First Published: 2011-06-13

 

Changing Western Attitude and Resolution of Iranís Nuclear Issue

 

The first admission by the former European ambassadors is that they recognize that Iranís nuclear activities are consistent with international law and that there has been no diversion of nuclear activities in Iran to military purposes, notes Abolghasem Bayyenat.

 

Middle East Online

 Former ambassadors of major European powers to Tehran, led by the former head of the British diplomatic mission to Tehran, Richard Dalton, recently published a memo in some major British and American newspapers on the current status of nuclear negotiations between Iran the P-5+1 countries, which marks a break from the conventional representation of Iranís nuclear issue in the West. The memo has been written by the former European ambassadors in recognition of the failure of the current Western strategy towards Iranís nuclear issue and with a view to offering Western powers a solution to the existing deadlock in their relations with Iran.

The publication of the memo is striking not for the reason that it offers any consistent practical proposals for the resolution of the current standoff between Western powers and Iran but because it makes several rare and daring admissions, which if recognized and followed suit by a wider spectrum of Western political elites, can potentially serve as a basis for a logical solution to Iranís nuclear issue in the future.

The first admission by the former ambassadors is that they recognize that Iranís nuclear activities are consistent with international law and that there has been no diversion of nuclear activities in Iran to military purposes. The former ambassadors note ďnothing in international law or in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty forbids the enrichment of uraniumĒ and that ďthe IAEA has never uncovered in Iran any attempted diversion of nuclear material to military useĒ. The public recognition of this fact by the former European ambassadors to Tehran is praiseworthy, given that the general public in the West are systematically bombarded with contrary claims by mainstream Western media on an almost daily basis.

The former ambassadors further recognize that there is no issue from the perspective of international law with achieving a nuclear threshold status by Iran either, even if this turns out to be Iranís ultimate goal. The former ambassadors write ď Again, nothing in international law or in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty forbids such an ambition. Like Iran, several other countries are on their way to or have already reached such a threshold but have committed not to acquire nuclear weapons. Nobody seems to bother themĒ.

 In addition to questioning the conventional Western assumptions about Iranís nuclear program, the former European ambassadors also challenge some of the main practical aspects of the current Western strategy towards Iranís nuclear issue. More specifically, they denounce the goal of "zero centrifuges operating in Iran, permanently or temporarily," as unrealistic and as a key culprit for the failure of the current Western strategy towards Iranís nuclear issue. They accurately recall that ďin 2005 Iran was ready to discuss a ceiling limit for the number of its centrifuges and to maintain its rate of enrichment far below the high levels necessary for weaponsĒ, and that ďTehran also expressed its readiness to put into force the additional protocol that it had signed with the IAEA allowing intrusive inspections throughout Iran, even in non-declared sitesĒ, and blame Western unrealistic demands for the failure of those negotiations.

While doing an outstanding job of critiquing the main foundations of the current Western strategy towards Iranís nuclear issue, the memo suffers from some notable shortcomings too. The main drawback of the memo is that the former European ambassadors do not draw consistent conclusions from their own assumptions and arguments and fail to offer any genuinely different solution to Iranís nuclear issue. They note ďThe next step should be for the two sides in this conflict to ask the IAEA what additional tools it needs to monitor the Iranian nuclear program fully and provide credible assurances that all the activities connected with it are purely peaceful in intent. The agency's answer would offer a basis for the next round of pragmatic negotiations with IranĒ.

The former European ambassadors do not explain why, despite their own assumptions about Iranís nuclear program, they believe Iran still deserves a discriminatory treatment as compared to other members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If Iranís nuclear activities are consistent with international law and if there has been no diversion of nuclear material in Iran to military use, the question remains unanswered as to why Iranís nuclear activities would need additional IAEAís monitoring beyond its existing mandate.

The former ambassadors also do not discuss how to reverse the wrong course that has been taken by Western powers over the past several years towards Iranís nuclear issue. If Western strategy towards Iranís nuclear issue has been misguided over the past several years, as the former ambassadors convincingly argue, will it be possible to build a new structure with a view to resolving Iranís nuclear issue before deconstructing the existing edifice? Is it reasonable to speak of enhanced confidence-building measures by Iran while maintaining enhanced economic sanctions that have been imposed on it by the West over the past several years? While deserving credit for some of their daring and honest statements about Iranís nuclear issue, it should be clear that the former European ambassadors to Tehran would have made a more persuasive case had they answered a number of hard questions before offering any practical solutions to Iranís nuclear issue.

Abolghasem Bayyenat is an independent political analyst and a current PhD candidate of political science at an American University. He covers Iran's foreign policy developments on his weblog www.irandiplomacywatch.com.  

 

Mattis: We are not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil

Iraq forces battle their way to Mosul airport

Famine grips parts of South Sudan

Iran says Saudi, Israel working to damage country

Women named to head Saudi financial institutions

Syria army escalates shelling near Damascus ahead of talks

Coalition expects to remain in Iraq after Mosul operation ends

Egypt court hands out death sentences over football riot

Israelis optimistic on Trump despite mixed messages

Prime minister's convoy comes under fire in Libya

Four Russian military personnel killed in Syria

Prince of Poets returns to Al Raha Beach theatre

Merkel in Algiers hoping to curb Africa migrant flow

Debate on Muslim Brotherhood ban reflects battle lines in US

IS claims suicide attack by British bomber

Le Pen in Lebanon for first head of state meeting

Israeli PM sets off on Asia tour

HRW says IS jihadists raping, torturing Sunni Arab women too

Trial of 'Erdogan assassination plot' suspects opens in Turkey

Hundreds of migrants storm Morocco-Spain border

Iraq digs anti-IS trench around Ramadi

Israel's Lieberman fears Palestinians will dilute 'Jewish state'

At least 14 dead in Mogadishu car bombing

Arab leaders, Netanyahu held secret peace meeting

Obesity a major health problem in Jordan

350,000 children trapped in west Mosul

UN envoy to Syria : 'Where is the US?'

UN says aid to Sudan expected to drop

Mosul civilians divided over Iraqi army advice to 'stay home'

Iraq forces launch operation to retake west Mosul

US-led coalition praises Iraq's 'militias'

Egypt tourism shows signs of recovery

Turkey eyes strong US alliance, despite Trump splits

Former Ahmadinejad VP eyes Iran presidential bid in May

Turkey car bomb kills child, wounds 17

Russia seeks 'post-West' world order

Veteran Moroccan politician M'hamed Boucetta dies

Iran set to conduct new military drills

Viral video shows Syrian boy caught in barrel bomb attack

41 jihadists executed by rival group in Syria

Erdogan begins campaign for referendum to expand powers

Turkish shelling kills 9 in IS-held Syria town

Erdogan supporters 'increasingly demonising' 'no' voters

US backs political solution in Syria claim allies

Rare ancient busts rescued from Palmyra to be returned