Why Iran’s N-programme is in the limelight?
By Atul Aneja
In case Iran develops atomic weapons successfully, it would strengthen its Islamic revolution immeasurably. Once fortified with nuclear weapons, the rollback of the 1979 revolution, using force would become inconceivable
MANAMA: Faced with mounting international pressure, Iran, suspected of seeking nuclear weapons, appears unrelenting. Indicating that the Iranian nuclear programme will no longer be treated with soft hands, the Washington Post earlier this month reported that Israel was seriously considering attacking Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and its Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, during his latest visit to Washington, had shared this thought with the US President, George Bush. Israel’s denial of this story later, however, did not dissuade Iran from counterattacking. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Hamid Reza, warned on Tuesday that Israel “will pay dearly” if it embarked on “any adventure.”
On Monday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said while addressing Iranian diplomats that Teheran would “never yield” to US and European insistence that it should abandon its nuclear technology. But espousing what appears to be Iran’s strategic doctrine, Iran’s top religious leader stressed that his country would never use weapons of mass destruction. “The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on its religious and jurisprudence fundamental beliefs, would never resort to the use the weapons of mass destruction”, he observed. The intense pressure on Iran aimed at side — tracking it from the nuclear path is not hard to understand.
In case Iran develops atomic weapons successfully, it would strengthen its Islamic revolution immeasurably. Once fortified with nuclear weapons, the rollback of the 1979 revolution, using force would become inconceivable. Armed with nuclear weapons, Iran would be in a much better position to face its turbulent neighbourhood. Iran, at the moment, is highly vulnerable to US military pressure on account of the presence of US troops in its neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran’s security concerns have compounded, as it is likely that the US troops in both these countries will not disappear soon. But with atomic weapons in its arsenal, the chances of the US military steamrollering Iran by launching a two-front attack would be virtually eliminated. The animosity between the US and Iran precedes the Islamist overthrow of the pro-US regime of the former Shah of Iran in 1979. In 1953, the CIA had engineered the exit of the popular nationalist government of Mohammad Mossadegh in a royalist military coup. Apart from the US, Israel is well aware of the repercussions of a nuclear-armed Iran.
The presence of atomic weapons in Iran would mean termination of Israel’s undeclared, but well known, nuclear monopoly in the region. Israel has so far successfully defended this monopoly and in 1981 had destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, which it suspected would enable Baghdad to develop nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would also have its fall-out on the Persian Gulf states that would find themselves sandwiched between Iran on the one side and a nuclearised Indian subcontinent on the other.
Given the high stakes involved, the IAEA is taking the lead to ensure that Iran does not develop atomic weapons. In order to achieve this objective, it is asking Iran, which is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to sign an additional protocol that would allow its inspectors to carry out unannounced spot checks of any sites, which could be involved in making nuclear weapons. —The Hindu