The Iran Redux
There is a need to stop nuclear non-proliferation
STANDOFF BY RASHID RAINA
Iran is once again in the news. After having secured the oil fields of Iraq and Libya and having consolidated the geo-strategic region of Afghanistan to its favour, the worldís lone super-power has set before itself the task of looking for new avenues for its adventurism. There is widespread concern about Iranís development of uranium enrichment, an activity that gives Iran an incipient nuclear weapon capability.
Recently the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found a number of breaches of Iranís safeguards agreement. Iranís persistent refusal to conclude an Additional Protocol only reinforces the suspicions about Iranís intentions. Iranís complex internal politics, fundamental international relationships, and fervent belief in its legitimate right to peaceful nuclear activities are not likely to change soon. Iranís leaders may not yet have determined how far to proceed towards a nuclear weapons capability and may be divided on the issue. Thus, there is still time to shape Iranís calculations. However the policies the US has pursued over many years have so far failed to diminish Iranís commitment to its nuclear program. Iranís strategic calculations share a causal link with the security environment prevalent in its neighborhood. The unaccounted for nuclear stockpile of Israel has certainly given sleepless nights to Iranís leadership. Add to this the hostile attitude against Iran shared by several key Arab countries. Thus any efforts aimed at containment of the Iranís nuclear programme should as a necessary first step try to mitigate the security risks facing Iran within the region.
Iran has to be guaranteed a right to exist and exercise absolute freedom in its foreign policy decisions. The non-proliferation regime has to do away with the double standards. All the states whether or not the signatories of NPT of 1967 should be dealt with equal strictness. Iran on its part has to take into account the international opinion. Being a signatory to NPT it has accepted certain obligations which it needs to put into practice. The nuclear weapons states signatory to NPT should in turn fulfil their obligations to reduce the importance of the nuclear weapons in their respective military arsenal and strategic calculations. If the dreaded nuclear winter is to be avoided, the argument of reason should replace the argument of power in nuclear non-proliferation negotiations with Iran.
Going by the pronouncements of the leadership of Iran, if Iranís nuclear programme is meant for peaceful purposes, then it should have no objections in placing its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards regime. The international community in general and the United States should keep in mind that Iran is not Libya or Iraq. A war with Iran will have disastrous consequences not only on the countries involved, but it would threaten the world peace at large. Given the current fragile status of the world economy war with Iran and eventual conflict in the Strait of Hormuz, as Iran has threatened, the energy hungry world economy would be forced to starve, and the consequences can be spill over. Iran has to confront a bitter truth that it cannot defeat the United States in a direct confrontation. Realism demands a compromise on part of both the Iran and the United States. Few decades of relative peace can then be utilized by Iran in strengthening the state both militarily and economically.
The world community on its part has to pay heed to the genuine security concerns of Iran. The international community in the meantime has to find solutions to the dual-use problem of nuclear technology and military application of the nuclear material so that the cherished dream of ĎAtoms for Peaceí would be achieved. The politics of sanctions has always backfired and the trend is not likely to change in the future. Without incentives the world is playing with the explosive potential of a million suns and a fire that will not go out.
(Rashid Raina is Research Scholar, JNU, School of International Studies).
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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