Monday, November 12, 2012

Iranian Perspectives on Nuclear Diplomacy

"...Regarding Israeli and Western concern about the Islamic Republic’s steadily developing capabilities to enrich uranium, Mohammad underscores thatdual purpose technology is dual purpose technology.  The Iranians cannot refrain from development simply because something can be used in a different way.  It’s like saying you can’t use a knife because it could be used to stab someone.  The Iranians, in fact, during the Iran-Iraq War, when Western regimes were giving Saddam Husayn chemical weapons to use against Iranians—and using the Security Council, by the way, to prevent Iraq from being condemned (I am a victim of those chemical weapons, and many of my friends died as a result)—the Iranians never retaliated.  Although the Iranians had all sorts of petrochemical plants and so on, they had the technology to develop chemical weapons, they didn’t…
[On the nuclear front] there’s no evidence that Iran pursued anything illegal.  Iranian enrichment right now is being used to fuel the [Tehran Research Reactor], which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients—because Western countries refused to give Iranians the fuel.  So they’re supporting cancer patients while Western regimes were taking cancer patients hostage…
The Iranians are working within the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The Iranians have that right.  And they will continue to pursue that right.  That is what makes Iran an independent country.  Iran is not Saudi Arabia, it’s not a client regime that’s aligned to the West.  The [Iranian] revolution itself was about independence…Iran does not fear the Israeli regime.  Iran has never threatened the Israeli regime.  ” 
We have long argued that Western recognition of “Iran’s rights as an independent state”—including the right to enrich uranium on its own territory—is the only workable basis for successful nuclear diplomacy with the Islamic Republic.  But that reality runs up against the preferences of some close American allies—and of all those constituencies in the United States committed to the perpetuation of Washington’s imperial approach to the Middle East.
Throughout his first term in office, President Barack Obama was unwilling to recognize Iran’s rights as an independent state—most notably with regard to uranium enrichment.  If nuclear diplomacy is to have a better chance of succeeding in his second term, Obama will have to display strategic vision, diplomatic acumen, and political courage in ways that have been almost wholly absent from his foreign policy so far. ..."

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