Monday, October 31, 2005

* Iran's Nuclear Case: One Step to the UN Security Council

First draft October 30, 2005

Iran’s Nuclear Case:
One Step to the UN Security Council

Ali-Asghar Kazemi
October 2005

Keywords: Iran’s nuclear case, IAEA resolution on Iran, Iran’s new president’s statement on Israel, UN Security Council, Nuclear proliferation.

“He who learns not from past experiences, is condemned to repeat past mistakes”

Less than four months since new conservative government is in power in Iran and during this rather short period of time it has made more gaffes than any other administrations in the lifespan of the Islamic regime in Iran. Some of these blunders are truly susceptible to drag the whole nation into a serious crisis situation and jeopardize national interests and even the very existence of the religious regime.

After the much publicized presidential elections in Iran and the dubious circumstances which led to the coming into power of a hard-line inexperienced person as president, the amazing outcome of the ballot boxes was somehow welcome by naïve optimists, including this author[1]. It was hoped that upon the failure of the reformist government to cope with corruption, inflation, favoritism and other social evils, this humble and devoted man will embark in a serious battle to shore up justice, compassion, meritocracy and the rule of law inside the country and promote respect for international law and breakthrough the barriers that impeded the previous government for building confidence and establishing good relations with outside.

The latest provocative blunder of the new president, regarding the total annihilation of the state of Israel from the surface of the earth, which rose widespread reactions of the international community, leads one to believe that indeed the new president has become a liability for the nation. The question now is whether this seemingly purposeful gaffe is prone to further isolation of Iran and expedites the referral of its much debated nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council for eventual sanctions?

It is believed that never before in recent history of the UN any responsible statesman, elected into high political office of a country, has said such a provoking statement in total contradiction with the United Nations Charter, against another member state of the UN and international community. The unfortunate thing is that other statesmen of the high political apparatus in Iran did naught to attenuate the hostile tone of the blunder and thus their silence proved some kind of overall acquiescence to the matter.

Indeed, one thing that Iranian decision makers should have avoided at this very critical juncture, was giving a hostile signal to the international community at a time when the nuclear dossier is being assessed for referral to the Security Council. Unfortunately, the president’s statement at a seminar named “A world without Zionism” in Tehran, a day before the state’s organized rally against Israel, on the last Friday of Ramadan; pave the way for the unexpected occurrence. That is the shaping of an undesired consensus that the Islamic regime is in fact up to something in its nuclear venture and is becoming a real threat to the Middle East and international stability.

How can we assess Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement as a supposedly responsible office-holder, whose official position obligates him to act and talk according to the prevailing norms of international relations? There could be several answers to this question:

-He did not really mean what he said for a group of deeply dedicated and zealous people in a rather politico-ideological gathering for the purpose of encouraging them to participate in Qods-Day rally,
-He did not realize that as a president, his public statements for domestic consumption would be propagated throughout the world in a matter of second,
-His inability to deal with important domestic problems and his several setbacks in handling foreign issues (including the nuclear case) pushed him to opt for a rather radical foreign policy, in order to divert public attention to outside,
-Putting this statement in the context of other positions so far taken by Mr. Ahmadinejad and the regime itself, he may in fact believes in what he said and he just exposed the stance of the Islamic government which at the beginning of the revolution took hostage American diplomats for 444 days,
-Finally one may argue, he has no political education, experience or insight and with a narrow vision of Islamic teachings, regardless of how he was elected to the office, he has not enough political maturity and his threats should not be taken seriously by the world community.

Each of the above arguments or a composition of several of them could prove true. This means that no matter what is in the back of the president’s mind, his statement did not please the international community as a whole and it would be extremely difficult for the Islamic regime to repair the extraordinary damage inflicted to the nation.

Now, after the widespread condemnations of almost all countries around the world, the UN Secretary General, the Security Council, and even Iran’s very few allies, such as Venezuela, who voted against the last IAEA resolution of September 24, 2005, the Islamic regime is much baffled about the bungle that led to this messy situation. We shall wait and see how the matter will develop until the next session of the IAEA Governing Council on November 24, 2005. Meanwhile, Iran has a very difficult task to manage the crisis with a view to avoid the worst. Otherwise, with this rather quick escalation, it is not hard to imagine that Iran’s nuclear case is almost one step away from the Security Council.

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[1] For example see: A. A. Kazemi, “Iran’s Presidential Elections: The Miracle of the Ballot Boxes” in the Middle East Academic Forum see also my article “ New Conservative Power Grip

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