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06/23/08

Nuclear Geopolitics in US-Iran Relations:The case for a Big Push toward confidence building

By Hooshang Amirahmadi

 

Iran is currently a world-class foreign policy challenge for the West and the US in particular. The country stands before the UN Security Council for its alleged "potential threat to world peace." The Council has already imposed two political-economic sanctions on Iran and intends to continue along that path until the Islamic Republic stops its uranium enrichment programs. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has been threatening Iran with the use of force if "diplomacy fails," and has successfully convinced many financial institutions to break ties with the country.  These multilateral sanctions are in addition to the unilateral economic embargoes that the US has imposed on Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Iran is suspected of pursuing nuclear weaponization, a charge that the Islamic regime has consistently denied. Even though the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate has allayed that suspicion by revealing that Iran "stopped" its alleged weaponization programs in 2003, the more difficult issues of nuclear enrichment and Iran's future intentions remain, making 2008 the most dangerous year in the US-Iran spiral conflict.

 

What particularly makes the matter of Iran's intentions so intractable is that it is by and large deduced not from hard data or undisputed facts but from inferences, perceptions, and assumptions about the country and its leaders that often border on fiction. There are also the problems of expanding nuclear geopolitics and shifting political fault lines in the Middle East, the regional and strategic rivalries between Iran and its adversaries (the US and Israel in particular), the American occupation of Iraq, and decades of injurious interstate relations. Other complicating factors include the rise of new global powers and their growing influence in the Middle East, the declining world oil supply in the face of rising demand, and weakening of regional states in the face of new threatening global issues and informal regional actors including "street armies." The spiral conflict between Iran and its nemeses is also fed by radical Islam in the oil-rich region, and the rising power of conservative forces in Iran, the US, and Israel, leading to a total collapse of trust among them. This complex environment of US-Iran relations often leads to the obfuscation of facts and fiction.

 

This obfuscation is then made even more troublesome by the policy makers who refuse to move away from the Cold War era paradigm of win-lose games in international relations.  Thus, instead of coming together in resolving or dissolving regional problems, they play the game of influence peddling and containing of potential rivals. Such games have been particularly detrimental to attempts at US-Iran confidence building as the basis for engagement toward normalization of relations. Focusing on nuclear geopolitics in the greater Middle East and Iran's relations to it, the present article gives an unconventional review of the key facts and fiction embedded within the complex climate of relations between Iran and its nuclear nemesis.  This article also calls for a paradigm shift for US-Iran confidence building in the wake of the 2007 NIE, from one of incremental actions to a Big Push approach. Given the perplexing and conflicting forces involved in US-Iran relations, and the "face saving" that Washington and Tehran both will require before backing down from their hard line positions, only "shock therapy" can put a large enough crack in the wall of distrust among them.

 

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Iran is often said to live in a "dangerous neighborhood," and that because of its geography the country intends to build nuclear bombs for security purposes.  This suspicion is heightened given that Iran is, seemingly, an energy-rich country, even though its oil and gas sector is under the US embargo and remains underdeveloped. Yet, a more productive application of this "dangerous neighborhood" concept would have been to use it for a deeper appreciation of Iran's security concerns, both real and perceived. While the fact that Iran is surrounded by nuclear bombs, hostile states, separatist nationalities, terrorist groups, and drug traffickers is often acknowledged, another cause of its security dilemma, that is, its lonesome status in the region, is almost always ignored.  Iranians are a nation of Aryan race, of Shi'a Islamic religion, and of Persian language, in the midst of many Semitic or Turkic, Sunni Islamic, and Arabic or Turkish-speaking nations.  Only Israel can be considered a similarly lonesome nation in its region - and ironically the two lonely states despise each other.

 

Surrounded by nuclear bombs, hostile states, and antagonistic groups, and isolated by its lonesome status, contemporary Iran has often lived in a repressed trepidation of the outside. The ever present state-civil society political struggle adds an internal volatility dimension to this fear. The nation's troubled memory of many aggressions against it in the recent past further complicates its insecurity complex. It is from this broader perspective of vulnerability that we need to address Iran's nuclear programs. Specifically, it is critical that Iran's nuclear ambitions are considered in the context of its regional nuclear and identity geopolitics. For the benefit of time, let me focus on nuclear geopolitics, a new concept that I believe lends itself best to a more realistic assessment of Iran's nuclear purpose. Geopolitics refers to the political significance of places in international relations, and in that context, nuclear geopolitics focuses on the spatial distribution of nuclear facilities, their significance, the problems they create, or the solutions they offer.

 

In analyzing the nuclear geopolitics of the Middle East, we can arrive at several conclusions. To begin with, in the Middle East proper, there is only one country that is a nuclear power, indeed possessing dozens of nuclear bombs and that country is Israel. Iran is the next likely candidate for becoming a nuclear power even if it insists on using the technology for energy production and other peaceful purposes alone. We can reasonably extend the Middle East's nuclear geopolitics to include Pakistan and India as well as Russia and China because they have nuclear bombs and are connected in multiple ways to this particular geopolitical space. Of the five countries with nuclear bombs, Russia and China developed their bombs before the Nonproliferation Treaty was adopted by the United Nations. The remaining three, Israel, India and Pakistan, never joined the NPT, and built their bombs by defying the international community. If Iran were to develop nuclear bombs, it would be the first NPT signatory to do so in the Middle East. 

 

Whether these nations developed nuclear bombs for offensive or defensive (deterrent) purposes is irrelevant to the fact of their nuclear power. The same will also apply to Iran if it were to weaponize. Indeed, it is possible to identify a domino effect in the nuclear weaponization of the Middle East. Russia built its bombs to counter the American bombs; China built its bombs in reaction to the Russian bombs; India built its bombs to counter the Chinese bombs; and Pakistan built its bombs in reaction to the Indian bombs. The chain breaks when it comes to the reason for Israeli bombs. They were built proactively rather than reactively. Israel's traditional enemies, the Arabs, had and have no bombs, and Pakistan's "Islamic bomb" was developed years afterwards. Israel is solely responsible for the nuclear weaponization of the Middle East proper, just as the US is responsible for global nuclear weaponization.  If Iran were to build bombs it would do so to counter Israel and other nuclear states; therefore, it would be a reactive undertaking rather than a proactive one.

 

There is yet another troubling aspect to nuclear geopolitics in the Middle East -- its predominantly non-peaceful use. The fact is that nuclear power in the greater Middle East is not predominantly used for energy production or other civilian uses but rather for producing nuclear weapons. Of those who possess the technology, Iran is the only country that does not as yet have a bomb and claims that it will never divert from peaceful uses to weapon production. Yet it is almost certain that in the absence of a compromise solution to Iran's nuclear programs,  the regional contagion with nuclear weapons will push Tehran to also consider the same weaponization option as the other five nations, particularly given that the United States and Israel are considered immediate threats to its national and regime security.  It is no wonder that Iran for decades has championed the cause of denuclearization of the Middle East, meaning deweaponization of the nuclear programs in the region.  

 

When considering the nuclear ambitions of Iran, we must also account for the relationship that exists between its ambitions and its regional stature. Within the greater Middle East and the neighboring countries, the five countries that have nuclear bombs are also the countries with most powerful conventional armies. With the exception of Israel, they are also the largest and most populous nations. Iran is a comparable country and sees itself in league with those already in the nuclear camp. All six play critical regional roles, while Russia and China are also playing important global roles, with India seeking global recognition as it improves its economic and political position. Israel and Iran do not have global ambitions but consider themselves regional magnets and strategic rivals. Both are also determined to maintain their regional positions and none can allow itself to become subordinated to the other. This rivalry is based on fact and fiction and on mutual security threats, and as such it is a dangerous game of spiral conflict.

 

As Iran has the potential to become a more powerful conventional power than Israel, the only option available for Israel to maintain its dominant regional position is to maintain its strategic power edge based on its nuclear weapons. This requires that Israel prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology of any sort, not just the technology to build nuclear bombs. It is no wonder that Israel is adamantly against any level of uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. Israel does not want Iran become its equal in the region and has said it will take appropriate measures if it must in order to ensure a subordinate fate for Iran. Because Israel is not in a position to singularly prevent Iran from taking the nuclear route, it has cleverly brought the US into its dangerous game with Iran. Israel had a similar problem with Iraq, and resolved that matter in 1981 by destroying Osirak, a 40 MW light-water nuclear materials testing reactor near Baghdad. The subsequent US wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003 eliminated "the Iraqi threat" to Israel altogether -- wars that have also inflicted colossal costs on the US.

 

In order to better understand these emerging confrontations in the context of the nuclear geopolitics in the Middle East, we have to understand some other developments as well. To begin with, we need to be cognizant of the emergence of a new fault-line between Israel and Iran since the now defunct Oslo accord between Israelis and Arabs in 1992. That accord was itself a response to a new threat that was considered to emanate from Iran after its Islamic revolution in 1979.  Until that date, the primary fault-line of conflict in the Middle East was between Arabs and Israelis, which I believe no longer exists at the level of its past intensity.  In fact, there will never be another war between the two peoples because the conflict has been reduced to that between Israelis and Palestinians, specifically Hamas, which does not have unconditional support from the conventional Arab states including even Syria.  It is important to understand why the conflict between Arabs and Israelis is no longer as bad even if it will not easily go away for years to come.

 

In the last 20 or so years, there has been a significant shift in Arab societies in favor of economic development and global integration.  Before the Iranian revolution, the Arabs were militant and rejectionist, whereas Iran in those days was more in favor of economic development and fostering friendly relations with the West.  In the last two decades or so, there has been a 180-degree turn; Iran today has taken on more militant and rejectionist position, whereas Arabs have adopted a program of economic development and integration with the West, including the Jewish investors. Indeed we can observe the tremendous integration of Western and Israeli interests with Arab interests in the Persian Gulf region and beyond in the Arab world.  This phenomenon, on a related note, reflects the integration of Jewish interests and Arab interests, while unfortunately, Iranian and

Israeli/US interests no longer coincide. As a consequence of these changes, a new Iran-Israeli fault line has developed, which the Israeli lobbies in the US have cleverly transformed into a US-Iran fault line.

 

Meanwhile, in the last three decades, the world has become more issue-oriented than nation-oriented, and this means that geopolitics is now embedded in global issues as are global issues now embedded in geopolitics.  For instance, it is not just the focus on Iraq and Iran, but also and increasingly on nuclear proliferation, terrorism, drug trafficking, democracy, human rights and the growing emergence of informal street armies. Most of these global issues have become crystallized in the Middle East, and as the primary fault-line has shifted to US-Iran relations, many of the global issues have also become issues in US-Iran spiral conflict.  The dominance of global issues in international relations has been detrimental to Israeli national security. It was easier for Israel to defeat Arab armies than to fight terrorism, defeat street militias, or prevent proliferation. As Israel's vulnerability has increased, it has sought direct US military involvement in the region. This strategy has in turn led to the Israelization of the US in the Middle East.

 

As Israel faces these global issues against itself, it feels increasingly more vulnerable, particularly in relation to Iran, a country that continues to remain hostile to Israel and has nuclear ambitions. It is in this context too that we must assess the significance of Iran's nuclear programs today and their trajectory in the foreseeable future. From an Israeli perspective, the nuclear geopolitics in the Middle East must remain clear of Iran and that any movement in part of Iran toward nuclear technology development must be forcefully crushed.  Looking into the future and uncertain of American future moves, Israel wants to zealously guard its "strategic edge" and sees its monopoly over nuclear technology, nuclear bombs in particular, as the only option left to it for longer-term survival in a rapidly changing and hostile Middle East.  This conclusion is also drawn from the fact that the Israelization of the US has been ineffective and that the Americans may one day decide to withdraw from the region as did Great Britain before it in the 1970s.

 

Iran's nuclear crisis is the product of yet another even more troubling old geopolitical concept of the country as a "dangerous nation."  When Britain had India as its most prized colony in the mid-Nineteenth Century, it saw in Iran a possible rival (Iran had conquered India before Britain had) and decided that Iran's power should be contained. While Britain had a limited purpose, Iran's enemies over time advanced the idea that a strong Iran was a dangerous Iran and that a weaker Iran was the best for its region. Indeed, the idea constitutes the conceptual foundation of current sanctions against Iran by the US and the United Nations Security Council. It was based on this same idea that the West did not want Iran to build railways in the 1920s, or steel mill plants in the 1960s, or nationalize its oil or successfully implement its democratic movement in 1950s.  Currently, the West does not want Iran to enrich uranium. The fact that Iran has not initiated any conflict against its neighbors in the last 200 or so years is conveniently ignored by its antagonists.

 

Indeed, the contemporary Iranian history is witness to an opposite experience: that anytime Iran has been weak, its region has been more unstable while a strong Iran has been often a guarantor of stability.  The fact that a strong Iran was a better Iran for the region was successfully tested by the Nixon Doctrine in the 1970s. However, the Shah's mismanagement of domestic politics brought that short-lived experience to a halt by the 1979 revolution. The post-revolutionary weak Iran encouraged Saddam to invade the country and that episode let to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and then to two US wars against Iraq. Iraq today is in a sense the product of a weak Iran. We should not ignore the fact that the Iranian leaders are also a cause for the wrong perception about a strong Iran. They often speak in words that are threatening to rivals and make claims that are often unreal or simply inflated. The present government is a master at such a false and dangerous propagandist approach. Iran's past imperial culture also feeds into these rather na´ve power-projectionist proclamations.

 

A similarly troubling misperception of Iran's power is that it is currently on the rise. Coupled with the misperception that a strong Iran is a dangerous Iran, the rising power argument has given the nation's enemies the fuel to further isolate it politically and cripple it economically in order to contain "the Iranian threat." The argument is based on the disappearance of Iraq as a regional bulwark against Iran, Iran's nuclear enrichment progress, elimination of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the rising stature of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas. The fact that Iran has a weak economy, is technologically still a consumer rather than an innovator, and that its so-called military might is based on no solid foundation is conveniently ignored. There are two groups that are making the rising power argument: one group would like to see the US and Iran in a military conflict, justifying this position by arguing that a powerful Iran is a dangerous Iran. Israel and its lobby are in this camp. The other group, which includes some of Iran's friends, would like to see the US negotiate with Iran. However, the Bush White House is not interested in talking with a strong or rising-power Iran. Instead, the Administration has narrowed its option to reducing Iran's power or changing its regime.

 

To achieve its goal, the Bush Administration has said that it will consider any possible means, including the use of force, even strikes by the so-called tactical nuclear weapons. President Bush, calling Iran an "evil," has also said that he might consider a third world war if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons or even the "knowledge" to produce them. The American bilateral political-economic sanctions are now complemented by similar UN multilateral sanctions. The continuation of the containment policy could logically lead to future military confrontation as happened in the case of Iraq. This result could be obtained despite the fact that the US at times has engaged Iran in dialogue over matters of direct concern to Washington. The hawks in the Bush Administration argue that past containment policies designed to change Tehran's behavior have not produced the desired results. They also realize that sanctions and policies designed to change the regime in Tehran have been equally counterproductive. Thus, the Israeli nationalists in Tel Aviv and Washington, against the apparent will of the American nationalists, are forcing the Bush Administration to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities and conventional forces.

 

What the hawks conveniently ignore, despite lessons from the case of Iraq, is that while American militarism will lead to a further Israelization of the US in the region, it will not improve the national security of Israel even if it were to maintain its so-called strategic edge. A US war against Iran will heavily damage Iran; but the cost will be also colossal for the US and the region, including Israel and the "moderate" Arab states.  Furthermore, the hawks misunderstand the fact that Israel can better handle an Iran with a conventional military than a post-war Iran where unconventional radical Islamic militias dominate.  This assertion is supported by the experiences learned from the Arab-Israeli conflict and the US war against Iraq.  As long as Israel had to fight Arab conventional armies, it was assured quick victory. The exact opposite has been true in the last two decades or so when Israel has found itself fighting the Arab street armies in the form of the Palestinian intifada, Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah. It is no wonder that the Israeli national security has declined in spite of the Arab conventional armies having effectively vacated the conflict scene.  

 

When considering Iran's nuclear geopolitics, we must be also mindful of its domestic political scene. Specifically, there are two matters that need to be addressed by Iran's nuclear nemesis. First is the nationalist fervor that the nuclear successes of the regime has instilled in the population, giving the heavily demonized and insecure nation a sense of power, prestige and pride.  The second is the changing structure of political power in the Islamic Republic away from the traditional clerics to the predominantly lay military-security forces. Even more troubling is the fact that, in the Islamic Republic today, those who wield real power are not often the people who are bestowed with legal power, the result being that strategic decisions are not always made with people or institutions that are readily apparent. This transitional power structure, which includes elements of old and new powers, complicates decision making, leads to policy fuzziness, and destabilizes relations with the international community as it increases indetermination and suspicion. The nuclear debates and their outside manifestations are illustrative of the behavior pattern of this emerging political power structure.

 

Originally, in the late 1980s, when Iran began to revive its pre-revolutionary nuclear programs, there were three positions on the matter: first, to reject both nuclear energy and military capability; second, to pursue nuclear energy but not military capability; and third, to pursue nuclear energy and military capability. Earlier, those behind these positions were more apparent and transparent. However, in the course of the debate and as outside pressure began to build up and concerns for national security increased, the debate became increasingly more fuzzy as the debaters became less apparent and more protective of their positions. The fact that the debate was ignored by Iran's nuclear nemesis, who insisted on the zero enrichment option, did not help the more moderate and transparent elements. As a result, the debate has been reduced to positions two and three. Given the regional geopolitics of nuclear ambitions, the hostile climate of US/Israel-Iran relations and Iran's lonesome status in the regional identity geopolitics, Tehran will naturally want to settle with the third position.

 

However, and despite Iran's natural disposition, it is still possible to have a nuclear weapon-free Iran if Tehran were acceptably approached. It is only unfortunate that the US and its allies have taken a misguided approach toward Iran. Assuming that the Islamic regime is not interested in any deal concerning its enrichment programs, and that it will only respond to more sanctions and the threat of the use force, they have resorted to coercive diplomacy in order to change Iran's stand. Worst yet, the hawks have tended to demonize Iran and disrespect the Islamic system assuming that such an approach would provide for the climate needed to more effectively impose the gunboat diplomacy. Yet, the experience of the US-Iran spiral conflict indicates that the coercive containment policy has been ineffective and counterproductive. The same experience also shows that an incremental approach that fragments issues, offers negligible incentives, and requires tedious and long negotiations to implement will not attract the Islamic Republic. The Clinton-Albright initiative in March 2000 did not attract Iran even if it lifted some sanctions and expressed regret for past US policies toward Iran.

 

In sharp contrast, Iran has shown itself interested in deals that are comprehensive and large-scale, and which do not require a long time to implement. The 2003 Grand Bargain is a case in point; it was supported by Iran but refused by the Bush Administration. I propose a Big Push approach, not as a movement for resolving US-Iran disputes at once but as "shock therapy" that can put a large enough crack in the wall of distrust between the two governments to build confidence and save face on both sides. The requisite starting point for the Big Push is a change of tone toward a more respectful diplomatic language. This is particularly important for the Iranian side, which considers itself unjustly demonized. The US and Iran must also begin the movement by initiating a concerted diplomatic effort aimed at convincing the many stakeholders in US-Iran relations that their interests will be protected. Next, it is imperative that both sides agree to simultaneously express publically that they are prepared to normalize relations once conditions permit. They will also need to accept to engage in high-level diplomacy without any pre-conditions and with due regard for their respective regional spheres of influence. These initial steps would help establish a new paradigm of US-Iran engagement.

 

Following these initial confidence-building shock therapy, the US, in partnership with its allies, would offer Iran a considerable and well-publicized incentive package complemented with an equally significant disincentive package that initially remains undisclosed and will be activated only if the reward package were to be rejected by Iran. These big packages, part of a future grand bargain, are originally intangible, that is they are not material offers to be taken but just ideas that need to be implemented in the course of an active and constructive engagement. The main function of the packages is to help set off the Big Push required to establish a US-Iran bilateral dialogue for normalization of relations now that the "no war no peace" status quo cannot be sustained for any longer period. The reward package would at the minimum help remove Iran's sense of national, regime and energy insecurities, account for Iran's pride as a great nation, recognize the Islamic system as legitimate and rational, and assist in economic and overall development of the country. Obviously the reward package will not be seriously considered as long as the US insists on the "use of force as an option of last resort." Any idea of a war must be removed from the US policy toward Iran.

 

To satisfy Iran's pride, the US and its allies should recognize its right and need to enrich uranium within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as remove Iran's nuclear dossier from the UN Security Council and return it to the IAEA. Iran's national security requires that it is securely sheltered from the nuclear bombs in the region and beyond. Iran, isolated, needs to be also protected from the larger nations. The rising Shi'a-Sunni tension rightly concerns Iran. A regional security system along with arrangements that will put a lid on further nuclear weaponization in the region can help with this requirement. In the longer term, the best guarantee will be to make the greater Middle East into a nuclear free zone. Iran's energy security will require that sanctions on Iran's oil and gas sector are lifted and that the nation receives international support and technological assistance to develop capabilities for production of nuclear energy in the long-term. The Islamic regime's security is more complicated in that the immediate threat is external while in the longer term its survival will depend on its ability to reform the theocracy. The US should recognize the Islamic system's legitimacy, remove the regime from its list of terrorist nations and do away with its regime change policy.

 

In return, Iran should consent: (1) to halt its enrichment activities for a set period, fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and ratify its Additional Protocol, and restart its enrichment programs at the end of the specified period or after it reaches an agreement with its nuclear nemesis for a fully verifiable enrichment for civilian use - whichever comes first; (2) to remove all support for the anti-Israeli and anti-American groups in the region (Iraq and the Occupied Territories included), and officially accept the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; and (3) to allow for free and fair elections in the country beginning with the 2009 Iranian presidential elections. These and other auxiliary compromises that might be demanded from Iran and its nuclear nemesis should be attractive to many of the stakeholders in US-Iran relations. These include Israel, the US, the EU governments, Russia, China, the Arab states, the Iranian people, and the Islamic regime. These are costly compromises for the US and Iran to make but their cost is surely much lower than the cost of the dire alternative: economic sanctions and/or the use of military force.

 

The disincentive package will impose colossal costs on the Islamic system (and some on its imposers too) if it were to refuse the lucrative deal -- a rather remote possibility given that the Iranian people will surely demand that their government accept the reward. Most Iranians will support normalization of relations with the US, provided that their national interests and pride are preserved. Because of Iran's disadvantaged nuclear geopolitical position, the Israeli predicament with its national security, and the American quandary with its occupation of Iraq, such a deal is fast becoming strategically imperative. Besides, despite their current conflicts, Israel and the US have many common interests with Iran, including their struggle against religious extremism. The US and Iran also have common interests in stabilizing the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, attending to the rising powers of China and Russia, and managing the growing world oil deficit. Furthermore, Iran offers lucrative investment and consumer markets to a troubled US economy. History has repeatedly proven that nations have no permanent enemies or friends, but only permanent interests.

 

Now that the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has opened a small window of opportunity for direct US-Iran dialogue by determining that Iran did indeed "stop" its nuclear weapon program in 2003, the Big Push is imminent. Whether Iran ever had such a program should be immaterial to a policy that seeks to find a diplomatic solution to the current crisis. Moving forward, the US and its allies would be better off to assume that Iran has never resumed its weapon program, and that it will not resume it in the future if an attractive deal can be reached with Tehran. The NIE, along with the report by Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency to its Board of Governors on November 15, 2007, has indeed provided the best opportunity thus far for the two conservative executive branches in the US and Iran to reach a compromise solution. More significantly, it is great news that the NIE should implicitly acknowledge the central role of Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei in Iran's nuclear programs. He has often argued against negotiations with the US but seems open to respectful and equal US-Iran relations if quickly established through a major deal.

 

Finally, the need for a Big Push has been recognized by the doves in Tehran, Tel Aviv, and Washington. At the same time, the hawks in the three capitals vehemently oppose any compromise plan that would not serve their war-based interests. Yet, the resistance could be overcome in the wake of the 2007 NIE if only the doves would offer visionary ideas and courageously enlist the support of their peace-loving public. In Iran, the chance for a turn toward a more pragmatic nuclear policy is good even though the division between the pro-normalization and brinkmanship camps is quite pronounced.  In a recent article, I have explained their positions and relative strengths as well as the conditions for the victory of one or the other camp (http://www.payvand.com/news/07/may/1338.html). While both groups insist on Iran's inalienable right to enrich uranium, the normalizers seek compromise as the brinkmen are looking for a major deal to modify their nuclear capability-building policy. It is the latter group that the US will have to deal with in the foreseeable future.

 

About the author: Hooshang Amirahmadi is a Professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and President of the American Iranian Council.
www.amirahmadi.com; hooshang@amirahmadi.com

 

 

 

... Payvand News - 06/23/08 ... --



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