Beyond nuclear power
America needs a fresh start with Iran
December 6, 2004
The latest agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and
the International Atomic Energy Agency, engineered and blessed
by the Britain,
France and Germany, has made one thing certain. Soon, Iran will become a nuclear
power whether the United Sates likes it or not.
And as much as the Bush Administration needs, for both ideological
and pragmatic reasons, to hate the mullah regime in Tehran, we
need a fresh start in our relations with Iran, not for the fear
of Iran's future nuclear weapons, but for reasons far more important.
The possibility of Iran having nuclear weapons is much less of
a strategic threat to America's long term interests in the Middle
East compared to the manner in which Iran will get there.
The architects of our foreign policy need not only to start preparing
for the unavoidable contingency of accommodating a nuclear Iran,
but they need to even more importantly start containing the tectonic
geopolitical forces that are helping Iran become nuclear.
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial best captured the essence
of the challenge facing the U.S. as it rightfully claimed that
the latest agreement that the three European powers doctored "did
not help stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it stopped the
U.S. from stopping Iran from getting them."
Roots of the mess that the U.S. is currently facing in Iraq and
Afghanistan can clearly be traced back to the failed pollicies
of President Carter in the late 70's that significantly facilitated
the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Ayatollahs have
not only been an ideological inspiration for radical Islamic
but have also financed and sponsored terrorist
activities across the globe much more than most people know.
Furthermore, the IRI is a regime that has summarily executed tens
of thousands of its own citizens, has no tolerance for freedom
speech or religion, and prides itself in treating women as possessions
to be owned and covered. Nonetheless, one fact remains clear.
is the most significant country in the Middle East and is vital
to the stability of the region.
With a population of 60 million,
a $500 billion GDP, having the longest border on the Persian Gulf
and being the only Persian-speaking
country in the Middle East that has historically counterbalanced
Pan-Arabism, Iran's geopolitical importance goes far beyond her
oil and natural gas reserves. Regrettably, for the last 25 years,
all U.S. administrations have failed to realize that others will
fill the political and the economic vacuum created by Americans
in abandoning relations with Iran.
Iran recently signed a $100 billion economic agreement with China.
European companies are importing over $20 billion of merchandise
to Iran's fertile markets. In the past, many of Iran's brightest
technical minds attended MIT and Stanford. These days they
are attending universities in Europe and Canada, even some
Only a couple
of generations ago, the majority of Iranian intellectuals and
technocrats were French-educated and some spoke German as well.
Few, if any, had any familiarity with the English language.
As fashionable and convenient it
may be to have Iran as the focus of American hatred,
Washington's current course of action towards Iran will only lead
to a deterioration of U.S. influence in the
In evaluating our relations with Iran, in the context of other
countries involvement in the region, we need to remember Winston
Churchill's famous words that, "Nations have neither friends
nor enemies. They simply have economic interests. At times, they
coincide, sometimes, they don't".
We need a fresh start with Iran. Hopefully, it will be a positive
one. But if it's not feasible, an outright confrontation
may be better than our current course which is like an absentee
landlord delegating the protection of America's long term interests
turning a blind eye to the ever-increasing Chinese influence in
A point needs to be made clear to our European "allies".
As America is losing her bravest sons and daughters in Afghanistan
and Iraq, a historic "sneaking in" by the "old Europe" in
Iran, in concert with China will not be tolerated by the United
When it comes to Iran, America has a lot more to be concerned
about than the possibility of a few nuclear weapons.