Author: Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Military strength and arrogance have empowered the USA to threaten and invade any sovereign nation considered by Washington not falling in line with its line of global agenda. USA hence unleashes threats and deadlines to them to complete an ‘assignment’ with a time frame, followed by punitive preemptive aggression for failure to comply with its dictates. Many countries have ‘comprehended” the US way of thinking, but a few still have opposed the USA agenda under the fictitious garb on “democracy and regime change”. Afghanistan and Iraq have paid heavy prices for their anti-Americanism and now Iran, under virtual siege by the UNSC-5, is the present target of US neo-imperialism. Iran is on its way to obtain enrichment of uranium, which can be used to fuel atomic weapons and hence the USA opposes Iran.
Iran is pursing its legitimate nuclear ambitions at par with other nuclelarized nations. Having failed to use other Arab nations to stop Iran form developing nuclear system that could be a deterrent on Israeli threat to Arab nations, USA, the world’s only super power, has slapped another ultimatum on Iran to decide between confrontation and co-operation in the dispute over its nuclear plans in two weeks. At talks in Switzerland, Geneva on July 18, envoys from the US, EU and UN yet again asked Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment in return for a pledge not to introduce new sanctions. In addition to the EU, Iranian and US envoys, the talks in Geneva‘s city hall were attended by representatives from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Talks ended with Iran stonewalling Washington and five other world powers on their call to freeze uranium enrichment. The BBC says Iran is interested in the offer but it is unclear whether there are divisions in the leadership or the Iranians are playing for time. “This package is a new opportunity which should not be lost.” But doubt was cast over the value of the talks, after a member of the Iranian delegation said there was “no chance” of a freeze on the uranium-enrichment program.
But the USA says that talks’ lack of progress may lead to “further isolation” for Iran. Iran state radio on Sunday quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying the talks were “a step ahead.” Western diplomats had hoped that Iran would respond to a so-called “freeze-for-freeze” offer, under which a freeze of Iran‘s uranium enrichment program at its current levels would be matched by a Western pledge not to strengthen sanctions on Tehran. “It was a constructive meeting, but still we didn’t get the answer to our questions,” EU envoy Javier Solana told reporters. However, the Saturday meeting was the first time US and Iranian officials have held face-to-face talks on the nuclear issue as senior US Under-Secretary William Burns was present at the Geneva talks. Although he made no public comment, Burns had delivered a “clear simple message” that Washington was “serious” about the incentives package but that it would only negotiate with Iran if it upheld its side of the deal. Instead, state department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a strongly-worded statement in Washington threatening the Iranian people to understand that their leaders need to make a choice between co-operation, which would bring “benefits to all”, and confrontation, which can only lead to “further isolation. Tehran‘s continued activity is seen in the USA as defying UN Security Council demands to halt enrichment.
It has always been clear that any realistic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis would involve active US engagement. But there are also plenty of hardliners in the US and Iranian governing circles who are spoiling for a fight. Hoping for a war in Mideast, some do talk dangerously about the merits of a “limited war”, others have even more ambitious military designs.
Israeli military exercises focusing on Iran do anger the Iranians to some extent, though Iran got used to such tactics and maneuvers by the USA-Israel combine.
Although Iran‘s latest missile tests have grabbed global headlines, Western observers may have learned little they did not already know about the scope and potential firepower of Tehran‘s arsenal. The current Iranian Scud missiles have a maximum range of 500km (310 miles); Saddam Hussein also fired Scud-type missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, causing damage but little loss of life. Shahab-3b: 2,500km.
More than the USA, it is Israel which is puzzled and disturbed by Iranian missile tests. Like the US Neocons, Israeli lobby, the largest of the world, has been pressing Washington to do something about Iran and immediately.
The tests Iran has conducted successfully include the flight of an apparently new version of Iran‘s longest-range missile, the Shahab-3, which authorities suggested would be able to strike targets in Israel. This longer range could indicate that the latest missile test involved a modified version of the Shahab-3, which Iran says would have a range of up to 2,500km. This range would be enough to put targets in the Gulf and in Israel within reach, although the longer range version could be sited further from Israeli air bases. These tests have been going on for some time: we saw then in 2003, in 2004 and in 2007. Analysts suggested that the tests were staged in an effort to reinforce the message that Iran was ready to hit back if Israel or the US – or both – launched any kind of military strike on its nuclear facilities. Neither the USA nor Israel doubts that.
It has become a sheer habit of the USA and UNSC to use economic sanctions to coerce their opponents fall in line. Such sanctions are indeed economic terrorism perpetrated against humanity in general, because ultimate suffers are the common people. Sanctions have been slapped on Iran before and still the UNSC is thinking of doing more of them.
On July 20, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran of not being serious at weekend talks about its disputed nuclear program despite the presence of a senior U.S. diplomat, and warned it may soon face new sanctions, if Tehran does not respond to a package of incentives offered in exchange for halting enrichment of uranium. In her first public comments since the meeting in Switzerland, Rice said all six nations were serious about a two-week deadline Iran now has to agree to freeze suspect activities and start negotiations or be hit with new penalties. Rice slammed Iran‘s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for delivering a “meandering” monologue full of irrelevant “small talk about culture” that appeared to annoy many of the others present at the table in Geneva. “”People are tired of the Iranians and their stalling tactics. It’s time for the Iranians to give a serious answer.” Rice told reporters aboard her plane as she flew to the United Arab Emirates.
Rice said unless Iran responds positively in the next two weeks, it can expect more sanctions to be imposed by the United States and the European Union as early as late August or September and may then be hit with a fourth sanctions resolution at the U.N.S,C.
However, Iranian state radio on July 19 reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the talks a “step ahead” and said country’s formal assessment would be issued soon. Iran has avoided the “suspension” issue entirely.
Keen to dominate the world with their joint-power, USA and Israel have not given up their nuclear arms and stopped research on nuclear technology and both want Iran to fall in line. And, once again, Iran gave no guarantees it would halt its activities, thus both groups retaining the old status quo of warning and stiffness. Iran says its nuclear facilities are designed to meet its energy needs, denying that it has a weapons program. Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili said he had put forward many positive ideas and he urged Western powers not turn away from negotiations.
The US and Iran have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the taking of hostages at the US embassy in Tehran. Formal contact between the two countries has been extremely limited, though last year they met at ambassadorial level to discuss security in Iraq. The meeting came after weeks of rising tensions in the Middle East. The Iranians test-fired latest missiles (2000 KM range) last week, and a series of threats and counter-threats between Iran and Israel has been watched nervously in the West. USA expected that Tehran may soon accept the Western proposal to freeze its nuclear program at its current state for several weeks, in return for a deferral of new sanctions. The precise length of such a freeze is still at issue.
Engagement or isolation: Wrong Signals?
Western and pro-western media have always harped on anti-Islamic and anti-Iranian rhetoric and used harsh _expression to slam and threaten Iran, provoking Israel and USA to go for punitive war strategies. The weapons manufacturers in these countries want to put in use their latest arms in war situations and showcase the efficacy of their high precision weapons for inviting weapons hungry nations in the east. . While the Solana is delegated to negotiate on the behalf of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, China, Russia, France, Britain – and Germany, there would always be doubts in Tehran about how much he speaks for the Bush administration.
Earlier this week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he was interested in direct talks with the US. He also said Iran was interested in an idea being floated in Washington – to open a US diplomatic mission in Tehran for the first time since the revolution. In intriguing comments in a television interview, Ahmadinejad said he expected “something may happen soon” in US-Iranian relations. Like Bush, he too did not take the world into confidence by revealing the hidden facts.
Any realistic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis would involve active US engagement at diplomatic level. Both sides have made it abundantly clear they want to talk, but neither is very good at listening. In the past Washington and Tehran have been like two star-crossed lovers. Every time one makes an advance, the other turns away.
After the July show of missile preparedness by Iran, now there are growing signs that both Iran and the USA want to do some serious talking about the nuclear crisis. Maybe the missile test was a show of strength before the opening of talks.
True, it looks like a major shift by the US policy towards Iran by agreeing to send the Under-Secretary of State, William Burns, to Geneva. The Bush administration had previously ruled out joining the nuclear talks until Iran suspended uranium enrichment, so sending an envoy to Geneva is a big turnaround.
But is there a real effort for reconciliation? Why is this? The US presidential election is in less than four months away and Bush will leave office before the end of January. Time is running out for President George W Bush. By opening the door to Tehran, he could do his successor an enormous favor. It is a political gamble he can take at relatively little cost, whereas the incoming president might find it a step too far or simply be too busy to engage on the issue. Conversely, the prospect of a President Obama might provoke Israel into pre-emptive action. The dangers have been evident in the recent sabre-rattling from both sides in recent weeks.
A few die-hard Neocons reason as to why the Islamic Republic is suddenly open to compromise. They say that Israel‘s recent military rehearsal for an attack on Iran was a wake-up call. Just as significant, the fact that Israel is now talking with Syria, Hezbollah and the Palestinians, must also be worrying Tehran. Already Tehran has found that it cannot rely on Russia or China to block sanctions in the UN Security Council. The government might be facing the prospect of really serious isolation. Also, domestic pressure: the government is under pressure, firstly from sanctions. And inflation in food prices here is approaching 50%. In Tehran, there are daily power cuts, water shortages, and huge queues at the petrol stations. Even the ever-resilient Ahmadinejad may be realizing that not all his policies are working entirely.
Some Mideast specialists in the USA reason, Iran is just trying to talk out the remaining days of the Bush administration, in the hope of an easier ride, if Barack Obama is victorious. It is not just that Obama has promised to open unconditional talks with Tehran. Iranians are also encouraged by the fact that his middle name is Hussein – that of one of the most revered Shia Muslim Imams. And bizarrely, Obama, in Persian, literally means “he – with – us”. However, Iran cannot buy such false arguments.
But the fact remains that Obama is not only a practicing Christian, but supports Israel and therefore his poll campaign team has strong pro-Israel lobby. On top of it, he has just reiterated his position on Israel saying that he would be with Israel if elected power.
The war threat posed by the USA and Israel has in fact raised oil prices to some extent. Oil prices rose on 20 July in Asia to near $130 a barrel on concerns that the threat of new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program may escalate tensions in the oil-rich Gulf region. Prices also rose on concerns that Tropical Storm Dolly may disrupt oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico. In London, September Brent crude rose 78 cents to $130.97 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. But there are certainly chances for short-term spikes with issues such as Iran or storms. Iran‘s arsenal of missiles does cause confusion and tension in the USA and Israel.
Russia, a strong UNSC veto wielder, is one of the six world powers that last month gave Iran a proposal offering it full negotiations on a range of incentives if it suspends sensitive uranium enrichment operations. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev held their first telephone talks late on Friday, a day before the talks in Geneva. The presidents of Iran and Russia expressed hope for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis on the eve of key talks aiming to break the deadlock. Ahmadinejad also expressed satisfaction over the current state of ties between Tehran and Moscow, which has substantial economic interests in the Islamic republic. Medvedev reiterated his firm position on resolving the situation surrounding Iran‘s nuclear program only by political and diplomatic means.
An Observation: Iran should be firm and Cautious
After the harsh rhetoric and the threats, it is a critical moment for diplomacy. USA has been coercing Iran to halt its legitimate nuclear ambitions at par with other powers that possess nuclear regime. In fact ever since the fall of Afghanistan and Iraq, Iranian nation has been under virtual siege from USA its allies, while following the brutal assassination of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Ahmedinejad’s life has been under serious threat from Washington’s terrorist masters. It is beyond one’s comprehension that Israel can have as many nukes as it desires while USA should support that, and UN endorses also that view with salutations. But, it is amazing that no other Arab nation should have nuclear facility even for ‘peaceful” purposes.
Recent one-to-one talk between Iran and USA only showcased the intentions of Washington in Mideast under the guises of establishing a “new Mideast”. The direct U.S. talks with Iran in hopes the first-time American presence would encourage Tehran into making concessions did not cut much ice with Tehran. The US offer envisions Iran to stop expanding enrichment. The ultimatum of grace period is intended to create the framework for formal negotiations that, it is hoped, will lead to a permanent halt of enrichment, but USA is sure Iran would not stop its legitimate scientific advancement.
In the USA Ahmadinejad is compared to Hitler, but not G.W. Bush, who has killed thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq and torture Muslims in secret prison wards in Europe and else where, why? Obviously, USA does not tolerate another strong person or nation in the world to eventually challenge US supremacy its illegal occupation, dominance and arrogance. Hence Saddam Hussein is no more. And fate of Osama, considered a serious threat to US interests in Mideast, therefore, is not known, if the phenomenon is real. Obviously, USA objects to two persons doing the same “terrorism’ thing in the world.
USA and UNSC should there be sincere in their de-nuclearization endeavors and should be able to get rid of double standards and double-speaks. They could specify the nations that could use nuclear facility in every continent and region. In Mideast Israel possesses nuclear arsenals threatening the regional peace with its regular air-strikes in neighboring nations.
USA should control the Israeli lobby roaming about in the White House and reign in the anti-Islamic media that the Western powers have so religiously promoted. Unless Israel is denuclearized and disarmed, there is no point in coercing Islamic Republic of Iran to do that. Both conventional and nuclear disarmament in one the most crucial issues on earth now, but by disarming Iran and forcing it for give up its nuclear goals, USA and UNSC cannot establish any denuclearized or disarmed world. Even that very though evokes loud laughter in the minds of onlookers in international affairs.
There is no clear-cut evidence to show USA has indeed changed or at least is changing, but on the contrary, the latest statement of Rice conforms that USA remains as arrogant as ever and there is no real threat for USA to be pragmatic or persuasive in approach. Nothing could be predicted about US intentions, unless it really seeks peace with Islamic nations. Iran would be extremely cautious now about its enemies since USA might go for a quick attack during the Holy Ramadan.