Posted by: Tony Carson | 31 October, 2007

Who do you believe on Iran?

That has become the real question: who can we believe on Iran?

The US and Israel who claim Iran will have a nuclear bomb in a matter of months, a matter of days if you believe Binyamin Netanyahu.

Or everyone else who say that a bomb is a relatively distant prospect that can be avoided through meaningful and open diplomacy.

And what voice should Israel have in the discussion anyway? They acquired their nuclear capability illegally, have stockpiled obscene amounts of nuclear armaments and in the process have destabilized the Middle East. Do you want to live beside someone who bombs their neighbours, as they did last month in Syria, then denied it?

Russia makes the most amount of sense here, as they have in the past few years on most international issues. compared to the strident sabre-rattling rhetoric of the failed US Administration.

Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, says dialogue rather than punishment or talk of military action offers the best way to ease tension. It says the IAEA process should be given time to run its course.

Speaking after talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday evening, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to a transcript from his ministry:

“We encouraged the Iranian leadership to undertake further — and preferably more active — work with the IAEA to clear up those questions which have been raised by the agency with regard to the Iranian nuclear program’s past.”

Lavrov, visiting two weeks after a trip to Tehran by President Vladimir Putin, said he “underlined the importance of closing these questions as soon as possible, in order to restore trust in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s activities.”

Ahmadinejad said Iran was “determined” to continue its cooperation with the agency, the ISNA news agency said.

The full article is here:  Iran warns U.S. of “quagmire”

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Responses

  1. […] Who do you believe on Iran? « Carsons Post Who do you believe on Iran? « Carsons Post […]

  2. I don’t think Russia is any more trustworthy than the U.S. or Israel on this issue. Russia is as tied to Iran as the U.S. is to Israel. Russia may genuinely believe that the Iranians don’t intend to build nuclear weapons, but I’d say it’s also reasonable to assume that Russia doesn’t much care if they do. They’re regional allies. Plus, whatever nuclear technology the Iranians acquire legitimately is coming straight through Russia. Cha’ Ching!

    Anyway, even I’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t really listen to the U.S. on Iran (though the French getting all bellicose recently did raise an eybrow for me) but I think taking Russia’s word would be just as foolhardly, for the same reasons, in the opposite direction. Russia sees Iran as a strategic ally. In some senses, frankly, I think the Russians are more concerned with Iranian security and success than the Americans are concerned with Israeli security and success (partially, because the former is less secure than the latter, but also because the U.S. isn’t living right next door, as the Russians are).

    I’d say the truth is somewhere between the two. Somewhere between the proclamations of Israel/the U.S. and Iran/Russia. The Iranians are further along, and more interested in creating nuclear weapons than the Russians would have you believe, and not quite as far along or determined as the Americans would suggest.

    My sense is that Iran wants nuclear weapons, and they are working on it, but it’s not ALL they want (they really do want cheap nuclear energy for themselves so they can keep selling most of their oil for $90 a barrel!), and they could still be convinced to abandon their weapons program to the West’s satisfaction (probably not if somebody tries to bomb it out of them though!). I guess my own strategy would be to lean toward the American position when considering what we think the Iranians are doing, but to lean to the Russian position in terms of what to do about it. I think underestimating the Iranian desire for nukes is very dangerous, but over-reacting to that desire (and their potential to REALIZE that desire) is also dangerous; potentially, even moreso!

    I also happen to think that a nuclear armed Iran is pretty much inevitable at this point, so the West (and particularly the U.S.) needs to start addressing that reality. Threats and intimidation only work until the day Tehran announces their first successful weapons test. Since I think that’s inevitable, I think the U.S. needs to start dialing down the rhetoric NOW, and start focusing more on how they’ll deal with a nuclear armed Iran. Working to stop the Iranians from getting nukes is important, but so is preparing for the likelihood that they will. It’s kinda like climate change. Maybe we can still stop it, or reverse it’s effects, and it’s important that we do all we can. However, I think that now we also have to start worrying about the consequences of the warming, and thinking about how we’re going to live in a changed climate, and what impact it will have on our policy decisions.

    We may not want the Iranians to get nukes, but I hope somewhere someone’s got a plan for what we should do when they do!

  3. One other thing. I’m not sure it’s at all accurate to say that the Israelis built their nuclear capabilities “illegally”. Secretly, or covertly? Sure. Maybe even “underhandedly” or “sneakily”. But not, imho, “illegally”. The Israelis never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. They never agreed not to pursue nuclear weapons. They are not bound by the treaty, never have been, and have never been legally restricted from developing nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons aren’t illegal, they’re illegal for signatories of the NPT, which does not include Israel.

    It does, however, include Iran. If Iran wants to pursue nuclear weapons legally, all they need do is withdraw from the NPT (there are mechanisms for doing do, as North Korea recently did).

    So, in that sense, it’s unfair to suggest that there is a double standard in which Israel is allowed to pursue nuclear weapons, and Iran is not. Israel is allowed to pursue nuclear weapons because they never signed the treaty banning the development of nuclear weapons (this applies to India and Pakistan as well, whose nuclear programs were secret, and undesirable, but never illegal). Iran is prohibited from pursuing nuclear weapons because they signed a binding treaty saying they wouldn’t. If Iran wants to build nuclear weapons they should do so legally, like the Israelis did.

  4. I am very close to agreeing with you, but on one point I would disagree. My sense of Realpolitik tells me that Iran isn’t looking for a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

    The leadership of Iran may be bellicose toward the west, and may be arrogantly revolutionary, but they aren’t stupid. Nuclear weapons are expensive to stockpile and dangerous to keep.

    If Iran is a rational actor, and I believe it is (dispute me all you want), then seeking nuclear energy allows them to export more energy (oil and electricity) and create the foundations of a nuclear weapons programme, without creating the weapon.

    Put another way, the possibility, and possibility alone, of Iran creating a nuclear weapon increases Iranian prestige and is a plausible deterrent without the added costs, security issues, and negative image of a nuclear stockpile.

    Iran is acting perfectly rationally for nation that wants to be a regional power in the middle east. It is not in a direct arms race with any other power, so the best gain is the ability to produce nuclear power and potentially, but only potentially, create a nuclear weapon. Not to stockpile nuclear weapons. It gains too much diplomatic credit by stopping short of the final act.

  5. Sammy, I totally agree with you. Absolutely. Well said.

  6. Good arguments, Kitch, well thought out but I take two issues:

    “I guess my own strategy would be to lean toward the American position …”. What is that position? To talk up a bombing campaign against Iran like the Israeli bombing of Syria? I find that position laughable because its just purely bellicose, as Israeli solution: attack the bastard, never talk to them they can’t understand.

    I don’t accept that particularly given your point that at some time Iran (and every other country that wants one) will have the bomb.

    And on Israel, I used the term ‘illegal’ and blanched at it, thinking immoral should be the word but I left it in for this reason, the very opposite of yours: it is unconscionable to develop the bomb and have it and NOT sign on to the NPT. The fact that Israel is never tied into the nuclear discussion simply because it refuses to publically acknowledge that it has it is something only Israle could get away with. To raise the point, of course, is to be anti-Semitic and all the other crap they accuse dissenters of being.

    Israel is the central problem in the Middle East. Until it gets sorted out and confined to its own lands, there will be political termoil in the region and the US knows it.

    Look at the Karen Hughes quote on our page today.

    Far too little is made of the Israel lobby, by you, as well as others, IMO.

    Thanks for your input on this.


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