The deal the West could strike with Iran

Peter Jenkins, Britain’s permanent representative to the IAEA, 2001–06, argues that the West has dangerously over-reached by insisting that Iran abandon nuclear enrichment instead of merely insisting that it complies with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which permits enrichment.

For years, the Western assessment has been that Iran seeks the capability to build nuclear weapons, but has not taken a decision to produce them.

Imposing sanctions or even going to war could be a proportionate – and therefore a just – reaction to any Iranian decision to break the NPT and acquire nuclear weapons. But these measures are a disproportionate response to a state acting on its right to enrich uranium. The correct way to handle enrichment is the NPT way, namely that the process can go ahead, but only under the strictest safeguards. This embodies a principle dear to President Reagan in his later years: “trust but verify”. If ever Iran goes for nuclear weapons, the world will be united in condemning such a betrayal of trust. The West could be confident the Security Council would approve whatever steps were necessary to counter a violation of one of the most valuable global treaties.

At the moment, however, we are locked into a process of imposing ever tighter sanctions on Iran. This economic warfare has many drawbacks. It requires an exaggeration of the Iranian “threat” that fuels the scare-mongering of those who want this pressure to be a mere step on the way to war. It risks provoking retaliation, while hurting ordinary Iranians. And it risks higher oil prices that the West can ill afford. Moreover, even if Iran were unexpectedly to give way, coercion rarely delivers durable solutions. Its effect on motives is unpredictable. It can breed resentment, while restrictions can be circumvented in time.

It may be asking a lot of our leaders that they swallow their words, lower their sights and focus on a realistic target. They could do it, though, and the talks due to take place shortly in Turkey could be the setting for a change of course. What is much more likely, unhappily, is that we will continue to see a variant on the devil having the best tunes. Far too many American politicians see advantage in whipping up fear of Iran. I can almost hear them sneering that the NPT is for wimps. The odds must be that they will continue to propel the West toward yet another Gulf war. Still, nothing is inevitable.

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3 thoughts on “The deal the West could strike with Iran

  1. scottindallas

    we already rejected the Brazilian/Turkish solution. This is a problem that is intended to fester and stink for years and years.

  2. Ian Arbuckle

    Wake up, this has never had anything to do with nuclear weapons. It is about regime change, pure and simple. The European Union have become willing accomplices in a criminal, thuggish action, with the expectation of some spoils. The elites have thrown away the rule book as their capitalist model collapses…. They look more like Ali Baba and the forty thieves every day.

    The intelligence services are perfectly well aware that Iran is not building a military nuclear offensive capability and this is documented. The agencies of the US, UK, Russia, Germany and Israel, have all contributed to the latest IAEA report which has found no evidence of a military application and relies solely on “suspicion” and innuendo to cast doubt on Iran’s activities and as such has been condemned by many as a political document made purely to assuage the US’s regime change ambitions, rather than having any value in terms of evidence of a military program for the development of nuclear applications for weapons. In fact the same report confirms that “all nuclear material is accounted for and under IAEA supervision” in Iran.

    What exactly is there to negotiate with Iran? Can anyone be precise as to what would allay the suspicions of an international community who ignore their own intelligence agencies? The same author Peter Jenkins has made it quite clear that the bane of contention is weak at best in an earlierr article on the IAEA report itself : Iran, the IAEA, and Nuclear Myth-Making, (see/google : The race for Iran) “It continues to be the case that Iran refuses to apply or bring into force a “model additional protocol”. This too is something of an “own goal”, but is not illegal except in so far as the Security Council has required it of Iran under chapter VII of the UN Charter (see below). It is an “own goal” because the IAEA is only able to confirm the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities in a state if that state has brought into force an additional protocol. Iran has not applied the additional protocol since the IAEA reported its pre-2003 safeguards breaches to the Security Council (March 2006).”

    Technicalities, I’m sure, but Saddam Hussein could not allay suspicions either of weapons of mass destruction, despite inspectors concluding that there were none. It is exceedingly difficult to prove a negative, but at the end of the day it must become obvious to many that — this is not an issue of nuclear weapons or threat thereof — As in Iraq this is a question of regime change by any means, and at the root is the questions of the petrodollar and delivering a pro US Iranian regime, yet another country, together with Iraq, sitting on the largest untapped petroleum and gas reserves.

    If they don’t accept dollars for oil, then the US will have to export something real, other than endless war to the world to earn money to pay for the oil they import. Just like everyone else in the world does. That is the crux of the matter, and the secondary problem is that if the dollar takes a hit loosing its value the Saudis, who earn more dollars on their investments in Wall Street than they do from their oil, will loose confidence and join the non-dollar basket of currencies. These are the real threats to US hegemony and in their tool box the US (and Israel) are left with only the old standards; deception, and military including terrorist action. So that is the game they play.

    If the negotiation were about nuclear armament, let’s negotiate to include Pakistan a non NPT member, with a history of proliferation, now falling afoul of US military cooperation. Let’s negotiate why India, a nuclear armed non-member of NPT, is getting technology from US. And above all let’s negotiate Israel, again a proliferator having armed the apartheid government of South Africa with nuclear weapons and jointly tested them, despite a global ban on all weapons and an embargo on trade with that fascist regime at the time. Why then is the US infringing its own laws providing military aid to a nuclear rogue country. Let’s negotiate a non-nuclear Middle-East including Israel as proposed by Ahmadinejad. The obligations of Iran have been and are being fulfilled to the letter under the terms of all its international agreements. Those of the US to eliminate their stocks and reduce nuclear weapons are being abrogated. Why are there embargoes on Iran? This obviously has nothing to do with nuclear weapons.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. America is loosing its position because it cannot get out of its military hegemonic and imperialist footing which has already long passed its sell by date. The US has failed to join the 21st C. and is stuck in imperialist gunboat diplomacy with a 19th C charades of lies, deception, bribery and corruption of war-lords and puppet dictators, using torture, terrorism and false flag provocation, together with their technical advisers on yesterday’s dirty arts, the Zionists. Surely if Vietnam did not teach them, both Iraq and Afghanistan should have proved it; that there is no winning a conventional war in this new age and it does not matter how advanced one’s high tech and high cost capabilities or how big one’s aircraft carrier squadrons are. The winners in that game are the arms manufacturers, no-bid government contractors, the mercenaries, and the war profiteers. And yes it does kill millions of people and it wastes resources that could heal or educate, and it changes the subject from the real global problems of environment, climate change and structural poverty. It does make it a worse world of violence out there.

    Short term profits may provide gains for the oil companies and weapons makers, but we all loose. And too many parents loose their children.

  3. delia ruhe

    Never happen, makes too much sense. Besides, Israel is bent on war, and sooner or later Obama will have to put his money where his mouth is with respect to America’s unshakable devotion to Israel’s security. Why else does the US keep providing Israel with bunkerbusters.

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