Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How will the Iran nuclear showdown end?

Last month on this website I recommended Iran augment its current hurry-up-and-catch-up research on the obsolete nuclear technologies of the mid twentieth century, and focus on newer reactor designs. These newer reactor designs are being considered by nations who are serious about the use of nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. The reactors of the future will be far more efficient and safer in the sense that their waste falls to tolerable levels of radioactivity in a few centuries rather than the tens of thousands of years for current reactors.

For a few days last week it seemed the Europeans were offering Iran “the most advanced nuclear technologies available” in return for Iran’s abandoning its uranium enrichment program. Though equivocations began to later appear in the news, if there is the smallest chance that this hint of an offer can be made real, the enterprise would be worth the efforts of any foresighted Iranian administration. Iran has vast hydrocarbon resources, but it is to her economic advantage to export this resource than to burn it for domestic use.

However, abandoning her uranium enrichment program is not an option for Iran. Technological self sufficiency is written into the Iranian constitution. The constitution has as one of its pillars, “The attainment of self-sufficiency in scientific, technological, industrial, agricultural, and military domains, and other similar spheres.” For the Iranians who are still paying the humiliating price of technological backwardness, this article of the constitution is more important than any of the declarations of loyalty to the Islamic way of life. This is why more people in Iran are united behind her nuclear program than support the Islamic regime. Any European offer of technology must respect Iran’s constitution on this point or the deal is off. Any regime interested in staying in power in Iran must respect Iran’s constitution on this point, or its time is up.

The Europeans know this and the Islamic regime knows this. The solution will be to satisfy the self sufficiency clause of Iran’s constitution by simply limiting her uranium enrichment efforts to pure research. This way Iran will not have nuclear strike capability but if by some chance Western security guarantees fail, Iran has the option of producing a weapon as a deterrence.

There is no other logical way this deadlock can be resolved, and if there were no hidden agendas, events would be proceeding in this direction. The fact that the world is still arguing about what to do with Iran has to do with the agenda of the United States to maintain superpower control over the economies of developing countries. However, the military failure of the United States in Iraq, the waning of manufacturing in this country, and the slow erosion of faith in the legitimacy of America as a global financial authority are likely to make the US agenda less and less important to the rest of the world. Once the global perception of US power is on a par with reality, the Iran nuclear issue will be resolved peacefully and logically.


Anonymous said...

The United States is the largest consumer of other people’s value added goods and raw materials on the planet. She accommodates a rising GDP of the largest economies in the world and billions of people earn a livelihood as a result. It is American consumption and investments around the world that are providing the underpinnings of very welcomed economic growth. Without these, China, India, and Japan among many others would shrink relentlessly. Where else would they sell their goods? Who would then use all the oil and steel, the microchips and automobiles? In this economic environment, a waning of American economic power is not a likely scenario even if the foundations of the American economy have never been on such shaky ground. The United States is the largest debtor nation in the world borrowing eighty-million dollars every hour from the world’s savings to accommodate her expenditures. Her currency having long enjoyed reserve status is in peril and worst of all she appears to be more deluded about what constitutes her power and what the limits of that power are. Patrick Buchanan declared that America is a Republic not an empire, to which one should add America is the world’s most gargantuan commercial success story, but not a global ideological power. Iran on the other hand is a global ideological power. She has been one for thousands of years and her ethos it seems has never been more urgently needed in the world.
Perhaps this is why the US fears Iran so much and why more than likely US attempts to curtail Iran will ultimately fail.

Anonymous said...

One would believe from the US drive to stop Iranian progress in the nuclear technology field that there is deep rooted enmity between the US and Iran. In fact Iran has been more helpful to US interests than many so called US allies. Iran’s sale of energy to India and China provides the fuel for Asian industries that represent US investments. On an ideological level, Iranian Islam is not at odds with US corporate interests either. Iran has repeatedly invited the US to engage in commerce with Iran, but the US has always balked at such overtures by citing Iran’s opposition to Israel. Much to the dismay of American oil companies, defense contractors, and other US corporate entities, administration after administration has since 1979 navigated a course designed to keep the US from gravitating toward Iran. The crux of US foreign policy toward Iran therefore can be summed up as being driven by the interests of Israel, because both Iran and US have everything to gain from good relations. Under the circumstances of a normalized relation between Iran and the US, Israel would have much to lose by virtue of becoming a second tier vestige of the United States, having nothing to offer in return to their banker, insurance company, and arms supplier, the United States.

Iranian opposition to Israel is based mainly on two issues. The first is the issue of Israeli treatment of Palestinians and the other is the status of Jerusalem. Neither of these are insurmountable obstacles to peace if Israel musters the will to compromise on the creation of a viable Palestinian state and relinquishes its control of Jerusalem in securing the ancient city for Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. In time the bitter history and the more recent squabbles of the region will be forgotten as the necessity for a Middle East economic zone is realized. Countries in the region including Iran and Israel would reap huge benefits from such a union as each will have an interest in the others security.