US advised not to block Iran-Pakistan pipeline
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: George Perkovich, a leading nuclear expert, has advised the United States to allow the development of the proposed Iran-Pakistan pipeline that would bring natural gas to India.
Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in a paper published on Friday said in order to influence positive change in Iran, the United States must first recognise that US policy towards Iran over the past 26 years has not worked. Unilateral sanctions, denouncements, and other forms of coercion are insufficient. The US needs the cooperation of at least Europe and Russia to affect Iranian behaviour. The US should also work with the international community as it intensifies pressure on Iran not to take the nuclear road.
Perkovich suggested that the US should help clarify which technologies should be allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It should also support IAEA Director General ElBaradei’s proposal for a moratorium on construction of new fuel production and reprocessing facilities. There should be built robust US-EU trust that no party will accept a result short of Iran’s modification of its nuclear programme to rely on guaranteed foreign-fuel services rather than domestic uranium enrichment and plutonium separation. Washington should also devise in close cooperation with the EU sequences of specific positive and negative incentives commensurate to actions Iran takes, including an agreed series of escalatory measures that could lead up to and beyond referral to the Security Council.
The Carnegie expert recommended that to improve the prospects of EU-Iran negotiations, the US should make clear that, if Iran stops pursuing technologies vital to the production of nuclear weapons and “threatening” its neighbours, the US will respect Iran’s security and state sovereignty, while continuing to morally and politically support democratic reforms in Iran. The US should support Iran’s ambitions to be an advanced technological state and suggest possible technological collaborations and encourage establishment of a regional security forum to address security dilemmas between Iran and its Arab neighbours.
Perkovich express the view that to improve the climate for international negotiations and internal reform in Iran, the US should unconditionally release Iranian financial assets frozen since 1979, abandon attempts to renew or tighten sanctions against non-American entities investing in Iran’s oil and gas sectors, and allow the development of the proposed natural gas pipeline that Iran and Pakistan would build to bring gas to India. Aside from these diplomatic steps, the US intelligence community should seek to specify whether data indicating clandestine nuclear-weapons-related activities in Iran have declined or risen since late 2003 and what the impact of international pressure in altering Iran’s nuclear activities and intentions since 2003 has been.