Iran has every right to have a full nuclear power program for research and peaceful purposes, with the appropriate safeguards and inspections as per relevant international conventions. There seems to be no problem with that in Iran, and I wonder why the international community does not call Iran's bluff and establish intrusive monitoring systems to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Or is that not the real problem?
The actual dilemma, I suspect, is two-fold today: One, the UN Security Council has decided to force Iran to suspend enrichment, and if Iran wants the world to apply international law to its rights to enrich uranium, then it also has to respect the force of law that is inherent in UNSC resolutions. This weakens Iran's argument that it has the right to enrich as per international law. Two, the United States and Israel are driving a political process that seeks to prevent the emergence of any major Arab or Islamic power that could ever challenge or counter-balance Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East.
The tensions with Iran are partly about nuclear power issues, but largely about political power issues. A "revolutionary Islamic" regime is not acceptable to the U.S. and Israel, nor to many Arab governments. In contrast, many ordinary people in the Middle East do not fear such a regime as much as they do the U.S. and Israel, which they see as more serious threats.
It would be interesting for someone to count the number of people killed and injured, and the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, by American and Israeli policies in the Middle East in the past 50 years, and the same costs incurred as a result of Iranian actions. The balance sheet would probably support the views of those in this region who see the Israeli-American axis as far more dangerous and destructive than the Iranian regime, despite the many valid criticisms we can make of Iran's authoritarian and often brutal government.
We must decide on this Iranian nuclear issue if we are talking about the law, or brute power. The two are irreconcilable for the moment.
Please e-mail PostGlobal if you'd like to receive an email notification when PostGlobal sends out a new question.