"Iran Reaffirms its Goal of Controlling the Nuclear Fuel Cycle"
March 11, 2004
The Power and Interest News Report
In recent days, Iran has reaffirmed its commitment toward its goal of gaining complete control over the nuclear fuel cycle. Tehran's desire to research and control every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle required for producing nuclear energy has been hotly contested by the United States.
The aspect of Tehran's nuclear research program that has drawn the most flak is the uranium enrichment program. In order to create fuel for a nuclear reactor, it is necessary to produce low-enriched uranium. At the same time, however, high-enriched uranium can be used to create nuclear weapons. It is for this reason that the United States has made every attempt to prevent Iran from undertaking the uranium enrichment process and has attempted to forge together a coalition of states demanding that Iran only import enriched uranium, rather than produce it independently.
The political wrestling between the two states culminated in an accord signed by Tehran on October 21, 2003. The countries of Great Britain, France and Germany intervened and compromised with Iran, causing Tehran to sign an extra protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing for more intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and placing into effect a temporary halt on all uranium enrichment activities inside Iran. In exchange for these concessions, London, Paris and Berlin offered Tehran nuclear research information and greater access to modern technology.
Tehran agreed to the additional protocol not because it planned on giving up its uranium enrichment program, but because it considered signing the protocol to be the best available route toward that program. By complying with the IAEA's demands, and forging a compromise with London, Paris and Berlin, Tehran hoped to secure greater assistance from trade partners in the form of modern technology. This assistance would help Iran better understand the methods involved in all aspects of nuclear technology, including the methods of creating nuclear weapons. Outside support would also help Tehran build the necessary infrastructure to increase the country's economic and military stability -- a path that it must follow due to the regional threats it faces.
Iran's true intentions of restarting its uranium enrichment program can already be seen in the recent statements by Iranian officials. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi argued during a cabinet meeting that "it's our legitimate right to enrich uranium." Echoing statements made in October of last year, following the signing of the additional protocol to the NPT, Kharrazi continued, "We suspended uranium enrichment voluntarily and temporarily. Later, when our relations with the IAEA return to normal, we will definitely resume enrichment."
Hassan Rohani, the secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security, also made a statement, explaining how Tehran complied with the additional protocol only because it considered it the best route toward the country's goal of controlling every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle. Rohani explained that Tehran agreed to a compromise with the three European states because "the pressures applied on Iran were so great that most of the world's leading industrial nations conditioned trading with us to the signing of the protocol, as seen in the Azadegan oilfields that the Japanese refused to develop."
Also, by not compromising with the main European Union states, there would be little chance that the Europeans would be able to restrain the United States' aggressive foreign policy. Rohani admitted as much, warning that had Tehran failed to comply with the IAEA, "it would face the same fate as Iraq." Indeed, the threat that the United States poses to Iran is very real, and is one of the driving factors behind Iran's possible quest for nuclear weapons.
Washington's demonstration of power in Iraq perhaps proved to the leadership in Tehran that the threat from the United States could not be taken lightly, and that in order to prevent the United States from using force to push through political decisions affecting Iran, it would have to develop a solid deterrent force made up of nuclear weapons. Furthermore, Tehran is also aware that its future progression as a regional power will be stunted by the state of Israel, unless Tehran acquires the capability of deterring Tel Aviv. Israel, due to its support from the United States, has always remained a force for the status quo in the Middle East, working with the United States to prevent any Middle Eastern or regional contender from becoming strong enough to alter the balance of power. This strategic relationship was best seen during Tel Aviv's attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.
With these two threats in mind, Tehran is aware that if it is to have an independent foreign policy, free from the restraints of outside powers, it will need to develop nuclear weapons in order to deter against conventional attacks. While becoming nuclear-armed would not ensure its protection from attacks from the United States, Israel, or other neighbors, it would lessen the risks. In fact, the only reason that Iran would not seek nuclear weapons was if it were afforded a nuclear umbrella, similar to the way the United States shielded Western Europe under its own nuclear umbrella during the Cold War.
Iran, presently, has no such protection. The primary country willing to offer Tehran military support is the Russian Federation, but Moscow is in no position to assist Tehran in any military conflict with Washington. Therefore, the leadership in Tehran must rely on itself for its security and, in a region full of threats, it may need to develop nuclear weapons to adequately do so.
Rohani admitted as much, stating, "We want to be recognized as a member of the nuclear club, that means Iran be recognized as a country having the nuclear fuel cycle, and enriching uranium. This is very difficult for the world to accept." Rohani continued, outlining Iran's agenda, "We have two goals ahead of us that we must achieve. One is closing Iran's nuclear dossier with the IAEA and bringing the board of governors to take it out of their agenda, and the other is to have Iran recognized globally as a nuclear country."
With such outspoken policy goals, Tehran's aim of joining the nuclear club is sure to spark incessant controversy. With the United States and Israel desperately trying to preserve the balance of power in the Middle East, they will tactfully respond to each step Iran takes toward acquiring control over the nuclear fuel cycle. The only way that such persistent conflict may end is if Iran does indeed prove that it is a nuclear-armed country. The response by the United States and Israel might then be rather muted, similar to the way the world responded when China acquired nuclear weapons in 1964; rather than launch a military attack to restore the balance of power in the region, the Nixon administration at the time instead responded to Beijing with none other than a full presidential visit, giving China instant credibility in the eyes of the world.
Report Drafted By: Erich Marquardt http://pinr.com/index.php
posted on 03/12/2004 7:00:39 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Time for regime change in Tehran
March 12, 2004
It has been more than two years since President Bush pronounced Iran a charter member of the "Axis of Evil." In his 2002 State of the Union address, he told Congress that the theocratic regime in Tehran was aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons and exporting terror, "while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom."
It has been 20 months since Bush issued a statement encouraging the thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators who had taken to the streets of Iran's major cities. "The people of Iran want the same freedoms, human rights, and opportunities as people around the world," he said, promising that if Iranians moved to replace their rulers with a government committed to liberty and tolerance, "they will have no better friend than the United States of America."
It has been four months since the president articulated a "forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East." Speaking at the National Endowment for Democracy, he noted that Iranians' "demand for democracy is strong and broad," and warned: "The regime in Teheran must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy."
When it comes to the liberation of Iran, President Bush's words have been perfect. When will his administration's deeds follow suit?
The United States should long ago have made regime change in Tehran a clear-cut goal of US foreign policy. At every turn, the mullahs who rule Iran have demonstrated their enmity for everything we are trying to accomplish in the Middle East. They are determined to keep Iraq agitated and unstable, and actively work to undercut US influence there. They camouflage their avid pursuit of a nuclear bomb behind a cloud of diplomatic blue smoke, one day making a show of cooperation with Western investigators, the next day demanding that the investigations end. Iran remains the world's foremost sponsor of terror, sheltering Al Qaeda thugs within its borders and dispatching trained killers to Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
At home, meanwhile, the Iranian regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continues to prove that elections are not necessarily proof of democracy. Last month's rigged vote took a long-running soap opera -- the political struggle between Iran's Islamist hard-liners and its supposed reformers -- to a new low. Virtually all of the 5,600 candidates running for parliament were reactionary loyalists; the mullahs made sure of that by kicking more than 2,000 critics of the regime off the ballot.
This farce of an election deserves nothing but unequivocal condemnation. Washington should be seizing every opportunity to identify the Khomeinists who rule Iran as illegitimate despots, and to make the case that their downfall is essential to the repair of the Middle East. Instead, administration officials describe Iran as "a sort-of democracy" and insist that the best way to deal with the mullahs is through engagement and patient diplomacy. When Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was asked during a Congressional hearing whether it was US policy to support regime change in Iran, his answer was blunt: "No, sir."
When is Bush going to insist that the State Department start promoting his foreign policy for a change? After 25 years of Islamofascist rule in Tehran, it is sheer fantasy to believe that anything less than a clean sweep will end Tehran's hostile policies. The mullahs may occasionally alter their outward behavior for tactical reasons, observes the prolific journalist Amir Taheri, who was born and educated in Iran. "But the regime's strategy, which is aimed at driving the US out of the Middle East, destroying Israel, and replacing all Arab regimes with 'truly Islamic' ones, remains unchanged."
The Iranian government started the war we are in with an attack on the US embassy in Tehran, and the taking of 52 Americans hostage, in November 1979. In the years since, it has had a direct or indirect role in the killing or maiming of thousands of innocent victims worldwide. Every bomb that unleashes new carnage in Iraq is a reminder that our war on terrorism will not prevail unless the turbaned thugs next door are forced from power. So what is the administration waiting for?
Toppling the mullahs would not require a US invasion. The majority of Iran's 67 million people loathe their government. Many are unabashedly pro-American. If the United States explicitly called for regime change in Tehran and backed up that call with diplomatic and financial support for the pro-democracy resistance, Iranians would respond with courage and resolve. Like the festering Communist dictatorships that collapsed when the people of Eastern Europe rose against them in 1989, the corrupt Islamists in Iran can be defeated by the men and women they have oppressed for so long.
If we are going to win the war on terror, the liberation of Iran is not an option. It is a prerequisite. The Bush administration should be saying so -- and living up to its words. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/jj20040312.shtml
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