The Iranian threat to global peace and security underlined by its intervention and terrorist activity in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine, coupled with its accelerated move to acquire a nuclear weapon, have led analysts and pundits to debate probable solutions in facing up to this threat.
The policy suggestions arising from such debate is generally helpful in awakening the world to the reality of Iran’s threat and to a search for a sound policy.
Among such policy formulations, however, there are those that while abhorring the Iranian government and expressing concern about a probable war, tend to in fact strengthen the regime and lay the foundations for an ominous war.
The March report of Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) in Britain called ‘Israel and Iran, From War of Words to Words of War,’ is one example.
The report considers an attack on Iran the most undesirable option in confronting the Islamic Republic and says that the most obvious consequence of such an action is widespread instability in the Middle East and greater danger for Israel.
There is no doubt that an attack on Iran either by Israel or the US is an undesirable option and it is not a solution to the threat posed by Tehran.
The report’s conclusion, however, is worth contemplating.
The report presents Iran’s nuclear threat as too distant; proposes that the theocracy in Iran is negotiable; dangles foreign investment as an incentive to Iran to help the Islamic Republic to confront its critical economic situation; and encourages using the resumption of diplomatic dialogue with the US after more than 28 years as a luring incentive to the regime.
The Chatham House report, however, fails in understanding a number of essential realities about the current Iranian regime.
It ignores the failed policy of four years of negotiations by three major European powers to entice Iran to relinquish its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Hassan Rowhani, the senior Iranian negotiator at the time, has frequently boasted that Iran benefited from the four years to complete construction of its nuclear facilities.
The Chatham House report ignores that the UN Security Council has in Resolution 1737 called for the termination of uranium enrichment as an essential demand. By ignoring this demand the report’s author proposes to grant Tehran the concession of negotiations.
It is worth remembering that Iran shrugged off the generous incentive package of the P5+1 in October 2006. The package included recognition of Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, accepted the Iranian heavy water facility at Arak, gave assurances to provide Iran with nuclear fuel, supported Iran’s application to join the World Trade Organization, gave Iran the possibility of purchasing parts for its aerospace industry, and offered security guarantees to preserve the current political regime in Iran.
The Chatham House report ignores that in reality, the Iranian regime is waging a bloody and horrible war of savage terrorism in Iraq to dominate the country. Tehran is also stockpiling a huge missile arsenal in Lebanon to pave the way for Hezbollah’s control of the politics of Lebanon.
The Chatham House report ignores the very obvious fact that the Iranian regime has suppressed the Iranian people for more than 25 years and has a very horrible record in human rights in Iran, and has already been condemned more than 51 times by various United Nations bodies for gross violation of human rights.
The report relies on a number of claims which have no basis in reality. As an example, it is not clear on what basis the author concludes that “Iranian social and political structures leave enough room to encourage Iranian compliance with international norms.”
It seems only prudent to base conclusions on Iran’s record and its past and current behavior. Iran has been sending the sophisticated roadside bombs to Iraq responsible for the death of hundreds of coalition troops, is behind the deaths of British servicemen in southern Iraq, and has been fanning sectarian violence with the aim of preventing the stabilization of Iraq in order to drive out the coalition and dominate the country through its proxies.