Modifying Iranian Behavior
In the midst of the crisis between the United States and Iran after the cancellation of the nuclear deal, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on July 27 there was no policy that had been put in place with the goal of collapsing or changing the Iranian regime.
'We need them to change their behavior on a number of threats they can pose with their military, with their secret services, with their surrogates and with their proxies,' he told reporters.
Modification of behavior, as defined in psychology, is a curative method designed primarily to change behavior especially in children and to replace unwanted behavior with desirable behavior through consequences or reinforcement.
The Iranian behavior to be modified is to stop interfering in the affairs of neighboring countries, tampering with their stability and security, and exporting Khomeini's "revolution" either directly or through its agents such as Hezbollah in Lebanon or Ansar Allah in Yemen.
In the Iranian case, the US administration resorted to stick and carrot policy. After exchanging threats by both sides, President Trump announced that he was ready to meet Iranian leaders. 'No preconditions. If they want to meet, I will meet. Whenever they want,' Trump said last Monday, adding that a summit would be 'good for the country, good for them, good for us, and good for the world.'
The Iranian regime has become isolated, the Iranian currency is falling apart, protesters are rallying in the streets, and they are defying religious authority, and the Iraqi people's demonstrations against corruption herald end of the Persian tide in this Arab country, while European countries are still undecided, especially when the US has declared a trade war against them and Canada.
Only the besieged North Korea declared its solidarity with Iran and sent its Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to Tehran to meet his Iranian counterpart Jawad Tarif.
With limited options in hand, the Iranian regime has softened the tone of threats, and did not object to talks with the United States, which Israeli sources said that President Trump will meet with the Iranian President in New York during the next meeting of the UN General Assembly.
As the Iranians are habitual of issuing religious fatwas, the Special Assistant to the President of the Iranian Shura Council, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, said last Saturday that negotiations with the United States are not taboo, as there have been many meetings between the foreign ministers of the two countries in the past.
The other side of the behavior modification is the cessation of interference in the affairs of neighboring Arab countries. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasimi said that Iran could reduce or terminate its consultative presence in Syria "if it felt relative stability there and ended the task of eliminating terrorism."
At the same time, the Houthis have announced their willingness to attend peace talks sponsored by the United Nations. As for Hezbollah, it began withdrawing its fighters from Syria after participating in its destruction and killing of its people.
On the other hand, Qasimi pointed out "Iran will open an Iranian interests office in Saudi Arabia soon to undertake diplomatic affairs." He also expressed readiness to negotiate with the Kingdom which severed its diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016, following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The Iranian announcement affirms the Kingdom's position, which was a forerunner in warning the Iranian regime against its adventurous policies, which only resulted in backwardness for the Iranian people.
These are indications about the Iranian regime's willingness to adjust its behavior. It is noticeable that these statements came from second rank politicians, but what is important in the treatment plan is to monitor this regime, which could not be trusted. It has a long history in breaching covenants and neighborly relations.