Iran’s National Security and the Nuclear Gamble
A. A. Kazemi
September 27, 2009
Recent revelations by US president Obama about Iran’s new secret nuclear site in the vicinity of the religious city of Qom came as a new shock to the already soured relations of the Islamic regime with the West. The timing of this disclosure was quite cleverly calculated by Washington. This came while the United Nations General Assembly was in its regular yearly session and the newly reappointed Iranian president Ahmadinejad was visiting the United States, leaving behind the post-election crisis at home.
How far the new divulgation is susceptible to cause structural trouble for the Islamic Republic, which is now in its deepest political hurdle at home and lowest credibility at the international level? Can Iran continue to gamble on its nuclear undertaking and defy the upcoming fourth resolution on the agenda of the 5+1 powers for the UN Security Council?
The surprise revelations about Iran’s new secret nuclear establishment could be construed as another vibrant indication as to why the Islamic Republic consumed so much of its political credibility and legitimacy in order to keep an odd figure like Ahmadinejad in office. Perhaps, in the eyes of the Islamic leaders, only he and not any other personality from the opposition camp (reformists) could continue to handle such a bizarre messy business!
There is no doubt that Iran is now caught in a thorny trap laid meticulously by the new American democrat president. I had predicted the matter not long ago on Feb. 3, 2009 in an article titled “US Democrats are Pushing Iran to the Corner.” According to the Americans, they had knowledge about the new secret site during the presidential campaign and eventually Mr. Obama had a good grip of the intelligence before assuming the office. Thus, we can presume that when he extended his hands towards Iran for diplomatic negotiations, he knew an awful lot about what was going on behind the scene. There is even possibility that the Americans have yet much wider knowledge about other eventual secret undertakings and dealings of the Islamic regime, but they don’t intend to disclose them for the time being.
As I stated in my previous comments, Americans have set a broad range of policy alternatives to tackle with Iran as a whole, including nuclear activities. To that end, they are believed to be ready to use all available leverages comprising the use of hard power. The expected outcome would eventually make the situation much tougher for Iran’s defying stance pushing it to the corner in a manner to commit itself to some sort of bitter concessions on various pending issues including the nuclear project.
It is adequate to review here my earlier guess about the new American approach which could be shaped around the following facts and criteria:
· Any viable solution to the Middle East problems including Israeli-Palestinian issue as well as Iraq and Afghanistan depend on settling Iran-US perennial quarrel;
· The Islamic regime’s ties with radical movements in the Middle East and its defiance to this date to comply with the UN Security Council demands with respect to the nuclear enrichment issue are serious barriers to the settlement of all other issues in the region;
· The United States alone cannot force Iran to adopt a cooperative stance merely by using hard power, especially after the awful quagmire created by the US military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq;
· Iranian leaders are more vulnerable to soft power effects such as diplomatic pressure and sanctions than military engagement, since this latter would consolidate all people behind the regime against the invader;
· Gradual pressure through legitimate instruments may push the regime to the corner in such a way that it would finally surrender to the will of the international community.
Apparently, American partners and allies like UK, Germany, France and Israel had been informed about the new Iran’s secret nuclear project and the US president has informed Russian president of the fact in his recent meeting with him in New York. Now Russia and China, whose tactical support of Iran so far instigated this country to continue to defy UN Security Council resolutions, are in a rather grim situation. They can no longer continue to prop up Iran’s intransigence on the nuclear issue.
Iranian authorities claim that they have complied with the IAEA regulations by announcing the matter to the Agency prior to the operational use of the site. Yet, the emerging situation could give a good basis of justification to the United States to take advantage of the new revelations for reaching a solid consensus in the UN Security Council in adopting harsh sanctions against Iran. Though the Islamic leaders maintain that they don’t fear UN sanctions, there is no doubt that the country is susceptible to suffer severely in the wake of post-election social turbulence and declining position of hard-liners in the country.
The West has given Iran another chance “to come clean” on the matter until this coming December. Therefore, time is running out for the Islamic regime and its future course of actions has severely diminished to a few: either to go along with the 5+1 demands and avoid serious sanctions ahead; or insist on its previous stance and run the risks of incurring “paralyzing sanctions” and/or a sudden preemptive strike on its strategic targets by Israel.
In all circumstance, given that the post-elections crises of confidence and legitimacy have not been wholly contained and resolved, the Islamic regime is at risk to encounter serious troubles at home susceptible to cause structural changes in the country. /
Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran, Iran. See: www.aakazemi.blogspot.com
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