Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Saudi-Israeli anti-Iran nexus

Published Apr 04, 2015 03:11am


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

A WAR-TORN world heaved a sigh of relief on Thursday night after success was declared at the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. Months of tortuous negotiations have ended for now, while a fuller agreement is to be finalised by the end of June. This is huge cause for celebration — peace has been given a chance.

But there is gloom in the capitals of Washington’s two closest allies — Israel and Saudi Arabia. They would much rather have seen Iran bombed, and now this is only a remote possibility. Worried at the possibility of an Iran-US rapprochement, and claiming that Iran will cheat along its nuclear path, both had strongly denounced the talks. But the United States, still licking its wounds after its Iraq debacle, is in no mood to start another war.

US-Israeli relations are unusually frosty these days. Last month’s address to the US Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a calculated insult to President Barack Obama. Manipulating the deep divide within American domestic politics, and backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee together with other powerful Jewish groups, he brazenly called for obstructing US policy. To Obama’s chagrin, Netanyahu’s anti-Iran rant received thunderous applause with several Democrats joining in. Then, last Sunday, denouncing the talks yet again, Netanyahu told his cabinet, “The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and must be stopped.”

The triumph of Iranian pragmatism has left Israel and Saudi Arabia deeply dismayed.

Anti-Obama forces in the US teamed up with their Israeli counterparts to obstruct a deal. On March 24, the head of the Senate Armed Forces Committee and a former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, suggested that Israel “go rogue” — meaning it should bomb Iran without US support. Else, he said, Israel’s security would remain threatened for the remaining 22 months of the Obama presidency. Earlier, 47 Republican senators sent a letter to the Iranian leadership that the nuclear agreement will not outlast President Obama.

Saudi Arabia, for its own reasons, is even more gung-ho. While expressing token opposition to Israel’s stash of nuclear weapons, it has long concentrated its fire on Iran’s nuclear programme. Thanks to WikiLeaks, it is now well known that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had repeatedly urged the US to destroy Iran’s nuclear programme and launch military strikes to “cut off the head of the snake”. In 2011, the influential former head of Saudi intelligence and ambassador in London and Washington, Prince Turki bin Faisal, described Iran as a “paper tiger with steel claws”, which used these claws for meddling and destabilising efforts in countries with Shia minorities. Saudi Arabia has reportedly given tacit assent to overflights by Israeli bombers en route to the Persian Gulf.

And what of Pakistan? A former supplier of centrifuges to Iran via the covert A.Q. Khan network, and formerly its friendly neighbour, it has maintained a studious silence. For long a Saudi client state, Pakistan is now rushing to defend Saudi interests in Yemen, implausibly claiming that Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity is threatened by Yemen’s impoverished Houthis. Which side Pakistan would have taken if the nuclear talks had failed, and if Iran had been attacked, is not in doubt.

While the Israeli-Saudi cause has received a terrific setback, a determined campaign to derail the agreement may well have just begun. At the core, Iran and the United States have widely divergent interests. Therefore many fears and fault lines are just waiting to be exploited.

Here’s the problem: Iran currently does not have an active programme to convert its fissile material into bombs. But it does want a capacity to make nuclear weapons as insurance against an American (or Israeli) effort at regime change. It cannot forget that a 1953 CIA coup had removed Mohammed Mossadegh and installed Reza Shah Pahlavi as head of state. Also, as an ideological state, Iran seeks to extend its influence beyond its borders. So if it could become a nuclear state, its punch and prestige would increase dramatically.

The world, in fact, has long suspected that, contrary to official denials, the Iranian programme had a bomb component. In 1998, Iran was delighted by Pakistan’s successful nuclear tests. Just five days later, foreign minister Kamal Kharazi arrived in Islamabad to congratulate Pakistan. Iran had hoped at that time to benefit from Pakistan’s expertise and eventually purchased the Chinese nuclear weapon design from the A.Q. Khan network. From the economic point of view, moreover, Iran’s massive investment in nuclear infrastructure makes no economic sense.

The United States interests are diametrically opposite. It is Iranophobic and will strain every muscle to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon. It realises, however, that eliminating the Iranian nuclear programme is impossible. Therefore, its immediate objective is reducing Iran’s ‘break-out’ capacity to at least one year. So, if someday Iran tries to race for a bomb, the US wants enough time to detect and destroy it.

At Lausanne the US got some of what it wanted. Iran agreed to increased access by the IAEA to its nuclear facilities; no enrichment beyond that needed for nuclear power production; sharply reduced stockpiling of fissile material stockpiles; far fewer centrifuges; reconstruction of the Arak reactor (so that it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium); and close monitoring of weapons-related issues. If implemented, these will drastically curtail Iran’s ability for a break-out. In exchange Iran got some of what it wants: sanctions relief from the US and EU, a transparent procurement channel for its civilian nuclear development, and international cooperation to help Iran in R&D.

The triumph of Iranian pragmatism has left Israel and Saudi Arabia deeply dismayed. Their diplomats and lobbyists will now be assigned the task of destroying the Lausanne agreement. They must so wish the easily discreditable firebrand, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, rather than the moderate Hassan Rouhani, was their adversary. But now Iran may well be on its way towards ending its international isolation. Could this also lead to a more normal, and less interventionist, Iran? My Iranian physicist friends across the border tell me that they are delighted at the agreement for this reason more than any other.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (90) Closed

zameer Apr 04, 2015 03:44am

Excellent! Very well explained. Hoodbhoy is the clearest thinker in Pakistan. This man needs to be in a decision making role so our country can benefit.

Harmony Apr 04, 2015 04:04am

Very good article as usual. You are right in stating that the US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia would much rather have seen Iran bombed. However, US has learned its lesson after their bitter experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. They have not only left these countries in worst state than they were but they have also unleashed Islamist militant Jeanie.

Humanoids Apr 04, 2015 05:42am

Great piece! So epic was Iranian-US diplomacy that Israelis could only utter that Iran should accept Israel! ...I am for 2 state solution but Israelis get away with murder a known fact post Bibi addressing addressing US senate without THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD's APPROVAL!

ANALYST Apr 04, 2015 06:19am

Out of these crisis, Pakistan trying for greater role and mediation while taking KSA side to end the Yemen crisis, that too nobody asked Pak to do so.

abdulrehman Apr 04, 2015 06:40am

The oil rich Arab royalty hate Iran because they practice a different version of Islam and I suspect more so because they are Ajmis (which the rest of the Muslim world is). Unless there is true democracy in those Arab kingdoms, this state of affair is likely to continue.

Iran needs to mend its ways too. The fanatical element in the government perhaps have similar views as its Arab counterparts and need to be reined in.

Can OIC take up this challenge. Can Pakistan play a role in all this. Not likely.

TARIQ Apr 04, 2015 07:05am

Would it not be an even exchange for Israel and US to give up their Nuclear Weapons for Iran's?

KARACHI WALA Apr 04, 2015 07:11am

A good effort but if Saudi-Israeli anti-Iran nexus and Iran's inspirations are anything to go by with, it will only delay the inevitable.

Naseer Apr 04, 2015 07:39am

Saudi Arabia has the fourth highest defense budget, which is many times that of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia was the highest importer of defense equipment in 2014. UAE was the second highest importer of defense equipment. Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain also are very rich sunni states. None of these have any sanctions also, rather they enjoy very good relations with the US and all western countries. Then how come they can not take care of Iran which has been under so much sanctions for such a long time. Saudi Arabia has no sympathy with Palestinians. Saudi Arabia has no problem with Israeli nuclear weapons. But Saudi Arabia does not want another Muslim country to have peaceful nuclear energy. This speaks volumes about Saudi affiliations.

Avtar Apr 04, 2015 08:06am

An insightful, unconventional perspective on what the Western media and Pakistani politicians want us to believe.

bheel Apr 04, 2015 08:23am

great article and great iranian diplomacy

PakCanuck Apr 04, 2015 08:51am

Interesting alignment between Saudi Arabia and Israel

Paul Apr 04, 2015 08:51am

Kudos to Obama for breaking through the rhetoric to patch up relations not only with Cuba, but also with Iran. For far too long, US has been held ransom by Arab royals and their internal squabbles and also by Israel's posturing.

ali Apr 04, 2015 09:02am

Salams, Indeed very interesting article, in this case it really shows who the real terrorist states in middle east are - Saudi & Israel.

US, European countries, Russia and China have negotiated this framework with Iran and as well blessed it and other nonaligned nations have also applaused it and indeed it has averted another disasterous war like you mention. Now why would any one want another war!!. Only Saudi and Israel are advocating this war!! Bat part is American policy is to support these two terrorist nation and provides them with the arms!! America being a capitalist economy is watching out for its own and so does U.K. Saudi has started a war on a poor defense less nation of Yemen and it was timed right before the final days of nuclear negotiations possibly hoping it might make things complicated. Now with the negotiation being concluded successfully let's hope Israel does not start a war to create mischief for the final nuclear deal of June 30.

Sohraab Apr 04, 2015 09:25am

Excellent analysis. With this breakthrough, Iran will also try to improve its image Globally with regards to favoring militias in the Middle East. This would help not only the entire Middle East region but immensely useful for Pakistan with regards to its energy needs. A win-win situation for all I guess!

Thoughtful Pakistani Apr 04, 2015 09:28am

We humans need basic amenities and security from our countries, food, water, fresh air, security and education for families. We don't need wars, no discrimination towards each other thru religion, race, gender etc. We want to live peacefully and enjoy our short stay on this beautiful earth. Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers and World Leaders, please use your common sense and do what is needed to protect humanity and our beautiful earth. We don't need anything else.

Mian Shahid Mehmood Apr 04, 2015 09:29am

Unfortunate, SA in league with Israel to destroy a brother Muslim country only for the sake of false ego. The historical Arab-Persian tug-e-war is also under bed reason for such an unholy nexus. Saudi leadership due to guardians of the Islam's holliest shrines - Kaaba and Madina - could have assumed the father rule of a big brother and was supposed to swallow the nuclear advancement of Iran, after it was an addition of Muslim Country in the elite groups of nuclear states. There is no bigger enemy of Muslims in the World except they themselves. Irony of fate & result of our intersect & interracial jealousy, even after more than 400 years of Muslim decline as superpower, Muslim Ummah could not forge unity of oneness on the basis of Muslim brotherhood & our enemies are killing use one by one, and other Muslim countries stay idle waiting for their own annihilation. Muslims single largest block are unable to invent NATO & World Bank type Muslim organizations to cater for poor Mus-counties.

raghu Apr 04, 2015 09:48am

Dont think such a day ever comes, but I dream of taking China by its horns and break them. Shame on China for resorting to supplying nuclear bomb design so as to keep India permanently tagged with Pak creating instability withtin that region for its strategic reasons to prevent India being confident of itself while China can be free of it shackles.Never seen any nation AS SELFISH TO THE CORE as China.Yet Indias so poor in their judgement ,dare not question China!!!. Cant understand Pak ever..permanent freind to Saudi or foe?

Khurram Apr 04, 2015 09:50am

Excellent analysis, Obama administration is currently under a lot of criticism by both Israeli and Saudi " US allies" for making this agreement happen.

Mathew Apr 04, 2015 10:02am

Israel needs Iran and Iran needs Israel. USA needs Iran and Iran needs USA. It's P5+1 +Iran versus Saudi-Arabia.Do you think this Nuclear Deal with Iran was reached without Israel's consent?

Bye Bye Apr 04, 2015 10:07am

No US has not learned any lesson. A crazy senator McCain is wanting a war 24/7/365

ss Apr 04, 2015 10:12am

The irony is quite delicious. Israel a state Pakistan does not recognise is about to be on the same side as Saudia Arabia when, not if Pakistan helps militarily in Yemen.

Axel Apr 04, 2015 10:16am

Can we call these two bitter countries the Axis of Feeble?

Vibhu Apr 04, 2015 10:26am

I disagree on US being underdog, due Iraq debacle. US is more smarter in the deal. In fact, Iran was never at the threshold of Nuke's build up, when sanctions got imposed to prevent it. Rather Iran over time culturally moderated past Khomani" Era dictum. It had defectors or liberal elements, who wanted on the vacation of "status quo" of Iran's isolation. US rightly views opening up of Iran and make it a real tiger, but not paper tiger, of the Islamic world, to beat on Sunnis as one of its objectives. Saudis days are numbered and they will be downsized by US with upraise of Iran. Israel including Republican's clamoring is premature and baseless, when there are no "weapons of mass destruction" with Iran, until now. Isn't understandable, if Israel is objecting to Iran's integration with world, a threat or goodness, without Nukes any issue? Israel is playing second fiddle to US diplomacy of making inroads into Iran's cultural moderation. Its the same, what was said for China earlier.

irad Apr 04, 2015 10:39am

Brilliant analysis - U.S foreign policy has always been undone by its perceived off - shore interests, in this case Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Republicans will do everything to make this deal look a very bad one for regional peace. But Iran's huge gas & oil reserves should be an Olive branch for India, Pakistan, Japan and China. Let us see who wins the diplomatic battle.

Keti Zilgish Apr 04, 2015 10:42am

The US knows which side its bread is buttered on.

AW Apr 04, 2015 10:47am

Iran is an old and great civilization. This agreement would not have been possible without the foresight of the Iranian leadership. Iranian leadership has demonstrated that pragmatism is to their national advantage while emotions for now take the back seat.

thanvi Apr 04, 2015 10:50am

Naturally it seems impossible that Iran will become less interventionist! It shall start brawling on other ME states like India did on Pakistan! Pak made a grave mistake when they gave Iran, the snake in sleeve, centrifuges! who is Iran to meddle in the KSA-Houti conflict!

Irongloves Apr 04, 2015 11:01am

It is best to remember: be careful what you wish for.

Mustafa Apr 04, 2015 11:03am

Iran never wanted a bomb although it did want the capability to make one to use it as a stick to defeat the economic strangling of Iran. As president Rouhani said today, if the West keeps it's side of the bargain, so would Iran. That was always Iran's plans. Under this agreement Iran is not only allowed to build any number of reactors to generate electric power, all countries are obligated to sell reactors as a part of normal commercial activity.

Jaffar Rizvi Apr 04, 2015 11:06am

well said. Iran Nuclear Power is only for the Economic Purpose, not for destruction. As the supreme leader has repeatedly been saying that Iran Nuclear power is only for peaceful, economic purpose.

Saad Apr 04, 2015 11:45am

"From the economic point of view, moreover, Iran’s massive investment in nuclear infrastructure makes no economic sense. "

Yes in the short term this is true. But without a nation there can be no economy to protect. You talk about Iran's interventionism. What about America's interventionism? So many muslim countries attacked. Iran needs nuclear weapons to deter an American invasion. That is why the short term economic pain is worth it.

This agreement is designed to merely buy time for both sides. The Americans want to slow Iran down but they know they can't stop them. Iran gets sanctions relief but it will continue to work on its nuclear program in secret. They cannot stop because their country's survival depends on it.

kanakasabhai Apr 04, 2015 11:48am

Excellent analysis by the renowned author who has so many fans outside Pakistan also.If American Congress allows a deal to be struck and Iran is permitted to trade freely by allowing international banking access, Iran should rebuild very fast. Many countries like India continue to deal with Iran as it is very reliable and trust worthy. It has supplied oil to India and even helped build refineries, iron ore mines etc. but was deeply constrained by sanctions. Israel has nothing to worry as Iran would try to rebuild its country in the immediate term. In the long run, it will be an adversary to both Saudi Arabia and Israel more for ideological reasons for which they should change first. Iran was the closest ally of the USA and every one knows how it was exploited by the US using a dictator. The US probably has realised that Iranians are not complicated people.

khurram Apr 04, 2015 12:16pm

Also, as an ideological state, Iran seeks to extend its influence beyond its borders. As stated by you if it is an ideological state that wants to extend its influence then other countries have the right to oppose its influence.

Rustam Ali Khan Apr 04, 2015 12:25pm

Another master piece by Dr Hoodbhoy. The ground reality is well explained through impartial analysis.

Tariq K Sami Apr 04, 2015 12:50pm

This must be a great day for the Russians too. If Iran can do it so can they. Crimea and all. The biggest looser will be those who wanted War.

Ram Apr 04, 2015 01:07pm

Saudi arabia is enemy of iran along with some other sunni countries.why is iran then focussed on palestine

guest Apr 04, 2015 01:24pm

The Iran had success for the time being but who is going to grantee Iran future security? rather Is Iran compromised with its security? Because past betrayal experiences of world power have to be point of concern.

The Israel are demanding for their recognition from American before agreement with Iran, if not then what will be the future of Iran and its security? With this chronic issue, one thing cleared for everyone of us that the Saudis are not in the favor of Muslim world, because as mentioned in this article that they asked US to bomb Iran, how come they can lead the Muslim world?

sanjay Apr 04, 2015 01:26pm

A well written piece.Much needs to be seen where Pakistan fits in to this new changing equation.I don't see it having much of its own choice as its obligations (dependence) towards Saudi is just too much. Most likely slowly but surely Pakistan will fall into the Saudi orbit.

Jaya kumar Apr 04, 2015 02:04pm

Mr Hoodbhoy is a true patriot of Pakistan because he tells the truth & have never found him partial or biased. Many people dont know that he is a nuclear scientist as well. Long live decent & rational people like him.

GT Apr 04, 2015 02:16pm

"From the economic point of view, moreover, Iran’s massive investment in nuclear infrastructure makes no economic sense." - Well, did it make any economic sense for pakistan? pakistan being even poorer than Iran and living off on IMF doleouts is investing so much on nuclear weapons. Maybe you should look within before lecturing others.

Realist Apr 04, 2015 02:34pm

Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy! Please send this to article to the Prime Minister, and his advisors. Before they make any decision re Yemen conflict, they must consider long term implications of supporting KSA at this stage.

Sohail Apr 04, 2015 02:52pm

Its also quite disturbing to know from RT that first air-strikes on Yemen were carried out by Israeli jets flying over KSA. Was KSA/Qatar/Israel+Turkey's game of getting 250K people not enough that now Yemen..

Harmony Apr 04, 2015 03:11pm

@Jaya kumar - We all know he is a nuclear scientist but he is humble to call himself just physics 'teacher'. Anyway, physics covers a lot more than nuclear science.

shahzad Apr 04, 2015 03:16pm

Dr. Sahib is correct on all counts. He is a jem in Pakistan. I wish i had a teacher like him when i was a student.

mkb Apr 04, 2015 03:32pm

@zameer Yes, who has the guts to say that "purchased the Chinese nuclear weapon design from the A.Q. Khan network." Everybody knows that Pakistan Nuclear program is of Chinese, not pakistan's own.

Waqas Apr 04, 2015 03:53pm

We have 2 million workers in Saudi Arabia. The Faisal Mosque was build by Saudis. Think of the hundreds of mosques funded by them. This is why we must support our friend.

ssW Apr 04, 2015 04:01pm

The treaty with Iran should be no surprise at all.Whenever the US declares a man/nation .. as its enemy its media goes on demonising the "Enemy" It happened with Saddam and many leaders.Similarly Iran which was an outcast till now will be again in good books.

Aaqil Apr 04, 2015 04:25pm

@thanvi Dear Thanvi saheb, please hold your breath at least for a while if you can. Please honestly ponder over this fact whether it is Saudis or Iran who is meddling in the affairs of other countries. You must be knowing this that the reason given for this naked act of aggression was "to help / save the 'legitimate' government in Yemen. Legitimate govt ? ok fine and good. But what about the duly elected and thus very much legitimate govt of Muhammad Morsi of Egypt which was overthrown by the Saudi puppet Gen Sisi. And the Saudis were the very first to congratulate their man Sisi. This one example only is more than sufficient to prove that Saudis have double rather triple standards...while Iran has only one standard / principle. It supports the oppressed ones be it in Syria or Iraq etc to save from attacks of Saudi hired mercenaries. And providing assistance to oppressed can not in any way be compared to Saudi acts of aggression whose only purpose is to install own puppets.

Aaqil Apr 04, 2015 04:40pm

@Realist Send this article to PM saheb and his advisers ? As if they don't already know the facts. They very much know all the pros and cons for sure but the thing / problem is that they don't seem prepared to ponder over facts and are hell bent to act / behave / prove as more loyal than the king. Had it not been so the wisdom ...nay common sense demanded that PM saheb should have first visited our neighbourly country Iran instead of Turkey in order to listen to the concerns of Iran which are in plenty. Moreover, our rulers have not even condemned the bombings on a camp of IDPs and then on a dairy / factory where hundreds of innocent people have been killed.

Keti Zilgish Apr 04, 2015 04:58pm

@Thoughtful Pakistani You got most of it because the leaders can deliver if the followers can stop the increasing population which may be possible if the class differences between the two can be eliminated completely.

Burjor Rustomji Apr 04, 2015 05:00pm

Pakistan has to learn a lesson. Learn to stand on its own two feet, learn to negotiate,not beg, think long term, be independent. Iranians are a proud people, the Persian empire was one of the largest. They not only negotiated, but negotiated with a sense of purpose for long term gains and with respect.

Sharif Ullah Apr 04, 2015 05:31pm

well written articles! i like your writing pace particularly about the sensitive issue, like the one you have taken for your current article and had unpacked many things but the complicated nexus needs still more to think and explore. waiting for next article..........

Keti Zilgish Apr 04, 2015 05:31pm

The KSA in its interior & foreign policies most certainly appears to be a bully and as such, a coward, and Iran is the only hope that the Muslim world has of putting some sense into the Saudi head.

Akhlesh Apr 04, 2015 05:52pm

"Could this also lead to a more normal, and less interventionist, Iran?" No. A theocratic state can never be "normal" among liberal democracies.

Ahmed Ali Apr 04, 2015 06:48pm

Excellent analysis! I hope some of this gets reflected in the upcoming debate in the national assembly on April 6. The Lausanne deal between Iran and the P5+1 states offers a real chance to defuse the nuclear conflict. The remaining time until June 30, the date by which a comprehensive agreement has to be signed, is crucial. Let us see how it plays out. The nature of the Fordo underground facility, i.e., how effectively its capacity in enriching Uranium can be constrained, is a thorny issue. For Obama, getting this deal pass the American congress is going to be an ordeal. I am afraid that there will be a Quid pro Quo: America may end up vetoing the anticipated French resolution at the UN on Palestine´s nationhood as the price to pay for the Israeli intransigence. This would be a real irony!

Arslan Apr 04, 2015 07:18pm

This is a brilliant analysis, but misses one very important point. Imran's patronage of successful resistance movements, particularly the Hezbollah has sent shivers down the Israeli and Saudi spines and frustrated the Americans. The nuclear issue while significant, is somewhat of a smokescreen with the so called "adventurism" of Iran in reducing Israeli will and Saudi influence being the chief thorn. Hezbollah was key in frustrating the overthrow of Asad in Syria by the Saudis and Turks as well as making Israel a little more tentative of stepping into Lebanon.

Ghani K Apr 04, 2015 07:31pm

"Enemy of my enemy is a friend " . As far KSA, friendship & cooperation with Israel against Iran takes precedence over the Palestinian Arabs who have been herded like cattle in Gaza and other enclaves.

Attique Apr 04, 2015 07:42pm

America-Iran nexus is visible in iraq and syria

Pervez Apr 04, 2015 08:01pm

I hope the Iranian clergy also recognise that there are other ways of increasing influence without fingering its neighbourhood through proxies. A direct approach to Arab leadership for peace in the region and looking to future rather than the past will ensure that. Similarly the Saudis also need to learn something from the Iranian pragmatism not that they haven't tried.

Shahpur Apr 04, 2015 08:35pm

It exposes the real face of House of Saud, and their supporters.

Sandeep Singh Apr 04, 2015 09:08pm

It is irony that Iran who themselves have occupied Parsis land are against Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Mehtab Apr 04, 2015 10:34pm

Beautiful and rational analysis. Well written

Faiza G. R. Bhatt Apr 04, 2015 10:44pm

good read! thank you, Hoodbhoy for writing something based on sound reasoning rather than rhetoric.

contrary to what writer believes, i think Lausanne agreement abodes well for pakistan as now it can get energy deal from Iran that it couldn't think of before this.

Sweet Chilies. Apr 04, 2015 11:07pm

Iranian clergy should stop interference in other countries.

ABC. Apr 04, 2015 11:11pm

For whom Iran is backing the militants in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen?

Watching You Apr 04, 2015 11:18pm

Why should Iran support militancy in other countries?

Ali Vazir Apr 04, 2015 11:31pm

Excellent article. Hoodbhoy bhai, the saner elements of Pakistan must be united to make a joint force and voice so that the sick, corrupt and incompetent people can't take decisions on their own.

India Spirit Apr 04, 2015 11:45pm

According to Ronen Bergman, Israel sold Iran US$75 million worth of arms from stocks of Israel Military Industries, Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Defense Forces stockpiles, in their Operation Seashell in 1981.[1] Materiel included 150 M-40 antitank guns with 24,000 shells for each gun, spare parts for tank and aircraft engines, 106 mm, 130 mm, 203 mm and 175 mm shells and TOW missiles. This material was transported first by air by Argentine airline Transporte Aéreo Rioplatense and then (after the 1981 Armenia mid-air collision) by ship.

Despite all the speeches of Iranian leaders and the denunciation of Israel at Friday prayers, there were never less than around one hundred Israeli advisers and technicians in Iran at any time throughout the war, living in a carefully guarded and secluded camp just north of Tehran, where they remained even after the ceasefire.

India Spirit Apr 04, 2015 11:46pm

According to Ronen Bergman, Israel sold Iran US$75 million worth of arms from stocks of Israel Military Industries, Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Defense Forces stockpiles, in their Operation Seashell in 1981.[1] Materiel included 150 M-40 antitank guns with 24,000 shells for each gun, spare parts for tank and aircraft engines, 106 mm, 130 mm, 203 mm and 175 mm shells and TOW missiles. This material was transported first by air by Argentine airline Transporte Aéreo Rioplatense and then (after the 1981 Armenia mid-air collision) by ship.

Vijay Apr 05, 2015 12:28am

If Saudi's tell Sharif to joint the Saudi - Israeli nexus against Iran what do you think Sharif will do?

A Pakistani Abroad Apr 05, 2015 12:37am

I appreciate the effort from the author. However, I personally do not see anything new in this article other than what has already widely been reported by the western media. It appears Iran has done well if this agreement gets through but I see worrying days ahead for Saudia Arabia and rightly so.

Irfan Baloch Apr 05, 2015 12:38am

good brief I read the entire article and I agree to full extent how Saudi and Israeli partnership will stage some false flag to sabotage the nuclear deal.

G. Din Apr 05, 2015 12:53am

Dr. Hoodbhoy is perhaps the clearest thinker in Pakistan and one of the very select few it is a treat to read.

Ayaz Mirza Apr 05, 2015 01:40am

Iranian general in Sanaa to organize Yemen rebel counter-offensive for Saudi-led attacks...Tehran took less than 48 hours for a decision to hit back at the surprise air and naval attack launched by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and Egypt Thursday, March 26, to contain the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels’ sweep through Yemeni cities. debkafile’s military sources report that Iran’s top war commander, Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, landed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Friday, March 27 to organize a counter-offensive and open Iran’s third direct Middle East warfront after Syria (in support of Bashar Assad) and Iraq (with the US against ISIS). is it part of this conspiracy ? you are wrong again ,sir. Saudis or Iranians non of these are praise worthy .

Fahim Khan Apr 05, 2015 02:32am

No sane person will put any money on downfalling Saudi monarchs at this moment. Their time has passed already and all their production AlQaeda, Taliban, ISIS, Al Nusra etc. are byting them back. Hope the real name of HIJAZ will soon be restored once family of Saud has gone to the dust bin of history.

mike hasan USA Apr 05, 2015 02:46am

Problem is that both Saudi & Iran as Ideological states, seek to extend their influence beyond their borders. Both are running proxy wars in muslim countries with divided populace. Saudis are smart & accept the right of Israel to survive whereas the Iranian clergy thinks otherwise. President Obama & Dems are more concerned about economic & strategic long term issues faced by US contrary to GOP who have totally different approach towards Iran. Operation Desert Storm was started by President Bush in 1990 to save Saudi.

Abdul Salam legari Apr 05, 2015 03:01am

Dr Hoodbhy Great article, exposing Saudi -Israeli joint venture to destroy muslim Umma. SA never help to create palestinian state, Gaza tragedy where were all OIC. Pakistan kept away from help SA and keep neutral in this war.

ladies and gentlemen Apr 05, 2015 04:41am

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy is a rare breed of Pakistani voices left working in Pakistan. Most of the like minded sane voices have been persecuted and left Pakistan.

Dr. Pervez speaks truthfully and clearly about the problems and causes of the deterioration of muslim society.

Rvel Apr 05, 2015 04:59am

Proud to be his student and having the privilege to study a course (Science and world around us) under his supervision. Learned a lot from logical and rational debates, analysis and comments on a myriad of issues.

S.Malik Apr 05, 2015 05:46am

Good overview, it may be good time for Iran to negotiate with Israel for a separate state for Palestine and in return recognize her. And rest of the Muslim word can do the same for peace in the middle east.

Mohammad Saleem Apr 05, 2015 07:51am

The prospect of the US-Iranian bonhomie is bound to cast a shadow on Pakistan's strategic status in the eyes of the US policy- makers. That doesn't bode well for Pakistan.

Nasik Elahi Apr 05, 2015 10:40am

Iranian pragmatism is a result of stark realities they are faced with. Despite enormous allocations of resources they were unable to attain the needed nuclear weapon capability. This is in marked contrast with Pakistan. The consequences for the national economies of both countries are drastic. Iran is further crippled by the economic embargo which with the low price of oil was wreaking havoc on quality of life issues. Now these same leaders need to direct themselves to address the tragedy of the Shia Sunni divide that is devastating the mideast and shattering the world of Islam.

zafar iqbal Apr 05, 2015 11:48am

Prof. Hoodbhoy, Iranians are just buying time. They have no interest in peace!

s.khan Apr 05, 2015 07:28pm

There is room for cautious optimism. American people,tired of wars, support diplomatic solution and overwhelmingly prefer Iran to Saudi Arabia. However, wealthy American jews have opened their purse to the politicians, republicans particualrly, who will vehemently oppose the deal. GivenAmerican flawed system a single senator can block lifting the sanctions. Would Iran abide by the agreement if the sanctions are not removed? No! It would split P5+1 who will not like to be dictated by American congress. Interesting time lies ahead.

Atique Apr 06, 2015 12:53am

@KARACHI WALA This is the best that can be achieved given the circumstances, the other option is war: much bloodier and unmanageable for the world specially by the west. Of all the American Henry Kissinger knows it best, listen to what he is proposing .

rakesh Apr 06, 2015 07:15am

pakistanis forget that Iran replenished their air force during the last war with India. where is the evidence that Iranians are doing anything more than reacting to protect their interests?

Mohammad Khan Apr 06, 2015 07:28am

Isn't it a surprise!!! at one time Pakistan was selling A.Q Khan's tech expertise today it is trying to show Saudis that Pakistan stand shoulder to shoulder if Saudi territories are threatened. Why would it happen ? Saudis should now concentrate in Al Hasa,Al qatif and Rastanura they must bring some economical political and social reforms otherwise it would be warning to them

Aqil Siddiqi Apr 06, 2015 07:52am

@Jaffar Rizvi And you believed Iran. foolish. You think Iran is your friend , then think twice my friend.

rehan Apr 06, 2015 08:33am

Now let us see how far the "International Community" goes to uphold it's end of the bargain. USA is hardly reliable in terms of that. It praised Libya to the heavens when Libya rolled back it's Nuclear Program ; what happened to Libya is in everyone's knowledge ! And Pakistan should really focus on it's own Nuclear assets , there is no reason to believe that United States of Israel views Pakistan any differently than Libya or Iran !

Salahud Din Apr 06, 2015 04:30pm

Of course very excellent commentary on the very burning issue of the decade...