Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nuclear issue over Iran - another attempt at dialogue

The nuclear ambitions of Iran well known, and the attempts by some of the significant world powers to stop these nuclear efforts (mostly in a futile effort) are also well known by now. Iran has most likely done the calculation that it will be able to pursue its nuclear quest through a measure of playing one country against another along with a dogged determination to go the full path. Further, given the difficult power structure of Iran where the Supreme Leader and the President both represent power centers, it is hard to figure out who is fully in command (although it is believed that in any decision making, the Supreme Leader will prevail; but the recent political chaos also showed that the President has cultivated the Revolutionary Guards and the military to get more power). Iran also believes that the only way for it to project itself as the natural leader of the region is to get nuclear weapons (especially since its given enemy, Israel, has nuclear weapons and advanced delivery systems). Iran also stands alone politically in the region (except for Iraq), since the other countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, etc, all are more or less against Iran (they are all Sunni countries while Iran is a Shia dominated country).
And yet, the countries interacting with Iran over its nuclear stance (primarily the countries in the UN Security Council) are unable to make a decision on how to proceed. Iran has always had the stance that it is using nuclear energy for purposes of generating an alternative to fossil fuels for electricity, a stand that other countries refuse to buy, and yet this must be one of the longest running attempts to have a discussion (link to article):

The U.S. and European Union called for a meeting with Iran to discuss stalled nuclear talks, brushing aside the Persian Gulf country’s failure to mention the dispute over its atomic program in a proposal for negotiations. The EU request for a meeting came in response to the Iranian plan to tie any discussion of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East to talks on the future of the Palestinian people and changes in the structure of the United Nations Security Council.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki presented a five-page document to China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S. in Tehran on Sept. 9. The proposals are a response to Western concern about the atomic work, said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies allegations by the U.S. and major allies that Iran’s nuclear-power development is cover for the production of weapons. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told worshippers in Tehran yesterday that Iran must “stand firm” in the nuclear dispute, saying it has the right to the technology, Agence France-Presse reported.

The members of the Security Council and the EU have not been able to come to an agreement about how to deal with Iran, given that Russia and China have not agreed with the western position. And of course, there is widespread problems even in the US, and the EU about trying to move ahead with a military and hard decision. For India, having another unstable nuclear armed nation in the neighborhood is something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 3:07 AM