“The US national security state, which has the power to block any attempt” by President Obama to forge a new, friendlier relationship with Iran, “has fundamental long-term interests in the continuation of the policy of treating Iran as an enemy,” writes Gareth Porter at Al-Jazeera.

In addition to the U.S. arms industry, the key opponents to such an improvement in relations with Iran are the leading parties of Saudi Arabia. Porter continues:

[T]he most important factor in determining the policy of the US towards Iran is domestic electoral and bureaucratic politics – not Obama’s personal geopolitical vision of the Middle East. The power of the Israeli lobby obviously will severely limit policy flexibility towards Iran for many years. And the interests of the most powerful institutions in the US national security state remain tied to a continuation of the policy of treating Iran as the premier enemy of the US. …

Since 2002 the US Department of Defense has spent roughly $100bn on missile defence, most of which goes directly to its major military contractor allies. That bonanza depends largely on the idea that Iran is intent on threatening the US and its allies with ballistic missiles. 

But an even bigger bonanza for the US arms industry is at stake. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regimes in the anti-Iran alliance have been pouring big money into Pentagon arms contractor coffers for years. A deal with Saudi Arabia for fighter planes and missile defence technology first announced in 2010 was expected to yield $100-150bn in procurement and service contracts over two decades. And that tsunami of money from the Gulf depends on identifying Iran as a military threat to the entire region.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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