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How to make Tehran listen

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Message Joseph Omidvar

Once again the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on a resolution asking Iran to halt its nuclear activities. It gave Iran 60 days to execute the contents of the resolution.

Iran promptly rejected the resolution. Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's Foreign Minister said: "Suspension of uranium enrichment is not an option for Iran."

Just hours before ratification of the resolution, Tehran's Friday prayer leader, Imami Kashani, who speaks for the ruling clerics stated: "If the UN Security Council ratifies ten more resolutions, we will not suspend uranium enrichment."

Even if we neglect the reliable intelligence and evidence regarding the clandestine activities of the Iranian regime to build nuclear weapons, and if we ignore specific findings by IAEA's chief Mohammed ElBradei regarding the existence of activities undeclared to the nuclear agency for 20 years, Iran's disregard for the Security Council resolutions and its defiance to repeated calls by the international community for negotiations is sufficient to conclude that the Iranian regime is determined to acquire nuclear weapons.  Obviously, a county with large gas and petroleum reserves (second in the world) should not insist on uranium enrichment just for nuclear energy in the face of international opposition and censure.

Stopping Iran's nuclear activity is an urgent necessity, especially, since Iran's theocracy is now controlling parts of Iraq and intervenes to a large extent in Lebanon and Palestine. This is a regime that has waged war against its own people by suppressing them. It is obvious that if this regime achieves nuclear weapons the Iranian people and people all over the world will face a bleak future.

This is why we should support the UN Security Council resolution.

In only nine months, three resolutions have been adopted by the UNSC. Iran responded each time by escalating its nuclear activities and fanning sectarianism and fundamentalism in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. But what is the right approach to halt Iran's strong desire to acquire nuclear weapons.

It seems that the policy of appeasing the mullah's regime continues by the P5+1 countries at the same time a resolution is passed against it.

The appeasement policy is based on profound political bonds coupled with commercial interests especially in the petroleum and gas industry to name a few. But the appeasement policy is mainly based on the West’s treatment of the Iranian opposition. By wrongfully placing Iran's democratic opposition (PMOI) in the terror list, both the US and the European Union send a message of weakness to Iran. The move serves to embolden the Iranian regime..

No other issue is as important to the Iranian regime and can influence its behavior than the policy that the West adopts toward Iranian opposition. For instance, on 19 December 2006, the Iranian media reported: "An American warship had entered Iranian waters and anchored 2 miles away from the Khark Island." Tehran expressed concern on this development but this was insignificant compared to its reaction to the 12 December ruling by the European Court of First Instance (CFI) against the terrorist designation of the PMOI. Iranian leaders and regime spokesmen expressed their anger on this ruling and protested to European countries. This clearly show ed that they are concerned about the Iranian Resistance more than an American warship.

Therefore, as long as the West hampers the Iranian opposition by keeping it in the terror list, it effectively precludes any chance for democratic change in Iran and the mullahs will not have anything to fear from international pressures. 

It is worth noting that even after the CFI ruling to annul the terrorist designation of the PMOI, which followed a long judicial process; the European Union again yielded to demands of the Iranian regime and ignored the court’s ruling and decided to keep the PMOI in the terror list.

The Iranian regime is therefore emboldened to ignore calls by the world community and its supreme leader has declared that "we too can take illegal actions and we will do so." (Iranian media 22 March)

Past experience demonstrates that stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions will not bear fruit unless obstacles to the democratic activities of the Iranian Resistance are removed. As long as the mullahs see that their main opposition that played such a substantial role in revealing their clandestine nuclear projects is put on the terror list, they will continue to defy the international community and subvert  world peace and security.

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Joseph Omidvar is a researcher on Iranian affairs and an editor for International Study Committee for Change in Iran.

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