Conference on Lebanon’s Future: Leverage for Iran

Iran ties itself politically to the solution of the key conflicts in the Middle East, seeking immunity from potentially damaging actions by the international community.

European actors such as France are apparently willing to involve Iran in resolving regional conflicts, if they believe it will translate into some kind of progress for the region.

Prior to the French conference on the future of Lebanon, French President Sarkozy's special envoy traveled twice to Tehran to persuade Iran to soften Hizbullah stance on the issue of forming a national unity government in Lebanon.

In addition, Sarkozy's administration "clarified" that Hezbollah is not considered anymore a terrorist organization by the EU and emphasized Hizbullah's centrality to Lebanese politics in response to Nasrallah's threat not to participate in the conference.

Iran: France's entry ticket to the Middle East - It appears that Iran is able to muster up leverage over France as Hizbullah's sponsor. This is similar to the way Iran is able to create leverage over the US by sponsoring Sunni and Shiite insurgents and militias in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hence, in addition to Iran's tying itself economically to oil-hungry powers like China and India, it ties itself politically to the solution of the key conflicts in the Middle East. In this way, Iran is seeking immunity from potentially damaging actions by the international community, such as sanctions or a military strike.

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