Researcher, Middle East Monitor, London
The beginning of the 21st century witnessed the emergence of what has come to be known as the ‘Iranian Nuclear Crisis’. It followed the unearthing of Tehran’s nuclear aspirations when, in August 2002, an exiled Iranian opposition group named the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed classified details about Iran’s nuclear program, including information about uranium enrichment and production of the chemical compound Arak heavy-water.
In 2003, European powers entered into nuclear negotiations with Iran, however, these soon ended as Iran refused to bring its program to a halt or to open its nuclear sites to international inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Subsequently, Washington spearheaded a campaign against Iran and there appeared to be conformity between American and Israeli stances with regard to methods of dealing with the issue and in particular, the proposed use of force. Between 2004 and 2007, the Security Council issued three new resolutions. However, since Obama’s election, the American position on Iran has changed slightly and in February this year, he called Iran toward a ‘sincere partnership based on mutual respect.’
In response, Iran expressed a readiness to respond to Obama’s offer but nevertheless demanded the US administration take ‘concrete steps’ toward their stated goals. Indeed in early September 2009, a package of proposals was presented to Iran by Western countries and was described by Iran as a ‘new chance for talks and cooperation’. Then, in October, Iran announced news of a second uranium enrichment site under construction and itself called for inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. A new series of negotiations are expected to begin between Iran and the six countries involved during the second half of October.
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The Stand points of Countries Involved in the Iranian Nuclear Issue
The American stance toward Iran is the toughest of all and has vacillated not over its principal position toward Iran’s nuclear weapons, but rather over the method of dealing with the issue; whether the US should resort to a military strike as a means of resolving the dispute or whether it should employ diplomacy coupled with economic restrictions. In principle, the European negotiating parties object to the use of military action and welcome the idea of economic restrictions, even considering them the best option, but also want to hold onto diplomacy in trying to reach a solution.
The Tel Aviv Stand Point on the Iranian Nuclear Program
Evidence shows that Israeli interests were indeed the real motive behind the Western conflict with Iran regarding its nuclear aspirations. Iran has always wanted and appreciated its relations with the West based on mutual respect; trade between Europe and Iran reflects strong affiliations and shared interest. Nevertheless, due to the status of Israel in Europe, the Iranian leader’s attitude toward Israel appears to be at the crux of tensions between Iran and Western countries.
Western Double Standards
The tough Western stance towards Iran is linked to several issues but nevertheless centres on preventing Iran from developing its nuclear capabilities, even though it asserts that they are exclusively for peaceful purposes. Irrespective of the truthfulness of these claims; whether Iran has a hidden agenda and is seeking the capability to produce a nuclear bomb and ultimately to enter the nuclear weaponry market, and even with the presumption of the Western claim that Iran is planning to accomplish a nuclear military program, the West’s double standards when it comes to the sensitive issue of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons are glaringly obvious.
Why Does the West Object to Iran Possessing Nuclear Capabilities?
On the one hand, the West’s stated objection to Iran’s nuclear program is based on the fact that the West does not trust Iranian intentions; it does not accept Iran’s claimed need for nuclear energy as it possesses huge oil reserves.
The Israeli Nuclear Program
In December 2006, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated: “can you talk about equality, if they (the Iranians) are aspiring to have nuclear weapons like America, France, Israel and Russia?” This was the first public statement made by an Israeli official in which it was admitted that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal. The statement came as he warned of the threat posed by Iran seeking to possess nuclear artillery. This statement, it was said, was a “real slip of tongue by Olmert”; a statement he then withdrew claiming his words were misinterpreted.
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal
- German newspapers published in 1957 report on German-Israeli nuclear co-operation.
- In 1958, the BBC announced that it possessed evidence that Britain sold Israel 20 tons of heavy water, which allowed Israel to start up its nuclear production plant at Dimona.
- In 1968, Belgium announced it sold 200 metric tons of uranium to Israel.
The West Provides Full Assistance to Israel’s Nuclear Development Program
Available information highlights the fact that Israel relies on Western technology and support in the development of its nuclear capabilities. Israel enjoys France’s full support. This began in 1949 when an official in the French Nuclear Energy Agency visited Israel.
Is Iran a Bigger Threat than Israel to World Peace and Security?
History affirms that over the past four decades, Iran has not been involved in any wars save for its war with Iraq during the eighties and substantial amounts of evidence indicate that Iran did not initiate aggression.
Europeans Believe Israel to be the Biggest Threat to World Peace
Opinion polls published in 2003 by the most-read Spanish newspaper, El Pais, and which included thousands of participants from Europe, revealed that Israel constitutes the biggest threat to World Peace. About 60% of the participants believed Israel to be a bigger threat than North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Essence of the Crisis between Iran and the West
At the core of this crisis is the continuation of the West’s policy of double standards unveiled before the public at large. It has become something akin to fuel for nourishing hesperophobia (fear or hatred of the West) and provides an excuse for those parties intent on the confrontation between the Muslim world and the West continuing.
In light of these challenges and the diverse criteria upon which the Western stance is based, the solution to the Iranian nuclear problem requires that Western countries understand the true motive behind Iran’s determination to enhance its nuclear capabilities - a serious and justified concern about the imbalance of power in the region.
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