which would involve who knows how many countries in the area, but also because of the economic consequences that a climate of "imminent attack" would have. How much would the price of a barrel of oil increase? It is impossible to say, but it would not be wrong to think that it could come close to $200. This would be a deadly shot to the global economy, and the American one, which is just now starting to show some signs of recovery. Thus, Obama will try to rein in the Israelis in any way possible.
How will Netanyahu respond to Obama’s requests?