On the Pretext of Solana’s Tehran Visit: What Would Be the Fate of Iran Nuclear Case?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The nuclear case of the Islamic Republic of Iran is almost six years old now. The propaganda against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program began in summer 2002 when intelligence and satellite images collected by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about Iran’s nuclear activities were made available to the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization.

In addition to the wide-scale accusations leveled against Iran by the terrorist MKO and governments such as the Zionist regime of Israel that Tehran is seeking the A-bomb, some 20 resolutions and statements have been issued by the Governing Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as four resolutions by the United Nations Security Council against the IRI. Meantime, new economic and technological sanctions have been imposed against Iran over the past couple of years.

Despite all this, the fate of Iran’s nuclear case seems so ambiguous and unpredictable to all the parties involved in the dossier that various alternatives can be considered as an ending. In the following columns, an attempt has been made to shed more light on the outcome of the case by evaluating each of the possible options.

1.    The first alternative which can be dubbed the most optimistic one has been proposed by the 9th government and the current president of the IRI. In this option, with the West dropping the condition of suspension of uranium enrichment, the IRI would achieve a clear-cut victory and with the elimination of the sanctions in the long run, Iran’s right to access nuclear technology would be recognized by international institutions. Although no specific time has been estimated by the IRI president for this accomplishment and an end to the economic and political pressures on Iran, nevertheless the 9th
government does not believe this would take very long.

2.    The second alternative raised by the strongest opponent of Iran’s nuclear case, namely the Zionist regime, would be the most pessimistic option for Iran. In this scenario, Israel would launch a military attack – jointly with the United States or on its own – against the nuclear installations of the IRI to check the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and make up for what it calls the weakness of the Western governments and the UN Security Council. By presenting this option, Tel Aviv would try to repeat the successful experience of destroying Iraq’s Osirak nuclear site in 1981. Israel’s extensive air raid thwarted the efforts of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein to access the A-bomb. This Israeli military action however prompted condemnation of world circles. Meanwhile, it seems that part of the Israeli propaganda and focus on this alternative seems to emanate from its attempts to overshadow its repeated defeats at the hands of the Lebanese Hizbollah as well as its domestic failures. Nonetheless, some news reports, including remarks by the former German foreign minister indicate that the Tel Aviv leaders are serious about their intention in this respect.

Although despite these efforts, the fundamental differences between the present conditions and capabilities of the IRI and the conditions of Iraq at the beginning of the war with Iran would dissuade the Zionist regime from taking a similar measure against Iran, however, this possibility cannot be totally ruled out as an option in IRI nuclear dossier.

Concerning the time of such an attack too there are different speculations. Some believe this could take place before the end of the presidential tenure of George Bush or even between the presidential elections and the power transition at the White House. Yet others maintain that the next presidential term would be a better opportunity for Israel to launch the attack in view of the support voiced by the two main presidential contenders for Israel’s military threats against IRI.

3.    The third alternative being followed by the moderate section of IRI nuclear diplomacy and symbolized by Ali Larijani would bring a relative victory to the IRI in the diplomatic process. This option -- the generalities of which were once observed in the 11-point agreement between Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Brussels in fall 2006 and traces of which can be seen in IRI’s response to the 5+1 package -- by stressing that a win-lose alternative is almost out of the question by either party involved in the nuclear case, has concentrated on a win-win option so that the parties would achieve their demands relatively.     

In this option, with special emphasis on refraining from unconstructive behaviors by both sides, utmost attempts are made to create a logical and diplomatic process in line with doing away with their concerns and meeting their main demands. Taking mutual positive steps by the two sides and exchange of balanced concessions to advance the process are among requisites of this option.

Although this choice is faced with some problems in view of what has occurred over the past one and a half years and the ambiguities caused by the IAEA concerning the IRI nuclear dossier, but with regard to the upcoming visit to Tehran by Solana to present the 5+1 package to Iran, it seems that in case the two sides show some resolve and unity of expression a period of one year would be needed to reach the initial stages of a lasting breakthrough.

4.    The fourth option is the outlook held by the moderate section of the Western countries which believes that economic and political tools could effectively force the IRI to stop its nuclear program. This scenario which relies on the experience of dealing with such countries as North Korea and Libya, believes that cold war and tools like economic sanctions and international pressures would inflate the costs of Iran’s nuclear program and compel Tehran to drop its nuclear program to prevent the outbreak of domestic crises particularly wide-scale economic and social dissatisfactions.

The European Trio as the masterminds behind this scenario, by focusing on Iran’s economic, cultural and social features, maintain that contrary to Iraq, the IRI would be unable to tolerate the long term and tough international pressures and that escalation of the economic and political situation would eventually force Iran to discontinue its nuclear program.

Although the advocates of this scenario in the West have played a key role in Iran’s nuclear case over the past five years, however its success is open to question because on the one hand it has produced no tangible results and the reform government in Iran which supported the idea is no more in power, and on the other hand, attempts to halt Iran’s nuclear program have failed. Yet, the advocates of this scenario still believe it would yield favorable results in the long run.

Although other alternatives can be introduced in between these four scenarios with some supporters in Iran and the West, but it seems that these four options are enough to get a clear picture about the outcome of Iran’s nuclear case. In fact, fulfillment of any of the four options would require some preliminaries and conditions which are subject to various political, economic, social and security factors.

Iran’s domestic conditions and the extent of efficiency and acceptability of IRI representatives to the nuclear case as well as the extent of international support for and strength of the opposite party are among the most important factors which would decide the result of this diplomatic marathon.  


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