Foreign Policy Blogs

Iran: A Bargaining Chip in the Mideast Peace Process

Clinton tried it, but failed miserably.  Similarly Bush gave it a shot and was unable to get any results.  Now it is Obama’s turn.  But this time the U.S. administration is taking a different approach on the Israel- Palestine conflict.  The Guardian reported that the Obama administration’s strategy is to use Iran as a bargaining chip to pressure Israel to stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  The Obama government believes that sanctions planned against Iran’s energy sector if Tehran does not compromise on uranium enrichment by the end of next month will help pre-empt Israeli military action and act as a leverage against the Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.  According to an official close to the negotiation, “The message is: Iran is an existential threat to Israel; settlements are not.”  Moreover, European diplomats believe Israeli President Netanyahu will be better able to keep his coalition together through a freeze on settlements if he can demonstrate western resolve on Iran.  Though the move could end up back firing as the article notes, “Coupling the two huge complex issues could end up complicating them further. Moves against Iran’s oil and gas industry could also end up destroying hard-won multilateral co-ordination, by alienating Russia and China, while failing to inflict much damage on the Iranian regime. Memories of Iraqi sanctions-busting are still fresh.”



Sahar Zubairy

Sahar Zubairy recently graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas- Austin with Masters in Global Policy Studies. She graduated from Texas A&M University with Phi Beta Kappa honors in May 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. In Summer 2008, she was the Southwest Asia/Gulf Intern at the Henry L. Stimson Center, where she researched Iran and the Persian Gulf. She was also a member of a research team that helped develop a website investigating the possible effects of closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf by Iran.