[DEBATE] : The Bomb: Tehran Has Won
mfleshman at aol.com
mfleshman at aol.com
Wed Apr 12 19:40:16 BST 2006
And the Bushies' bloodymindedness and arrogance helped considerably.
See the excerpt, below, from the March/April edition of that most
mainstream of imperialist periodicals, Foreign Affairs magazine.
Tehran has won
The Guardian UK
April 12, 2006 04:03 PM
For years, Israeli foreign and defence ministers have been predicting
that Iran would be at the "point of no return" within six months. Time
would pass and nothing would happen. But on Tuesday the Israeli
predictions finally came true: Iran joined the nuclear club by
In its confrontation with the West, Iran now holds almost all aces.
Short of a military invasion, which is not feasible, there is nothing
the US, Israel or Europe can do to stop Iran gaining a nuclear weapon.
The US or Israel could launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear
plants, but at best this would delay Iran's nuclear programme, not stop
it. Iran now has the knowledge it needs, and that cannot be reversed.
There are caveats - Iran still has to master the use of cascades - but
the biggest technical hurdle has been removed.
Analysts like Gary Samore, vicepresident of the Chicago-based MacArthur
Foundation and author of a detailed report on Iran's nuclear strategy,
estimates Tehran could have a nuclear weapon capability within three to
five years. Mark Fitzpatrick, a specialist on proliferation at the
London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and author
of a recent report on Iran's strategic weapons, estimates five years.
Five years is a relatively short period in international relations, and
Iran could go all-out from this week to speed up its nuclear programme,
determined to secure a nuclear bomb as quickly as possible. There would
be an advantage in doing so. Iran's power has already grown since the
Iraq war, with the spread of Tehran's influence in southern Iraq; the
bomb would make Iran the predominant power in its immediate
One option available to Iran over the next few weeks would be to go
back to negotiations with the Europeans or Russia or the UN. Tehran
could keep such talks going until a suitable moment, such as the final
year of a Bush administration when the US is focused on the
presidential election, and then restart its uranium enrichment
But in reality, there is no need for Iran to delay. This is the perfect
time for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to make a push for the bomb, given that
the US is weakened by its involvement in Iraq. And once Iran has the
bomb, it will be secure from a US attack.
The US could push for sanctions against Iran. But blanket sanctions
have been discredited by their punitive impact on the Iraqi population
during Saddam Hussein's rule. Selective sanctions against the
leadership would make life a little harder for Ahmadinejad and his
colleagues, but the inconvenience might be outweighed by an increase in
domestic support, as at least some of the Iranian population would show
solidarity in the face of external pressure.
There is not much the west can do. It is good that western diplomats
try to stop the Iranians. But if the diplomats are sensible, they
should be devoting at least as much time to planning for a world in
which Iran becomes the first middle eastern nation other than Israel to
have the bomb.
From: Foreign Affairs: March/April 2003
"Instead of trying to make nuclear weapons anathema, the [Bush
Administration] hawks prefer to focus on "enforcement." In the new
strategy's words, "We will hold countries responsible for complying
with their commitments." This is welcome; enforcement of
nonproliferation regimes should indeed be strengthened. Yet the
administration does not seem to recognize that it is easier to make
others comply with their commitments if you comply with yours, both
within treaties and across them. The United States does not, in fact,
comply with important commitments it has made under the NPT, such as
the promise to move toward giving up its weapons, and Washington
clearly has no intention of doing so.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty represents the single clearest and
most immediate commitment the nuclear weapons states have made to
fulfill their disarmament obligations under the NPT. "We're not for
that," a Bush administration official says. How about the "unequivocal
undertaking" to eliminate all nuclear arsenals? "We're not for that,
either," the official says. Indeed, the White House's new
counterproliferation strategy does not mention any nuclear weapons
state obligations or commitments to reverse the salience, size, and
modernization of nuclear arsenals, beyond urging negotiation of a ban
on further fissile-material production "that advances U.S. security
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