Saturday, 25 October 2014


Allow Iran to breathe

Israel hates Iran and the West sings the same tune. And that's why it is always doubtful whether West wants a reasonable solution to the nuclear question that has been hanging on the Iran-West relations. The solution has to be balanced so that neither Iran's nuclear program becomes a threat, nor is Iran made to reel under sanctions that ultimately hits the ordinary Iranians. If that has to be the aim then the western powers must understand Iran cannot be forced to suffer for indefinite period. That will hurt Iran as well as the negotiations. Which is not going to help anyone, except Israel.  

Not surprisingly Iran is not sure whether the negotiations will succeed. It's chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi has said, "We will not retreat an iota from the country's nuclear rights and at the same time we are fully ready for transparency." He also said that talking through media rather than at the negotiation table will hinder the progress of talks. The Americans are, however, making the right noises though they need to do a lot more. Recently US undersecretary of state for political affairs Wendy Sherman said that things have moved not so fast but there has been "impressive progress" on issues that once seemed to be intractable. But, words are not enough. To convince Iran, the West needs to do more than just offering limited relief. All the sanctions, including those by the UN, must be lifted. The more West accommodates Iran life at the negotiations table will become easier. 

It is important that the negotiations on the nuclear question reach a successful closure, and for that both the sides must take steps. So far Iran has done its bit; the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has been fulfilling its obligations under the interim agreement reached in November 2013 with P5+1 countries. The West, particularly the United States, must now show enough flexibility to reward Iran's earnestness. That will encourage Iran to not deviate from its obligations and to stay away from nuclear weapons. However, if the West continues to be dictated by a paranoid Israel then global peace will be the victim. Therefore these negotiations cannot get hijacked by Israel. Iran must be allowed to breathe.  

While it is true that nuclear negotiations must remain independent of the other issues, one cannot deny that both Iran and the United States must cooperate now, given the volatile situation in Iraq and Syria. The Americans can utilise Iran's power to deal with the imminent threat to human civilisation. All the civilised powers, Iran included, must unite against crooks who want to destroy the world in the name of religion. Keeping that in mind, negotiations of any kind must be tempered with goodwill. This goodwill has to be genuine and not a superficial show of bonhomie.

On its part Iran should never try to build nuclear weapons. Or else it will lead to arms race in the region and be enough provocation for the Israelis. Rather, Iran should enter into defence cooperation agreements with important countries, particularly the US, Russia and Turkey. These agreements should be good enough to deter Israel. 

Iran should also improve its human rights records. It cannot continue to be a country where political dissent is stifled with brute force. Dissension is an important element in any functional democracy. If Iran wants to be counted among the leading nations of the world, it must embrace democratic norms in full.