IRAN NEEDS TIME TO ACCELERATE ITS NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY
By Safa Haeri
PARIS, 19 Sept. (IPS)
"What the Iranian regime needs above all is to gain enough time to explode its first atomic bomb in order to place the international community in face of a fait accompli", according to a prominent Iranian political dissident.
Dr. Qasem Sholeh Sadi, a respected lawyer and scholar made the comment as the ruling Iranian ayatollahs remain sharply divided as how to answer to demands from the United Nations nuclear energy watchdog to disclose all its atomic programs and stop uranium enriching activities.
In his opinion, the regime needs time to accelerate its nuclear technology. "If, for instance, it could proceed to an atomic explosion, then it has to be accepted as a nuclear power, regardless of sanctions it might face, as seen in the case of Pakistan. Whether one likes it or not, the world would have no other choice but to accept the fait accompli", he explained.
In a resolution formulated by Australia, Canada and Japan on 12 September and approved without vote taking, the Board of Directors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urged the Islamic Republic to sign "immediately and unconditionally" the additional Protocols to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) before 31 of October and inform the Agency about all its nuclear projects and facilities, including its secret uranium enriching plants.
So far, Tehran has not responded to the demands, arguing that the 35-members Board, under pressures from the United States and some of its European allies like Britain, France and Germany, has made a "political" decision.
Washington and Israel alleges that ongoing Iranian project of building an atomic powered electrical plant at Boosheher, on the Persian Gulf with the help of Russia is a "cover" for making an atomic bomb, a claim strongly rejected by both Tehran and Moscow.
Experts from IAEA, for their part, have reported the existence of secret sites where Iranians are busy enriching uranium, a process necessary for nuclear explosion.
The Resolution infuriated the Iranian clerical leadership and in the absence of any official decision, the press, both conservative and reformist, have reacted strongly, urging the authorities to expel the ambassadors of the three countries that originated the Resolution, to revise relations with IAEA and get out of the NPT.
With the leadership undecided on what to do, some experts have suggested to put the decision to a popular vote.
To this question, put to him on Friday by the Persian service of Radio France International, Mr. Sholeh Sadi said though constitutionally the authorities could revert to this solution, but whatever the answer, it would solve nothing since either way it chose is a "dead end".
"The difficulty is not with referendum, but the Resolution. If Iran bows and signs the Protocols, it opens the road for unconditional, unrestricted inspections by the IAEAs experts. They can go anywhere, inspect everything, as they did in Iraq, where they even inspected Saddams bedroom. The same scenario would await Iran. Not only it loses its sovereignty, but also face sanctions by (the United Nations) Security Council", Mr. Sholeh Sadi observed, adding: "And if they dont sign, they would accelerate the process of sanctions".
Reminding that the Islamic Republic is facing an international consensus, Mr. Sholeh Sadi, who spent 40 days in prison last August on charges of having questioned Ayatollah Ali Khamenehis religious and political credetials, said the ruling conservatives would welcome a "foreign enemy" in order to "mobilize" their forces.
"Having in mind the bitter experience of the last city councils elections and afraid to see the desertion of the voters repeated at the forthcoming Majles elections (due on 21 February 2004), an exercise that would diminish further the legitimacy of the regime, an international showdown and a foreign enemy, both realities, not only can help the conservatives to prepare a mobilization, but also give them the time factor that they need above everything", he pointed out.
"Furthermore, we are also at the beginning of American presidential elections. Here again, the time factor might help the Iranian in the eventual case that the White House is controlled by the Democrats who, anyway, have their different methods than that of the Republicans, improving the future situation of Iran", observed Mr. Sholeh Sadi, a founder and spokesman for the "Iranian For Democracy Party" that is in the process of being formed.
When told that the other side might do the same calculation and not provide the Islamic regime with the time factor, he said dealing (attacking) Iran is not that easy. "It took (the Allied) more than a year of preparation for (attacking) Iraq. Even though Iran is under international pressures and in some ways, its situation might be worse of that of Iraq, yet, it would take months, if not years, before all preparations are complete". ENDS. IAEA IRAN 19903 http://www.iran-press-service.com/