Saturday, September 26, 2009

Iran’s Adherence to Nuclear Ambition




Iran shows no sign of abolishing its nuclear program. At the General Assembly of the United Nations held in New York the other day, the nuclear negotiation with Iran is one of the key issues on global security. In June this year, Iran was criticized from the global community for fraud in the presidential election. Shortly after the turmoil, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a panel discussion on Iran on June 23, as shown in the above video. Regarding the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) nuclear talk, Roger Cohen, Columnist of the New York Times, says that both Russia and China are reluctant to undermine their relations with Iran, and therefore, he is pessimistic with multilateral talks.

Actually, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed that Iran has built the second uranium enrichment facilities secretly, at the press conference of the United Nations General Assembly. The plant is expected to be located near Qom, and unlike the first plant in Natanz, it is too small for commercial use but adequately sized to produce weapons grade enriched uranium. At G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, along with US President Barack Obanma, condemned it a deception to the global community. Iran’s nuclear ambition has become more imminent threat than ever (“U.S. and Allies Warn Iran over Nuclear ‘Deception’”; New York Times; September 25, 2009).

The problem is beyond a hardliner President Ahmadinejad. Karim Sadjapour, Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focuses on the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to explore the nature of current regime of Iran, and its implication to the nuclear issue. According to his report, the nuclear program is the key to pursue revolutionary virtues of foreign policy. Khamenei regards nuclear project as a symbol of scientific advancement, which will lead Iran to become self sufficient and politically independent, and bolster Iran’s national esteem on the global stage(”Reading Khamenei: The World View of Iran’s Most Powerful Leader”; Carnegie Endowment Report; March 2008; p.27~28). Therefore, it is quite unlikely that P5+1 reach an agreement with Iran immediately.

In an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, George Perkovich, Vice President at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, suggested the following to negotiate with adamant Iran. First, Perkovich insisted on getting the issue to the Security Council, because Asian members would criticize Iran for going too far, and they would dissuade it from pursuing further researches for nuclear bombs. In addition, he urged President Obama to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, in order to demonstrate his willingness to stop nuclear arms race (“No Signs of Iranian Flexibility on Nuclear Program”; Council on Foreign Relations Interview; September 2, 2009). Unfortunately, the first proposal has failed to work, as President Ahmadinejad revealed the secret plan at UN press conference.

Prior to the UN assembly and the P5+1 negotiation on October 1, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed no intention of halting the uranium enrichment project (“As Talks with U.S. Near, Iran Denies Nuclear Arms Effort”; Washington Post; September 21, 2009).

John Hannah, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Former National Security Advisor to Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, argues that President Obama make use of his popularity among Iranian citizens standing up against the fraud presidential election this June, and show his endorsement to them to pressure the theocratic regime to move forward on the nuclear talk (“Call Them Out, Mr. President”; Weekly Standard; September 21, 2009).

Hannah’s suggestion seems to be of much help in dealing with adamant theocrats, ruling Tehran. The problem is, President Barack Obama is reluctant to boast American righteousness as seen in the Cairo Speech. Also, Obama was cautious to pressure Iran in the post-election turmoil, though American and foreign leaders urged him to take resolute actions against the Khamenai-Ahmadinejed regime. We need to watch the forthcoming negotiation on October 1.