Sunday, November 4, 2007

Iran: Iraq 2, with a bigger update and impossible to manage?

Whose word would bears more wieght when it comes to nuclear technology related questions: that of a Nobel prize-winning head of an international agency specializing in nuclear issues who was right about Iraq's artificially concocted WMDs, or that of a bunch of belligerent, shameless , and uncompetent neocons who make no secret of their desire to whack Iran at the earliest opportunity?

That is the stark choice facing the sane people of the world, given the smearing of IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei for not joining the hysterical lynch mob building up against Iran. Criticised by Condi Rice and others in the Bush administration, it is uncannily reminiscent of the slurs against him and UN weapons inspector Hans Blix in the run up to the invasion of Iraq - and we should remember that the US vindictively tried to unseat him afterwards for not joining in the lying game.

ElBaradei is hardly acting as cheerleader for the Iranians. He says that his inspectors have not seen "any concrete evidence that there is a parallel military program," though he could not yet swear to its absence. The reasons for that being Iran's still somewhat uncomfortable attitude to open all doors at any moment for all of nuclear facilities. Iran needs some wooing but the case is far from being hopeless, on contrary, wiht little bit of patiance and open-mindedness if not the ideal, at least quite a progress will be observed.

ElBaradei believes that the issues the West has with Iran can be resolved through negotiations - in which it would help if the US were not implicitly or more recently explicitly as well threatening war. But it looks as though a similar stage is reached when Saddam let in the inspectors. When they found no WMDs Bush cried foul, ordered the UN inspectors out and sent the troops in. As it seems now, the US and its Western allies will not accept anything short of regime change in Tehran - no matter what ordinary Iranians and other countries might want and what the IAEA says.

The only difference from last time is that France has defected, and France's opposition to the war in Iraq was as much because of Saddam's oil contracts with Total and Elf-Aquitaine as any deep attachment to international law.

The situation is more inflamed by an aggressive and unhelpful rhetoric aimed to show its friends and enemies how unafraid and how challenging Iran ca be, especially towards a superpower such as the US. Yes, Iran has survived one onslaught by the US and its allies during the Iran-Iraq war. But where is the guarantee it will survive the second one, especially because in this case a more idealistic and therefore more universally appealing hype is built against it? What is even more ridiculous is that Ahmandinejad is not in control of Iran's nuclear capacity, reserved for the Guardian council and its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. So much fuss over nothing...

Instead of smiling while uttering phrases, which leave the international society aghast, it would be more constructive and fruitful to open up fully Iran's nuclear facilities and invite IAEA as well as independent experts for monitoring. This way, it will clear away all doubts and will give Iran a good conscious to go ahead, and if the US tries to tweak and twist then Iran will have all the rights for high rhetoric and more.

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