Friday, February 03, 2006

Should Iran be Referred to the UN Security Council?

The UN's chief nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, is calling on Iran to freeze nuclear fuel production for up to 10 years as a way of defusing the escalating confrontation between Iran and the west.
As the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency met in emergency session yesterday to debate sending the Iranian dispute to the UN security council in New York, Dr ElBaradei, the IAEA chief, said there was "no urgency" for Iran to embark on enriching uranium and said Tehran had a "window of opportunity" over the next few weeks for stepping back from a showdown with the west. (
The Guardian)

Western hypocrisy reaches unprecedented heights when it comes to Iran's nuclear program.

There is of course no reason why Iran shouldn't be allowed to pursue nuclear energy for civilian use, or military use for that matter. Although Iran categorically denies its nuclear ambitions stretch to eventually acquiring the Bomb, it's reasonable to assume this is their long term goal. But experts agree that in unsupervised conditions it would take 5 - 10 years of development for Iran to achieve that target. And then there's the small problem of delivery:
Today, Iran’s handful of inaccurate, 1,200km range Shahab-3 missiles can barely reach Israel, and have only non-nuclear conventional warheads. To say Iran somehow threatens the world is a gross lie.

And by eventually acquiring nuclear weapons, does that mean that Iran will want to use them, any more than that other rogue "nuclear state" Israel, or India and Pakistan for that matter? When was the last time Iran undertook an offensive war against another state? Let me see...
As of early 2000 a total of 187 states were Parties to the NPT. Cuba, Israel, India, and Pakistan were the only states that were not members of the NPT.

Really, think about it, what do you get for developing nuclear weapons and not being a signatory to the NPT, like Israel, Pakistan and India? A pat on the back and a membership card of the nuclear club.

Wouldn't Iran's nuclear capability restore the nuclear balance with its arch enemy Israel, in a Devil's pact of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), Cold War style? For over 40 years that was the official NATO-Warsaw pact doctrine but somehow that can't apply to the Israel/Iran situation.

The argument that Iran has publicly declared to want to wipe Israel of the map is also a non-starter: such threats have been retracted just as often. Besides, if anyone has the capability to reduce Tehran to a pile of smouldering radioactive rubble, it's Israel: they have the nukes and IBMs to deliver them. Calls for nuking Iran back to a radioactive form of the Stone Age are rife amongst conservative bloggers for instance.

And is it so hard to understand that Iran's population shows a nationalistic knee-jerk reaction when it comes to defending their right to civilian nuclear activity when this country is
effectively surrounded by countries that have been occupied by US/UK troops (Iraq and Afghanistan) or Western allies (India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia)? In fact it is surrounded by states armed with nuclear weapons: Israel, Pakistan, India and Russia...

The UK is soon to embark on a mightily expensive process to upgrade its nuclear arsenal to state of the art post-Cold War status. Should any nation in the world protest this, we would see an equally nationalistic "hands-off-our-nukes" reaction in our own country.

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5 Comments:

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Once Iran has nuclear capabilities, will it use them? Will it attack Israel? Will it attack the West? Will it provide terrorists with nukes?

Nobody knows for sure. But better safe than sorry.

And by the way, the world being against Iranian nukes isn't hypocricy. It is almost every country's national security interest to have an Iran without "nukilar" capabilities.

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"It is almost every country's national security interest to have an Iran without "nukilar" capabilities."

That may be so but it ain't going to happen: the nuclear genie has been out of the bottle for too long to try and get it back in.

Why on Earth would I trust Israel any more with nukes than Iran. Do try and explain it to me. Honestly, I'm interested...

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

"Why on Earth would I trust Israel any more with nukes than Iran. Do try and explain it to me. Honestly, I'm interested..."

For one thing, we've had WMD's (nukes, chemical and biological weapons) for decades now and haven't used them. At the same time, Syria and Iraq used chemical weapons, and there are conflicting reports regarding whether or not Iran used them too in the Iran-Iraq war.

Another reason seems obvious to me but I know you don't accept it: Israel is a democracy and Iran is an authoritarian theocracy with very few democratic elements.

 
At 2:26 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"For one thing, we've had WMD's (nukes, chemical and biological weapons) for decades now and haven't used them. At the same time, Syria and Iraq used chemical weapons, and there are conflicting reports regarding whether or not Iran used them too in the Iran-Iraq war."

Just like any country that has WMDs Israel will use them if it feels it is justified to do so, otherwise there is no point in having them.

As a deterrent they're only effective if the threat to use them is backed by capability and resolve: empty threats aren't threats.

What you're referring to is a "no-first-strike" policy (has Israel made such a declaration? No, it's nuclear arsenal itself remains undeclared).

In the same way I'm convinced a nuclear Iran would not resort to a first strike either, as it would lead to its own guaranteed destruction.

Iran's nuclear ambitions must bee seen also in the light of National pride and prestige. Acquiring nuclear capability does create a strong boost of national identity. The sense of a people to choose self-determination is part of the nuclear desire, as it was for India and Pakistan.

"Another reason seems obvious to me but I know you don't accept it: Israel is a democracy and Iran is an authoritarian theocracy with very few democratic elements."

You've shown in the past to have a very blinkered view of Iran's brand of democracy, by simply branding it a theocracy.

As regards Israel's democracy, many in the West would be abhorred to have a succession of Prime Ministers, nearly all of which are Generals in the IDF.

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Debating how democratic Iran is seems quite fruitless to me. We've discussed it already - let's just agree to disagree.

"As regards Israel's democracy, many in the West would be abhorred to have a succession of Prime Ministers, nearly all of which are Generals in the IDF."

First of all, of the 11 prime ministers we've had, only 3 have been generals - Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon. Second of all, it doesn't mean we're less democratic if retired generals get elected to be Knesset members or prime ministers. Voters get them into office, not military coups.

I myself don't like having all these generals in Israeli politics, but it's their right to run for office when they are out of uniform. I'm happy that in this election - none of the three candidates for PM are former generals. I believe Netanyahu and Peretz were captains and the leading candidate, Olmert, was just a sgt.

"What you're referring to is a "no-first-strike" policy (has Israel made such a declaration? No, it's nuclear arsenal itself remains undeclared)."

Israel doesn't have a no-first-strike policy. It can strike pre-emptively if there will be an eminent threat - a last resort policy. I don't trust Iran will only use its nukes as a last resort.

"Iran's nuclear ambitions must bee seen also in the light of National pride and prestige."

Right, part of it is about national pride (which is why not only Islamists but reformers support the nuclear program). This fact doesn't contradict the need to keep nukes out of Iran's hands.

This post, where I quote an op-ed from Haaretz, is a good follow-up to this discussion.

 

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