Iran wants us to live in constant tension with the Palestinians, and will act against any plan that tries to change this situation
Meir Javedanfar, Iran expert, IDC Herzliya
How does Iran estimate that it can benefit from Trump's peace plan?
Iran can't benefit from Trump's peace plan – or any other American president, for that matter – because it isn't interested in peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Tehran benefits from the constant tension between the two sides, because it serves as a barrier to the development of regional processes that could work against it.
Photo: Nancy Shurka, courtesy of the author
What does it fear it might lose from it?
Iran has much to lose from a regional peace plan. Should the plan succeed, Israel will be able to end its current political isolation and establish official and open relationships with the Arab countries in the Middle East. Some of them, like Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf emirates, are bitter rivals of Tehran.
Additionally, an alliance of countries against Iran in the Middle East will make it easier for its rivals to isolate it in the international arena – not only by the United States, but also by Europe. On the other hand, if Europe perceives Iran to be acting against the peace plan, it will damage its relations with the continent, which are very important for the Iranian economy.
Finally, the Iranians also fear that progress in the negotiations would make it harder for them to deflect international attention from their support for the Syrian ruler, Bashar al-Assad, and his cruelty against his people.
What can Iran contribute to the advancement of the plan?
As explained above, it has no interest doing so.
Which obstacles is Iran liable to mount, and how can it sabotage the process?
Tehran doesn't want any part of the peace plan to succeed – whether between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, or between Israel and Hamas. It hopes that we live in constant tension with the Palestinians, and therefore will act against any plan that seeks to change this situation.
Iran's actions depend, to a great extent, on the question whether or not the Palestinian Authority will accept the plan – which is currently highly doubtful. But even if Hamas unexpectedly accepts the plan, I am convinced that Iran will offer the organization more money to thwart it, as well as to the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. In my estimation, they will also ask these organizations to set Gaza ablaze again, with the aim of launching another round of fighting with Israel, which will surely devastate any peace initiative. We can also assume that they will try to use Hezbollah in their fight against the plan, but in my opinion, the Lebanese Shi’ite organization currently has enough problems in Lebanon and in Syria, and it will not risk opening another front with Israel.
Meir Javedanfar is a lecturer on contemporary Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.