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HOW NOT TO APPROACH IRAN: Wave Real Sticks and Make Vague Promises of Carrots

By Kam Zarrabi,


The article, How to Approach Iran, by Madeleine Albright and seven former European foreign ministers (The Washington Post, December 13, 2004), as diplomatically well-intentioned as it is, contains numerous errors, inconsistencies and unhelpful conjectures.


First of all, the United States is not simply sending "subtle signals" in absentia to the meeting between the European trio and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. Any stronger signal would be tantamount to a formal declaration of war against the Islamic Republic. And, calling Iran a "radical regime" attempting to gain nuclear weapons is a jump of Feith, ala Douglas Feith, our Undersecretary of Defense for policy, whose not-so-subtle views were recently conveyed to the Israeli paper (no surprise here), the Jerusalem Post. The other neogoon, John Bolton, Undersecretary of State in charge of weapons control, has often sounded off similar blatant threats. So, Mrs. Albright, the signals are not so subtle!


In the article signed by these former diplomats, the current agreement between Iran and the European trio of France, Germany and Britain, whereby Iran has volunteered to suspend uranium enrichment activities while the negotiations continue, is viewed as insufficient. The demand is for Iran to "permanently suspend any attempt to create a nuclear weapons capacity."


There are a few things wrong with these statements: First of all, Iran, under the NPT agreements, is entitled to proceed with uranium enrichment in order to create its own fuel rods for the projected power plants. Any nuclear research and development activity for peaceful purposes is within the inalienable rights of the signatories to the Non Proliferation Treaty. Second, to selectively put additional demands or restrictions on specific members of the NPT accord violates the very spirit of any international treaty. The proper course would be to amend or modify the articles of the treaty and see how many nations are then willing to accept the new terms. Third, and most importantly, the phrase, "permanently suspend any attempt to create a nuclear weapons capacity", is a technically lame and politically loaded statement. A metals fabricating plant that manufactures scissors and toenail clippers has the potential capacity to make box-cutters that have already proven to have the capacity to bring down airplanes, as we observed in the tragic events of September 11, 2001! To eliminate the possibility of Iran attempting to create a nuclear weapons capacity, as the illustrious authors have proposed, Iran must agree to close down all physics departments at its various universities, deport all its nuclear specialists, and have some German, French or British mining company remove all the uranium ore from its mines. Let's not be ridiculous!


The whole purpose of the IAEA is to safeguard against illegal nuclear developments by nations that have agreed to be members of the NPT; and it has been doing the job, in Iraq, as well as, thus far, in Iran.


The authors, then, suggest that "European and US policymakers must insist and jointly articulate that they seek to hold Iran to the obligations it has accepted under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to refrain from building nuclear arms." This is yet another misleading bit of disinformation. Iran is not in violation of any terms under the NPT agreements, whatsoever. It is the additional protocols that were exclusively imposed on Iran, to which Iran has voluntarily agreed, and under no legal obligation - on a stated temporary basis, while the negotiations with the European powers continue. This is where the stick and carrots enter the play. The carrots were supposed to be technical assistance in nuclear power generation programs, and new economic openings to the West, carrots that Iran, under the NPT agreement, was already entitled to. The ominous sticks, however, that are poised against Iran to balance out such magnanimously extended carrots have been getting heavier and more threatening by the day.


When the article concludes that "severe political and economic consequences will result if Iran does not renounce the Nuclear weapons option.", anyone with a triple-digit IQ might wonder what that phrase exactly means. How does one renounce an option? One might renounce one's option to jump off a bridge; but, short of agreeing to remain locked up in a steel cage, how could such renouncement be guaranteed?


How about all the world nuclear powers, declared and undeclared, renouncing the use of nuclear weapons forever? What about renouncing aggression, terrorism, sabotage, etc?


Finally, if this is the best that a former US Secretary of State and a group of former European foreign ministers can do to resolve a pending international disaster, let all the sane people move to another planet.  Shame on us all.

... Payvand News - 12/20/04 ... --

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