The nuclear issue has dominated the relationship of the west with Iran over the past several years. The issue is still unresolved and it threatens to get worse and lead to military confrontation. Many Iranians find themselves torn in between siding with either. Siding with the west means siding with an obviously hypocritical unjustifiable position against Iranian sense of nationalism and pride.
Siding with the Islamic Republic means siding with a tyrannical regime that is severely oppressing Iranians. What is one to do? I believe there is a solution that all individual Iranians and Iranian organization striving for freedom for Iran and Iranians should campaign for. This is the proposal that should be on the negotiating table. The fact that such an obvious solution has not been widely and lucidly pressed for is unfortunate.
The position of the west spear headed by the US is that they will not allow Iran to reach a point where it has the ability to build an atomic bomb.
This has not always been the explicit position of the west but it has always been its implicit position. What they explicitly have stated has shifted since the beginning of the crisis to its current form as they have failed to win in their more justifiable positions.
The position of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been that they do not want the nuclear bomb but it is their right under the NPT and international law to mine and enrich their own uranium for peaceful purposes.
Both sides are entrenched in their positions and this drawn out crisis continues to worsen. The reason that these positions have been unshakable for either side is that they have motives and serve purposes far greater than their stated objectives. If there weren’t other motives, why would the US or the west care if Iran enriched uranium under the safeguard measures of NPT that Iran has already accepted? And this is at a time when the whole world is calling for new nuclear plants all over the world to alleviate the global warming problem! It is an utterly impossible position unless there are ulterior motivations.
On the flip side, with inexhaustible natural gas sources for at least 75 years, why on earth is Iran interested in industrial scale enrichment for nuclear power production at many times the production cost?
For the west and in particular the US, the real driving force is Israel. To be precise, it is Israeli conservatives and their Zionist supporters in the west. I will refer to them as Israel from hereon. It is Israel that does not want even the possibility of a nuclear Iran. They were against the nuclear ambitions of the Shah, a friend of the west and the state of Israel, and worked to undermine it. How do you think they feel about the situation now?
In addition to using their vast lobbying resources in the US and other western nations, they are pressuring the west and indeed the world that should the west not resolve the situation to their satisfaction then Israel is ready to attack Iran at any cost, knowing full well that the price of such an attack is nearly unbearable for the US, the west, and many other nations, in the ensuing chaos in oil markets and in the prospects of messy turmoil throughout the Islamic world.
For the Islamic Republic, or more accurately the Revolutionary Guard wing and their ultra conservative allies, the nuclear issue has become the nucleus around which they have consolidated their power. They have used the nuclear issue to stir up nationalistic fervor on their side to justify greater central power at the expense of even the miniscule freedom that was gaining ground with the reform movement. They have used it to drive a wedge between the west, framed as the unjust oppressors of Iranians, and Iranian nationalism to present themselves as the true Iranian patriots. It may be that many Iranians have not fallen for this ploy but sufficient numbers to help the ultra conservatives consolidate power have.
The side more eager to resolve the situation, the west, has put forth progressively more generous proposals. The proposals have all centered on mechanisms to prevent Iran from obtaining the expertise and industrial scale for enrichment. The Islamic Republic has rejected these. They have gladly done so as the proposals and their rejection serve the real objective of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Such proposals are absolutely and obviously unjust and frame the west as imperial oppressive powers.
Why on earth should the west wish to keep enrichment to itself and prevent Iran from achieving it, even for peaceful purposes? If you press conservatives in the west on this issue they do provide the only possible morally defendable reason that there could be, that the Islamic Republic is not a state based on freedom and that they do not trust such a fascist tyrannical regime. This is indeed a valid ethical and moral position.
Iran’s nuclear program is not a national program but it is under the iron-clad control of a terrorist militant organization, the Revolutionary Guards or Sepah. Note that the Sepah is indeed a terrorist organization not so much for its activities abroad but for its terrorizing of tens of millions of Iranian people. Such a terrorist military organization is not trustworthy as their record of constantly breaching international agreements proves. The Sepah may very well behave destructively against the interests of the Iran nation. The strongest safeguard against the abuse of nuclear technology is the expectation of the natural behavior of a nation to preserve its own interests.
Therefore, it is absolutely reasonable to place limitations on such an organization and a regime that is based on such an organization, unless such a regime implements major reforms. What should be on the table is that indeed Iran can enrich uranium under the NPT inspection regime but only if the regime implements certain major reforms to establish that the nuclear program and the regime safeguarding it are a national and not an exclusive program and organization.
While there are many legal and diplomatic issues associated with such a proposal they are not insurmountable as long as the political will exists. This is what Iranians who wish for freedom for Iran and Iranians should have been and should be pressing for. Even if such a proposal is not fully developed or if it is rejected by the Islamic Republic, as is initially expected, the mere publicity of such a proposal blunts the ability of the Islamic Republic to use the nuclear issue as a tool to consolidate its power as it has.
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