Sunday, September 27, 2009

Iran’s National Security and the Nuclear Gamble


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:

* Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author and Strategic Discourse. All Copy Rights reserved.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Iran’s Post- Election Political Environment

Iran’s Post- Election Political Environment

A. A. Kazemi

September 25, 2009


« Il y’ a beaucoup de choses que ne valent pas la peine d’ĂȘtre dites, et il y’a beaucoup de gens qui ne valent pas que les autres choses leur soient dites, cela fait beaucoup de silence ! »

« There are many things that are not worthy to be said and there are many people whom are not worthy that the other things be said to them, this makes a lot of silence!”


Silence is Gold

Indeed, “silence is gold” at a time when public uprising swabs intellectual discourse. The last time I published an article was exactly on June 13, 2009, just the day after the presidential elections in Iran. The comment was a short review on the amazing result of the election and its plausible consequence for the country afterward. The title of the article bears good witness that we had to expect something unusual after the announcement of the results: Iran’s Elections 2009: The End of Hope for Peaceful Democratic Reforms.” I don’t intend here to imply that I had foreseen the social commotion that followed the election, but it is fair to say that there was some truth in the conclusions of the comment about the astonishing results which could spark the long-accumulated revulsion about political repression in Iran.

During the past months, I went into a “voluntary silence” for which I praise myself. There are many reasons for that: First, I had no reliable information about what truly happened during the elections and whether there was a material and substantive breach of law or fraud in the process; Second, thanks to the internet and international media, the whole world witnessed with bafflement and disgust the events after the election in Iran and there was no need to analyze or repeat the uncertain account of the facts in the heat of their unexpected development; and Finally, fear of being accused of a one-sided partisanship of the so-called “Green Movement,” that emerged in a dubious circumstances on the political landscape of Iran, pressed me to keep quiet for a while until the clouds of uncertainty pass away .

Walking in the Dark

When one has no coherent and reliable information about a developing situation, intelligent analysis is difficult and there is always the risk of falling in the trap of faked data, propaganda and disinformation. This whole state of affairs pushed me to abstain from “walking in the dark” by repeating the story of either rival parties (conservative hard-liners or reformists” or lamenting on the abhorring situation that our society and our people went through during the period of social turmoil and political crisis after the presidential election.

Now that things are apparently quieter and the crisis has been contained at least on the surface, the time is opportune to ponder upon the ramifications of the post-election events. Therefore, I intend to resume my occasional comments on the critical national and international issues related to our country.

A note of appreciation

During the past months, many friends, colleagues and students have expressed concern and inquietude regarding my situation and whereabouts, for which I am grateful. The post-election social uprising in Iran coincided with the summer vacation which was indeed a heavenly gift for me. I took the opportunity to retreat from the unpredictable social environment of Tehran to my homestead out of town with no internet and other means of communications, such as cell phone. Upon my return, I realized the amount of mails and messages which I missed during my absence.

New Academic Year and Fresh Expectations

My voluntary solitude away from overly heated political atmosphere in the capital provided me with the chance to go back to the nature and reflect upon things that never come to mind in normal conditions. Now that the new academic year has started, although there are still many question marks about what really happened during the presidential election in Iran and the unfortunate events aftermath, I hope to be able to share these solitary reflections with friends in my future commentaries and articles. /


Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran, Iran. See:

* Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author and Strategic Discourse. All Copy Rights reserved.