May 23, 2013
Tehran Teflon to Timerman
If yesterday’s editorial suggested that now might not be a good time for talks with Iran (when is there?) with Argentina’s international credit more questioned than ever, the final outcome of those talks in Geneva only confirms that analysis. How could anything positive have been expected from the outset? Only two lines of investigation into the 1994 85-death AMIA Jewish community centre blast could possibly have attracted Iranian interest with both creating more problems than they solve. One would have been to apply here the demented theory advanced some 15 years ago by a then Supreme Court justice of all people (Adolfo Vázquez) in the case of the 1992 car-bomb destruction of the Israeli Embassy along the lines that this explosion was really a self-induced “implosion” — variants of this theory range from a quite deliberate Israeli bid to frame Iran to the involuntary spontaneous combustion of an alleged massive Zionist arsenal supposedly hidden in the embassy. But given that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner stipulated, when confirming these talks in the United Nations, that all contacts with Iran would be consulted with both Congress and the Jewish community, any dialogue along these lines would have been ripped to shreds in the debate in both these forums. Since some (not all) theories of the so-called “Syrian Connection” to explain the terrorist blasts might suit Iranian interests in the Middle East, it might also have been possible to seek the variant most convenient for Tehran but since Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman offers no indication that he understands what is happening in Syria, this would also have been a dead end. As it is, Tehran’s blanket rejection of any accusation against any Iranian should end a dialogue which never should have started.
Some people believe that you have only to whisper the one word “oil” to explain away magically the most irrational developments in international relations but this simplistic approach does not really work here. It is not as if Iran had all the world’s oil — thus the recent trade mission destinations of Angola and Azerbaijan (or the next one of Nigeria for that matter) and CFK’s recently re-elected pal Hugo Chávez in Venezuela offer oil in abundance while almost every major producer in the world is geographically closer than Iran and all without exception are less politically sensitive.
The onus is thus on the government not only to call off these no-win talks at once before they do any further harm to Argentina’s international image but also to explain why they were ever launched in the first place.