And the Winner Is... Iran
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Iran is required to deceive, lie and manipulate in order to continue their nuclear weapons program.
Not understanding others is a time bomb waiting to explode.
However, as I sit here in an urban slum in the Middle East, listening at this exact moment to the Islamic call to prayer echoing through the air, I am in no way confident at all that those involved in the "historic agreement" reached between Iran and the P5+1 (The United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany) have a realistic understanding ' or even an iota of knowledge ' as to what forms the very foundation and basis of thought the Iranians brought with them to the negotiating table in Geneva. The Iranians arrived in Switzerland with a worldview that has been shaped and formed by more than 1,300 years of Shi'a Islamic theology, practice and thought. Apparently the advisers, consultants, and diplomats involved in the process somehow missed that fairly important fact.
Or, sitting in the shadows of the Swiss Alps, they simply were unable to fathom that in this day and time there remain societies, cultures, and entire countries that base every single decision ' sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly ' on certain religious doctrines and beliefs which have permeated all aspects of their worldviews and lives.
Within Shi'a Islam there are two important doctrines that apply to what has transpired between Iran and the P5+1: Taqiyya and Kitman.
In modern times, Taqiyya and Kitman are generally used interchangeably, and while this is an overly simplistic explanation, they are both means of manipulating and concealing information. Or more bluntly said, they are ways of flat-out lying.
For Shiite Muslims, both Taqiyya and Kitman are permissible ' and according to some even required ' in any situation where there is a danger of loss of life or property. In other words, what this means practically with regards to the "historic agreement" reached over the weekend in Geneva, is that according to these Shi'a Islamic doctrines, the Iranians were required to deceive, lie and manipulate in order to continue their nuclear weapons program. Not doing so would be to go against two of the most important theological doctrines within Shi'a Islam, because from their perspective, abandoning their nuclear weapons program would be to put themselves in a danger of loss of life or property: The very situation which makes Taqiyya and Kitman permissible and required.
If the goal for this most recent multi-lateral negotiation between Iran and the P5+1 was to actually make the world a safer, more secure and better place by seeing Iran's nuclear weapons program come to a halt, it was an utterly failed attempt. The P5+1 lost. Iran won.
Iran came out the winner because the victor in any negotiation understands the way the other thinks. Iran knows this. Apparently, however, the rest of the world does not.
Jeff d. Patterson, Middle East Specialist: While the ashes were beginning to settle in New York City with the setting of the sun on 9/11, Jeff D. Patterson was unpacking his bags far, far away from American shores; far, far away from his family and friends; far, far away from his homeland. He was starting a new phase of life in a region of the world he would call ‘home’ for most of the next decade. Jeff was taking his first breaths of Middle Eastern air, thinking of the world becoming a better place… In contrast to most... (more...)