Iran: Will it or Won’t It?
AP reports that Iran will attend the meeting of Iraq’s neighbors with the US to be held later this month in Baghdad. There had earlier been some question whether Iran would attend if the US was coming.
Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, has spoken out against Bush administration negotiating tactics with Iran. He points out that Washington’s insistence that Iran capitulate to all Bush’s demands before negotiations even begin is “humiliating.” He also reveals that the Iranian civilian nuclear energy research program is much more primitive today than what Iraq had in 1991! And, in retrospect some analysts think Iraq’s program hadn’t actually had much success by then.
But the comment is misleading, because we don’t even know that Iran has a weapons research program. It hasn’t been proved, there isn’t any solid evidence, and the Supreme Jurisprudent has given a fatwa against having or using nuclear weapons as illicit in Islamic law. You can’t acknowledge that Iran is a dictatorial theocracy and then turn around and say that his fatwa is irrelevant.
The people who assert with such confidence that Iran has a weapons program are the same ones who insisted that North Korea had a uranium enrichment program, which now turns out to be unlikely. And then there was that little mistake about Iraq’s “program.”
The other issue is that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty permits states to have civilian nuclear research programs, and the current Bush administration/ UN Security Council threats of economic boycott are in essence an ex post facto repeal those provisions of the treaty, and imposes on signatory states new limitations that they never agreed to.
Iran’s non-oil exports to Iraq in the past year topped $1 bn. This sort of thing is why it is unrealistic for the US to hope for Iraq and Iran to have no relations with each other.
An Indian blogger’s impressions of contemporary Iran, contrasted to the US press image of the place.