This past week I was amused most by the complete absence of haya (shame) in Iran's self-congratulatory attainment of uranium enrichment. Bravo, the sons and daughters of the Resolute Nation allegedly have accomplished in laboratory conditions something that will take years to perfect as useful fuel in a nuclear reactor.
The day the Bushehr power station begins operating with Iranian enriched uranium and does not sputter will be the day for celebration. The present bravado is misplaced and certainly premature. The achievement is no greater than the time when in my youth we thought that Iranian future in space was well on it way because the Shah Pasand Vegetable Oil Company had installed mock rockets along some of Tehran's highways!
I suppose arezou bar javanan ayb nist (do not begrudge the youth their dreams), but bisharmi should have limits and none was observed last week in Tehran. Announcing that Iran has broken the elephant's privates (a measure of accomplishing the unattainable), the president of the IRI stood short struggling to get past the height of the podium to declare to the world that Israel will disappear.
Obviously nobody told this luminary that with becoming a nuclear country also comes enormous responsibility — the most important of which is to ensure that you do not harm your own by striking at an adversary who can in a second strike annihilate you and your nation (sorry, umma). If the former president Hashemi-Rafsanjani could break the news first of this development, it should also tell you that he has been in the loop for a long time, regardless of his present position with the government.
In making his misguided pronouncements, the president of the IRI stood against a background covered with a blue curtain, reminiscent of Iran's parcham-e saltanati (Royal Standard), marked by images of kabutar-e solh (white doves — birds of peace)! In my line of work, “blue sky” is the designation for securities laws and regulations that compel transparency and disclosure.
Exactly what part of Iran's 18 years of clandestine nuclear program has been transparent enough to merit association with blue skies? Exactly what part of the IRI's diatribe against Israel, a member state of the United Nations, is peaceful to deserve the association of the IRI with birds of peace? Of course, everyone knows by now that the birds of peace are symbols of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program!
On the blue drape I also read the phrase “Atomic Energy is Our Certain Right.” The phrase is an illiterate botched up version of the phrase “inalienable right” of every country to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. “Certain” does not mean inalienable, and inalienable does not mean certain. Interestingly, the American Declaration of Independence is the first document which spoke of “inalienable rights.”
Inalienable or not, one thing is certain — this right comes with a duty, the duty not to divert for military use the technology and materials that one imports from nuclear technology exporting countries under the NPT. Here is the rub — the bulk of Iran's nuke-tech was imported apparently from countries not member of the NPT, including Pakistan, and persons dealing in the black market. So if Iran puts those imports to militarily use, will NPT still apply?
But then haya is not a legal concept; it is a moral imperative.
Guive Mirfendereski is a professorial lecturer in international relations and law and is the principal artisan at trapworks.com. Born in Tehran in 1952, he is a graduate of Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences (BA), Tufts University's Fletcher School (PhD, MALD, MA) and Boston College Law School (JD). He is the author of A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea >>> Features in iranian.com