U.S. Demands on Iran Lead to War
April 9, 2012
Heading into critical nuclear talks in Istanbul April 14 with Iran, the U.S. and its Western allies issued a demand that Tehran stop 20% uranium enrichment and dismantle a recently discovered underground enrichment facility near the ancient city of Qom. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has warned Iran recently “the window for diplomacy is closing.” U.S., European and Israeli officials have insisted that Iran stop enriching uranium to 20%, believed to produce the fissile material needed to build A-bombs. “After weeks of debates, Iran and the six world powers agreed to attend a first meeting in Istanbul,” said the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency. Fars also reported that Iran is prepared for a second round of talks in Baghdad, should the Istanbul talks make progress. Iran’s feisty President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized the West for “bullying” Iran.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is for “peaceful purposes,” much the same way Pakistan argued in 1999 that getting the bomb with deter its archrival India from threatening its sovereignty. President Barack Obama has already committed to preventing Iran from getting the bomb. Iran’s nuclear program started under the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi during the Eisenhower administration in the ‘50s, supported by Nixon in the late ‘60s and Ford in the mid-’70s. When the Shah was ejected from Iran in 1979 during Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei’s Islamic revolution, the U.S. stopped supporting Iran’s nuclear activities. During Reagan years there were rumors about Iran developing enough fissile material to build nuclear weapons. While more likely today, those same rumors prompt the West—especially Israel—to take a hard line on Iran’s nuclear program.
Heading to Istanbul, an unnamed U.S. official says the White House will insist that Iran close down its enrichment plant a Qom and halt all enhanced enrichment activities. Stopping “20% and closing Fordow are near-term priorities,” for the U.S. and its allies said the anonymous U.S. official. Talking tough and going in with preconditions won’t play well with Tehran, whose nuclear program has become a source of national pride. Iranian officials, a week before talks begin, have already ruled out such concessions. “We see no justification for such a request from the P5+1,” Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of Iran’s atomic energy agency told the Iranian Students News Agency. Israel, who in recent months threatened to bomb Iran nuclear facilities, insisted Iran stop enriching uranium to 20%, a precursor to weapons grade uranium. White House officials have tried to get Israel to back down.
Before the Western powers commit either the U.S. or Israel to unilateral military action against Iran, they should stop making demands prior to meeting in Istanbul. “We told our American friends, as well as the Europeans, that we would have expected the threshold for successful negotiations to be clear, namely, that the P5+1 will demand clearly that—no more enrichment to 20%,” said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. With conditions like that Istanbul will be a non-starter. Iran will likely reject any demands and pre-conditions. Speaking at Iran’s Annual Day Ahmadinejad touted Iran’s scientific [nuclear] developments. He warned Western powers that Iran would not cow to pressure or threats and continue to pursue scientific progress. If Western demands eclipse the finesse needed to eventually win Iranian concessions, then the world drifts closer to another war.
When Pakistan’s chief nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan worked feverishly against Western objections in the 1990s toward an A-bomb, the same voices warned against nuclear terrorism. After Pakistan got the bomb in 1999, Western voices died down. No one—including India—went to war against Pakistan to stop its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have already committed the U.S. to non-diplomatic actions should Tehran stubbornly resist Western demands. “The nuclear industry is like a locomotive that can carry other industries along with it. It is like the space industry that has raised tens of sub-industries under it and it is clear that we must continue on this path,” said Ahmadinejad showing no signs of backing down. Unless Western powers pivot, consider more creative diplomatic options, all bets are off in the Persian Gulf.
U.S. and Western powers need to pivot and take another path to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. While it’s difficult to stop the collision course, it’s even more difficult to manage the consequences of war in the Persian Gulf. One provocative incident could spin quickly out of control, leading to a full-scale confrontation. U.S. and world economies can’t take another oil shock that would inevitably occur if a shooting war breaks out in the Persian Gulf. “You are blind to think you can block scientific growth in Iran by martyring Iranian scientists,” said Ahamdinejad, referring to recent assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists. Before the inevitable confrontation takes place, Western powers should reconsider their strategy heading into Istanbul. Instead of unilateral demands, the U.S. should work with China and Russia, Iran’s biggest trading partners, and look for alternatives.
Home || Articles || Books || The Teflon Report || Reactions || About Discobolos
Discobolos Consulting Services, Inc.