Iran will go towards even more radicalization - Bruno Tertrais

Bruno Tertrais, senior fellow at the French Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), took part on June 12th in a Policy Forum organized by "Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies" (FEMO) on " Nuclear Negotiation with Iran, Policy on Iran and Countering Islamic Extremism". (Video)

Among other participants to the conference held in Paris were Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., former US Special Envoy and Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the IAEA, Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of NCRI US Representative Office, author of the book, The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis, Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and Chair of the US Democratic Party, Linda Chavez, former Assistant to the U.S. President for Public Liaison, Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, Yves Thréard, Leader writer and columnist for the French daily Le Figaro, Frédéric Encel, Professor of international relations at the ESG Management School, Seminar Director at the French Institute of Geopolitics, Struan Stevenson, former president, European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq.


Bruno Tertrais, former Special Advisor to the Director of Strategic Affairs of the French Ministry of Defense said in his remarks:

" Assuming there is a final deal, assuming there is a final deal, 35 years of past Iranian behavior show us that it is highly likely that Iran will try to test the international community, will try to cheat, whatever experience it will want to probe us and to see what the American reactions are, that will happen. Even assuming that this regime believes that it has an interest in at least appearing to abide by the agreement for the next ten years, so what happens next? The problem is that the credibility as a deterrent of the use of force right now is dead, does not exist anymore, at least the American one. I don't know whether the next American president will restore the credibility of the military operation as a deterrent. I hope he or she will.

Because, even though I am not in favor of using force right now against Iran, I do think that having as a deterrent a credible-and credible means that the other side believes you. A credible threat of military action is a very important component of the management of this crisis and one which is unfortunately sorely lacking right now. So what happens then? If Iran tests the international community, and if Iran is undeterred, what happens? It could get pretty bad. I mean it's bad today, it could get much worse. It could go North Korea, it could go Iraq. And I don't need to tell you that these are not good scenarios.

My other point is to say that even if you assume that there is a final deal over the summer, and if you assume that the deal is faithfully implemented by Iran, it will leave Iran and maybe others around the world, not only in the region, as with a significant "breakout" capability. I don't know what my friend Ollie's definition is of a threshold state, but any reasonable definition Iran will be a threshold state after the deal. So, the P5+1, after ten, twelve, thirteen years, will have made Iran a legitimate nuclear power able to build the bomb within an even shorter period of time than is the case right now.

What a success! Now some of my friends in the EU3+3 community tell me, look, ten years, 12 years, it's not so bad. Time is a precious commodity in international diplomacy. Now all of us with experience in government know that it is a precious commodity, but frankly by the standards of nuclear programs, ten years is nothing. By the standards of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ten years is not much. So we say what a success, you've been negotiating for more than ten years now, and now all you are able to give us is that additional period of ten years.

Finally, there's a credibility problem for the nonproliferation regime, because the elephant in the room is the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD). And that's not being negotiated. That's a separate negotiation track. The problem is that our EU3+3 colleagues appear ready to put that under the carpet, so to say. And that's a problem. And again Ollie Heinonen is better placed than anybody else here to tell us why it is a problem of the overall credibility of the nonproliferation regime and for the IAEA.

Finally, and very quickly, even assuming that there is a deal, that Iran faithfully implements it, there is little evidence that what I think the Barack Obama calculus is, that it is going to be a game changer in the region, there is little evidence of that. On the contrary, but I think many in this room are better placed than I am to discuss that, I think there are good grounds to believe that this could lead actually to more conservatism and even more radicalization of the regime. Because the last thing this regime wants to do is to appear as having given up on the core, the roots of its political DNA. So, the last thing that Khamenei wants to do, I suppose, is to give the impression that the pragmatists have won over the hardliners. So even that hypothetical benefit I think will not happen. And I'm very surprised, very sorry and very troubled by some of the conversations that I've had with some advisors, some smart people. You know, that's the problem, there are smart people around Barack Obama. When smart people like that have made political calculations that are just pipe dreams then I think the world is really in trouble."