Iran: The Beginning of the End

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Nuclear Issue

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are beginning to cool down and governments are being setup with the wish to stabilise both countries, the U.S. administration has decided to vent its frustrations against another country in the region –” Iran. The manner by which to do this is via the claim that Iran is enriching uranium for the purpose of creating nuclear weapons, which it cannot do since it is a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty. Is this actually occurring? Many in the U.S. would say that yes it is, since the claim of the Iranians that they are enriching uranium to be used as a fuel to produce electricity for the domestic market makes little sense since the Iranians sit on a vast reserve of oil. The Iranians counter this by saying that oil is but one method by which to produce electricity and it is the sovereign right of every country to use the resources of their country at their disposal to do as they wish in the best interests of their country –” coupled to this the fact that uranium is a far more cost effective manner by which to produce electricity (also it is cleaner with fewer carbon emissions and so forth and is about 10,000 –” 20,000 times more energy effective then coal or oil) [1]. Even if one were to trust the noble intentions of the Iranians the apprehension of the Americans must be understood in the context that any sufficiently industrialised country can produce nuclear weapons within a matter of a few weeks, Japan and Germany being favourite case studies since they were both barred from possessing nuclear weapons at the end of the Second World War. So what is the truth of the matter with regards to the nuclear issue? Hassan Rowhani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator is reported to have said to the Yemeni foreign minister, Abu Bakr Abdullah Al-Kurbi, that “Fortunately, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran’s nuclear activities are meant for peaceful purposes,” [2] added to this the C.I.A.’s own assessment that Iran is not at present in possession of nuclear weapons [3] and also the IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, stating unequivocally that “Iran has no nuclear weapons program” [4] we realise that Iran is far from any nuclear weapons and the western intelligence services are trying to stop Iran from pursuing this avenue of a modern day weapons program. On the nuclear issue the E.U. (well, E3, as in Britain, Germany and France) are still trying to negotiate with Tehran and the change in leadership has not really changed their stance vis-à-vis the nuclear issue. In the Paris agreement Tehran had to produce guarantees that were objective which would ensure that the enriched nuclear materials will not be weaponised, there has not been much progress yet and they have given themselves until the end of July 2005 to reach some sort of decision [5]. Mohamed ElBaradei said in Newsweek [6] that the “The nuclear issue is the tip of the iceberg,…” and that the stalling is because Iran is trying to modernise and to that it needs to be brought out of the cold and has to repair the damage caused by International Sanctions, but it does not want to suffer the same fate of others it wants to learn expertise rather than buy it, it wants to move ahead without being tied down to foreign interests. So the nuclear issue is really a diversionary tactic par excellence it wants to normalise relationships with nation states and the only way it can do this is by mutual confidence that war is truly the last resort. Having said this I think that E.U. talks will fail as the only table to sit around and negotiate would be one with a American delegation, so the E.U. will fail only for the Americans to come along and set in motion reform for Iran so it can become a major player in the region, and normalisation of relations with Iran and making the issue of a nuclear weapons (possessing, producing, buying, selling deploying and testing) a matter of International Law by clearing up many of the treaties and statutes into one catchall treaty.

War?

America is not likely to attack to attack Iran for the following reasons; whilst attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, America relied upon indigenous elements to bolster American forces in the invasions (the Northern Alliance and the Union of Kurdistan & DPK in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively) these however would not be found in Iran which has a largely homogenous religious and ethnic population the only dissident group that exists are the Mujahideen Al-Khalq which is not representative of the Persians but are from a small enclave close to the Iraqi border who want independence from Iran to setup Arabistan since they are Arabs. Also unlike the medieval Taliban who used the rusty AK-47’s and Stinger missiles, which the Americans had given them earlier and the decaying army of Iraq, Iran has a modern army it has many weapons programs from the Shihab and Fatah ICBMs to the large, loyal, revolutionary guard which would no doubt make the Americans think twice about any misadventure into Iranian territory. At present America is fighting a losing war against insurgents in both Afghanistan and Iraq and Iran has largely kept its borders closed and turned a blind eye to the suffering of her Muslim neighbours, which has greatly helped America. Opening up Iran at present would be suicide for the Americans because she would inflame the entire region from Baghdad to Kabul with fighters who would cripple the American military machine and after the fiasco with Iraq I think America would have to go alone into any military conflict with Iran because her friends are few and far between –” as far as trust goes.

New Faces

With this in mind let us turn our attention to the recent elections in Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a man upon whom fortune has smiled rather broadly and presumptuously, he seems to be someone without a history a rather queer figure who other then being mayor of Tehran has no claim for doing anything worthy for the revolution. Truly a man out of the blue, although claims to the contrary have been forwarded from interested quarters in the west (claims that he was involved in the American Embassy’s hostage crisis [7] and in an assassination of Kurdish separatists in Vienna [8] ) have been decried as being a slur campaign by ‘Zionist’ elements in the western media. All this has led to him having an invented history that encourages the image of a hardliner which the conservatives are trying to cultivate for this political marionette. His opponent Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, was a former president, an ideal candidate for whatever side of the political spectrum you were from, he had the necessary religious qualifications so as to not represent a threat to the conservatives and was progressive enough to enter into a debate with the outside world. Many believed he had the necessary political acumen to deliver the moderates demands to the conservative guardian council, to basically deliver were Ahmedinejad’s predecessor, Mohammed Khatami, failed. However Rafsanjani has a lot of baggage behind him he was accused of being an American spy and implicated in a series of murders by Shamsolvaezin, Akbar Ganji and Syed Hajjarian [9] he is someone who is just too dirty to be backed fully by either the reformists or the conservatives, also Akbar Ganji and Ayatollah Montazeri (two victims of Rafsanjani) have made numerous statements from their prison cells that put Rafsanjani is a precarious position as a reformist candidate [10,11] –” it would seem that the Ahmadinejad was the only real alternative as Khatami is politically spent. For all the claims of his conservatism he is not a cleric like his predecessor and if history has anything to attest to the real reformists have been the ones without clerical affiliations (cf. Abu Al-Hasan Bani Sadr a former President during Khomeini’s tenure, Syed Hajjarian security and intelligence chief who some say is feeding information to the reformists) and he may yet surprise us with his policies. He spoke of having normal ties to Europe and the usual rhetoric is interspersed through more force of habit then conviction [12] and he spoke of the country’s need to unite to solve it’s many problems, although many see him as a threat and will undo all the work of Khatami’s administration it is unlikely that either the guardian council or Ahmadinejad is likely to jeopardize the relations Iran has with the outside world. Khatami renewed ties with Algeria, with Saudi and post-Saddam Iraq and is invested in Venezuela as well as looking at potentially investing in Africa [13] and having foreign investment in Iran like China [14] to undo all this would not be in accordance with the moves that Iran has made in its recent past. Ahmadinejad is going to be like Gorbachev the man who rose through the communist party ranks to become supreme leader only to undo the very system that ran the country, don’t be surprised if we hear from Ahmadinejad the cries of perestroika and glasnost and the house of cards which is the Wilayah Al-Fagih system comes crashing down.

Notes:

[1]. ‘The Future of Nuclear Energy’ by Ian Hore-Lacy, Royal College of Physicians, Adelaide 2000

[2]. ‘IAEA confirms peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities’, Peoples Daily, 12/06/05

[3]. ‘CIA Issues Nuclear Report On Iran’, Payvand, 11/24/04

[4]. ‘ElBaradei: "Iran has no nuclear weapons program", Aljazeera, 10/03/04

[5]. ‘British foreign secretary: EU proposals within framework of Iran agreements’, Ettelaat, 01/07/05

[6]. ‘Iran wants to be a major player: ElBaradei’, Newsweek, 27/06/05

[7]. ‘Don’t fall for Ahmadinejad slur campaign: Iran’, Reuters, 05/06/05

[8]. ibid.

[9]. ‘Belgian judge orders police probe of charges against Rafsanjani’, AFP, 03/02/03

[10]. ‘Ganji Demanding Unconditional Freedom’, Iran Daily, 07/04/04

[11]. ‘Profile: Iran’s dissident ayatollah’, BBC News, 01/30/03

[12]. ‘Iran wants fair, progressive ties with world: president-elect’, Tehran Times, 04/07/05

[13]. ‘Leader of Islamic Revolution: Expansion of cooperation with Africa a priority of Iran’s foreign policy’, Ettelaat, 01/07/05

[14]. ‘Chinese firm starts oil operation in southern Iran’, Ettelaat, 01/07/05

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