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How Is Washington Pressuring Iran?

By Hossein Ala'i; source: Iranian Diplomacy

It has been about two years since Washington launched a new round of obstructive efforts against Tehran's nuclear program, particularly against the Iranians' defiant plan to achieve nuclear fuel cycle technology.

The first phase of US efforts was the assembling and dissemination of intimidating files for academic figures involved in Iran's nuclear program, in order to create an atmosphere of psychological insecurity. With their identities disclosed to the media, Iranian nuclear scientists faced travel bans and their academic, financial, and daily affairs were restricted by foreign intelligence services.

Washington also successfully campaigned for a ban on nuclear-related study in American and European universities for Iranian students. In collaboration with European states, it also imposed limitations on companies selling sensitive technologies to Iran or involvement in its nuclear research activities. Under the pressure imposed by Americans, these companies halted their cooperation with Tehran.

A separate package was conceived at the same time to prevent cooperation between Iran and other members of the international community. Economic transactions, even if distantly related to Iran's nuclear program, or any technological affair, were blocked. Clandestine surveillance and sabotage on equipment and software Iran required for its nuclear control systems led to the infiltration of the Stuxnet (computer worm) into Iranian nuclear equipment, which Western intelligence services claim has disrupted the functioning of uranium-enriching centrifuges in the Natanz nuclear facility.

Next on the agenda was the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. This cannot be directly attributed to the US -Israel is the prime suspect- but its result was definitely favorable to Washington's interests. Unproductive investigations into the assassinations to date speak of a complicated plot.

With much deploring on the US side, nuclear negotiations that could have been an effective means toward the resolution of the row between Iran and the West have also turned into a pressure lever for the United States to urge or force Iran to halt uranium enrichment. Against a stubborn Iran, which has painstakingly achieved its nuclear technology, Americans view nuclear talks merely as a tool to achieve their own diplomatic goals. The nuclear standoff will predictably continue as grounds for the diplomatic battle between Iran and the West.

About the author: Hossein Ala'i is a strategic affairs analyst.

... Payvand News - 01/13/11 ... --

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