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Is the US willing to accept a Nuclear Iran?

By: Meir Javedanfar


This morning, Haaretz newspaper reported that:

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s administration will offer Israel a nuclear umbrella” against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, a well-placed American source said earlier this week. The source, who is close to the new administration, said the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran”.

The article goes to address one of Jerusalem’s major concerns which is “Granting Israel a nuclear guarantee essentially suggests the U.S. is willing to come to terms with a nuclear Iran”.

This is not necessarily true. The US is still committed to using diplomacy and sanctions in its efforts to stop a nuclear Iran, not only for Israel’s sake, but also for the security of its won interests and allies in the region. What is being suggested here is that contingency plans are in place, for the worst case scenario.

And there is nothing wrong with talking about the possibility of a nuclear Iran, if all else fails. If our scenario planning is worth the paper it’s written on, in fact it must plan for this option. Refusing to talk about this prospect is not by some kind of black magic going to reduce its chances of realization.

Worryingly for Tehran what this report does suggests is that Iran’s nuclear program has managed to bring the US and Israel closer together. It shows that thanks to Ahmadinejad’s posturing, Israel will enjoy the benefits of NATO countries (ie US nuclear umbrella), without Israel having to commit any troops or resources to the alliance.

What it also shows is that the Iranian nuclear program is likely to create problems for Iran and the US to reach a broad understanding, as part of which “the West and Iran that recognizes Tehran’s role in the region and gives it (Iran) the power, the prestige, the influence”, as Mohammad El Baradei suggested in an interview with LA Times this week. Tehran will find America’s increased support for Israel unacceptable, especially since Jerusalem is likely to be protected by America’s nuclear umbrella. This was pointed out in a recent article in Tabnak, a semi official news agency based in Tehran. In an article entitled “Iran and a Grand Bargain with Obama”, one of the preconditions suggested by Dr Ostadyar, an Iranian political expert is that the US reduces its support for Israel, as part of the “Grand Bargain”. Based on what we can see, the opposite of what Tehran wants is happening, and this will be unacceptable to Iranian hard liners.

Sooner or later, with or without nuclear weapons, Ayatollah Khamenei should realize that it is sound foreign policy and internal economic stability and cohesion which will determine the success of his administration, and Iran’s ambitions to become a regional power. Iran did not increase its influence in Iraq and Lebanon with a nuclear bomb. Its soft power played a major part. This is what Iran needs more than a bomb. Because even if Tehran does become a nuclear power, as long as it continues its current domestic and foreign policies especially in its relations with the West, it will weaken itself and embolden its rivals. The former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be a good person to consult. He ruled over a nuclear country, which still lost to India in the Kargil war, and he was removed from power.

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Posted on : Dec 11 2008
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Posted under Iran - Nuclear Program |