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United States: No diplomacy with Iran?

22 May, 2006

By Zafar Nawaz Jaspal


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The letter from the President of Iran Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad to US President George W Bush offers an unexpected opportunity for a fresh diplomatic relationship between the two countries. It was the first letter from an Iranian head of state to his American counterpart since Washington broke off relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In his long letter, while critically examining the moral, political and economic policies of the United States, the Iranian President asked his American counterpart: "Is there no better way to interact with the rest of the world? He proposed "new ways" to resolve their differences.

 

The Bush administration censured the offer by saying that the letter contains no concrete diplomatic proposal and thereby it was a diversionary tactic that did not address the crucial problem of Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Therefore, instead of engaging the Iranians directly, it continues its previous policy. On May 10, 2006 Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice said American diplomats would wait a couple of weeks while the Europeans design an offer to the Iranians that would make clear that they have a choice that would allow them to have a civil nuclear program in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons technology. The Bush administration had shown by words and action that it wants no direct talks with Iran. Why the United States is reluctant to talk directly with Iran?

The United States interest in the Gulf and the Arab world makes sense about its inflexible stance for not allowing the Iranians to acquire nuclear enrichment technology for peaceful purposes. In the aftermath of 1991 Gulf War, the United States established its overwhelming dominance in the Middle East. Since then, its foreign and strategic policies have been maintaining its strategic, political and economic dominance in the Persian Gulf and Arab World without a challenge from any regional player. Precisely, the United States is in a privileged position and therefore, status quo is in its advantage. Any development, which alters the present situation in the region, is not acceptable for the United States. Talking directly with the Iranian leadership imply that Bush Administration recognizes Ahmadi-Najad government as a de-jure regime.

The United States rigidity could be understood by three factors-lack of trust between the Washington and Tehran, requirements for structural dominance and the United States military superiority. Though the Iranians do not make nuclear device with its present enrichment technology, yet there are chances that it would gradually enhance its scientific expertise and after a few years it would be qualified enough to make the nuclear device. The Washington is not ready to trust Tehran because the former believes that latter would deviate from its commitments. The Americans claim that Iranians had signed the agreement and accepted inspection but then allegedly cheated on its commitments.

The Americans and its Western allies are convinced that once Iranians developed nuclear weapon, it would be difficult to reverse their nuclear weapons program. Importantly, over the years, the United States and other nuclear powers have come to the conclusion that the spread of nuclear weapons to smaller states would undermine their structural dominance, as nuclear weapons, under certain conditions, would serve as a great equalizer. The development of nuclear weapons by a conventionally inferior power would limit the ability of conventionally superior powers from intervening in the former internal affairs. One of the key attributes of a major power is its ability to punish a weaker actor militarily without receiving punishment in kind in return. Nuclear possession by a weaker actor can put significant constraints on the major power's ability to intervene and punish because it establishes the balance of terror among the belligerent nuclear capable states.

The offer by the Iranian president failed in engaging his American counterpart because of an obvious military asymmetry between Iran and the United States. The United States is militarily very strong power-sole super power. Whereas, Iran is not even qualified to be considered a medium power. The contemporary international politics manifest that there is no comparison between a state, which is armed and one, which is not. It is unreasonable to expect that a militarily strong state would obey one, which is not strategic equalizer or that militarily weak state would remain safe and secure when its adversary possess sophisticated arms. No doubt, with surgical military strikes the United States would destroy Iran's nuclear infrastructure. With military operation, if successful, it would only set back the Iranian nuclear program for a few years. At the

same time the military operation would have serious political, diplomatic and economic repercussions. It would kill masses of civilians, further inflame the entire Muslim world, throw the international oil market into turmoil, and probably solidify popular support behind the extremists in the Muslim world.

The majority in the international community desires flexibility in the United States approach towards Iran. They believe that economic sanctions and military operation against Iran would further deteriorate the situation. On May 11, 2006 the head of Russia's Security Council Igor Ivanov warned that any military action in Iran would lead to consequences that could seriously explode the situation in the region and beyond. Therefore, the diplomacy is a wise option to resolve the crisis, whether the Bush administration likes it or not.

 

End.

Reader Comments:

Iran has no choice, it should obey the rules and regulations of NPT,Which it has signed.It is wise for Iranians not to confront USA.What happened to NAZI GERMANY,IMPERIAL JAPAN,COMMUNIST USSR,SADAM HUSSAIN'S IRAQ, AND MELOSOVIC'S YUGOSLOVIA WILL HAPPEN TO IRAN.Iranians should think why Pakistan took a U turn on Taliban after 9/11 and CHINA still donot want to go to war with Taiwan.

Babu, United Arab Emirates - 22 May, 2006

iran ia no Nazi germany

this is foolish to compare Iran with Nazi Germany. Iran is a responsible country. the only thing, they gotto understand is the world scenario and they would compromise with nuclear technology. becoz they dont need nukes. otherwise there is no other reason why they wont have Nuclear technology.

s tiwari, Hungary - 24 May, 2006

Iran shiiaism Iran resource under Attack in WMD pretext

Iran Nuke power plant is just WMD excuse to regain fabulous Iranian oil.

To wipe out Iran out of map ,to erase shiiaism ,karbala ,Iraq shia products Lebanese
Arabs what Exactly Bush Canadian Israeli TEL Sheiks EU doing to Evil of axis
People of oil wealth ,followers of Islam .Iranian Oil is $200,000 Ferrari car
$100,000 Mercedes benz $250,000 lamboghinia Lexus and all luxury cars
$20,000 -$75,000 a piece besides Air bus Boeing Jet fighters Buses Trains (diesel)
highways and Petroleum taxes and millionaires billionaires thriving everywhere overnight.

Iranian are shias who still mourn death in the prophet's household not as if yesterday
But as if today(1400 yrs event keeping alive and active).

USA Israelis and allied sytemmatically bombing Shiite sites,Shiite history Iraqi museum
Lebanese sweets and Pita Iranian bread and Pakistani Shahi Naan Arab shia sunni culture
As Greeks.

Harpers Bush and allied forces are converting them into Greek.Renaming them not as
Jewish or Israeli but Greek food Greek Culture Greek ethnicity Greek language Greek
And Italian Romans. I went specially specially in Ontario supermarkets and bookstore
forces recruitment centres to check out.Definitely they wish to Rename Iranian Iraqi
Lebanese or Arab food and Pakistani culture as Greek -USA . Pakistan is trying
to induce USA Bush culture Bush Baseball alcohol sales in Pakistani community
within and overseas changing into Jerry springer programme trend in family codes .
Muslims in UK N America are coming home drunks gambling .Arab Turkish women
(singles in muslim matrimonials )Advertising as alcohol drinking muslimas willing
to abolish religion for sex with Tom Dick and Harry or any Airay Gairay
Nathookhairay .No muslim women anywhere are social drinkers in Pubs as
Such.No one is dating alcoholic western men or soliciting as if wanting to adopt
USA culture or Israeili sex lifestyle. Iran was keeping 1400 yr old deaths
in the prophet family alive and active mouring bleeding and beating chest.Now they
do not notice what USA allied is trying to do to Iran for Iran oil religion Iran culture
and Iran ethnicity abroad while preparing to wipe out Iranians in Iran in one go.


Z M B Blair, Indonesia - 24 May, 2006

Time to Contain America

I guess world has to get united against this devil state called ammerica....China can have the leading role along with Islamic world , Russia and south ammerican states....they can start with boycotting ammerica and then take neccassry steps against it.

Fasih Ali Khan, Pakistan - 26 May, 2006

No diplomacy with Iran

US would be better off to carry on with the diplomatic channels available and refrain any plan of attack on Iran. Attacking Iran will be putting hand in the nest of wasps and stings will be all poisonous and may not be easy for US to retreat and recover. The law of nature, anything goes up comes down with faster speed. Using sense would save lot of lives and fame will be restored as lost with the Iraq war. Live and let live policy should be adopted by US to remain a respectable big power. There are countries catching up and are going to be more powerful than US in couple of decades. The manpower of US is on decline and countries with immense growth rate and human capital would be able to stand against US. Why not try to understand that others do have a right to exist and live happily.?

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 26 May, 2006

Selfish!

It is time that the United States understood that it's totally unacceptable to believe that it can have nuclear weapons technology, and that's A-OK, but that for anyone else to have it is dangerous and unacceptable. Enough already!

Elle, Pakistan - 27 May, 2006

Iran is INSANE

Can't negotiate withe a country whose leaders are insane. For even if you give them everything they want, they will still destroy you.

Steve, United Kingdom - 29 May, 2006

I rather Survive!

If Iran gets nuclear weapons they WILL attack my country and kill millions of my people.

I don't want to see that happen.

If that is "Selfish" so be it. It is survival and if survival is selfish then so be it!

And, if you are someone with no ties to the west, no business interests, friends, etc how do you think a nuked America is going to treat the rest of the world? You know what the term "Once Bitten Twice Shy" means? It means that once you have experienced something bad once you are extra careful for the next several times to ensure that doesn't happen to you again. After America has been nuked once, we are going to be very quick on the nuclear trigger for a generation or so figuring that it is better to nuke a country first before they get a chance to nuke us like Iran did. Nuke before nuked!

IS that the world you want to live in?

Steve, United Kingdom - 29 May, 2006

Nazi Germany had no nukes.

No, Iran is no Nazi Germany, for Nazi Germany had no nuclear technology.

But, Iran is trying to obtain nukes. That makes it far more dangerous than Nazi Germany ever was.

Think of it. Hitler with Nukes. Well it almost came out to be that way. Had America didn't enter the war when it did German Scientists were very much along the way in developing them. Also the Germans were ahead of the allies in rocket technology and it even had by the end of the war a few Jet Planes. Fortunately not enough to impact the war.

But the point is had America not entered the war when it did but instead a few years later or not at all, the first Atomic bombs might have easily been dropped on London and New York.

So, now we have this modern day Hitler to the East. A man who, just like Hitler did, is rushing to develop nuclear technology for his "Master Race". How long can we in America sit back and wait this time before it's too late?

Stave, United Kingdom - 29 May, 2006

A job well done!

I'd pray they'd make the first muslim nuclear state... be it...
As christian's Gospel admits: "an eye to an eye"
through which I'd see Iran- the strong backbone of the weaker muslim countries..

Muslima, Ecuador - 24 June, 2006

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