I R A N I N T H E E Y E O F S T O R M

A z a d i (L i b e r t y) T o w e r , T e h r a n / I r a n IRAN IN THE EYE OF STORM WHY A GLOBAL WAR HAS BEGUN  We live, after all, in a world w...
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A z a d i (L i b e r t y) T o w e r , T e h r a n / I r a n

IRAN IN THE EYE OF STORM WHY A GLOBAL WAR HAS BEGUN

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We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane.

Tariq Ali 2005

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ALI FATHOLLAH-NEJAD RESEARCH PAPER | WORK IN PROGRESS FULLY REVISED VERSION: MAY 2007 INITIAL VERSION: AUTUMN 2005

ABSTRACTS [EN] [DE] [FR] GENERAL REMARKS ▪ INITIAL WORDS

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INTRODUCTION

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ON GEOPOLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

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1.

GEOECONOMIC CENTERS: THE STAGE OF EMPIRE 1) The Middle East’s Centrality for the World 2) Iran’s Centrality in the Middle East

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2.

GEOSTRATEGIC HOT SPOT: THE AGE OF GULF WARS 1) Oil and Democracy 2) Iran and Great Powers Rivalry

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THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE MIDDLE EAST

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1.

21ST CENTURY U.S. GRAND STRATEGY

2.

IRAN AND AMERICA’S WARS 23 1) Iranian Détente as Response to U.S. Containment and Peripheral Wars 24 2) Iran’s Security Dilemma: U.S. Militarization of the Middle East 26 3) Forced Modus Vivendi: ‘Axis of Evil’ as Reward for Cooperation 26 4) The Neocons in the Corridors of Power 28

13 1) On How to Designate American Supremacy 13 2) The ‘Cheney Report’ on Energy Policy (May 2001): On Securing Oil 15 3) The 2002 National Security Strategy: The ‘Preemptive’ Strike Doctrine 17 4) The ‘Greater Middle East Initiative’: America’s Restructuring Offensive 19 5) The 2006 National Security Strategy: Putting Iran in Crosshairs 20 6) A Highly Explosive Mixture 22

MANUFACTURING A GLOBAL CRISIS: THE IRAN CONFLICT

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1.

ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM? 1) The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and Its Erosion 2) Historical Outline of Iran’s Nuclear Program 3) Dilemmas of Double-Standard and Dual-Use

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2.

ON HOW DIPLOMACY CAN PAVE THE WAY FOR WAR 1) Negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Program: Escalating Diplomacy 2) Why the Talks’ Failure was Foreseeable 3) Tackling the Real Issues: How Diplomacy Can Finally Succeed

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AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE

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1.

WHO IS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY? ON GLOBAL FISSURES 1) The West’s Sole Agency Claim 2) Southern Objection

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2.

THE GLOBAL HEGEMON’S DECISIVE BATTLE 1) Stranglehold on its Rivals: America’s ‘Oil Weapon’ 2) Feeling the Hegemon’s Squeeze: Asian Great Powers and Iran 3) Consequences of an Iran War 4) Who Would Benefit from an Iran War and Who Not? 5) The War Bells Ring: America and the World at the Crossroads

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CONCLUDING REMARKS

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REFERENCE LIST ▪ ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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RESEARCH QUESTIONS:

What Is At Stake? And What To Do? GEOPOLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE MIDDLE EAST MANUFACTURING A CRISIS: THE IRAN CONFLICT AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE ABSTRACTS English | The Iran crisis has become a synonym for escalation dangerously tending towards confrontation. Tehran therein is accused by the U.S.-led West of developing nuclear weapons. This in fact is an alerting highlight in the tense history of U.S.-Iranian relations since World War Two, as we clearly hear the war bells ring. What lies behind that present Irano-Western conflict has to be seen in a broader historical and political context: Beginning with the 1953 coup d’état against Iran’s democratically elected Mossadegh government till recent wars in the Iranian periphery, American interventionist foreign policy in the world economy’s most crucial region, the Middle East, proves a great deal of bitter continuity in its push for controlling this part of the world for the sake of global hegemony. The new U.S. preventive war doctrine provides the political legitimacy for such an agenda. The major battlefield of this militaristic agenda of America’s grand strategy seems to be focused on the ‘Greater Middle East.’ Besides having to cope with a considerable security dilemma due to tremendous trembles in her environment, Iran now sees herself targeted as an exclusive member of the ‘Axis of Evil.’ This paper will attempt to clarify the interests at stake for the sole remaining superpower. It will thus argue that the only meaningful way to perceive the present conflict is through considering its politico-strategic background and implications. The Iran crisis is indeed a significant symptom of a unilateral world order on the verge of collapse. To prevent a catastrophic conflagration, an unbiased engagement by the European Union is indispensable in order to decrease the regional security dilemma by ultimately establishing a nuclear-free Near and Middle East zone. Europe should assume responsibility vis-à-vis her neighboring region, for surrendering to New Order fantasies { l’Américaine will heavily harm her own interests. Français | La crise iranienne est devenue un synonyme pour une escalade dangereusement menant à la confrontation. Téhéran est accusé par l’Occident, mené par les Etats-Unis, de vouloir développer l’arme nucléaire. Ceci est en fait une culmination alarmante des relations américano-iraniennes depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale, comme nous entendons clairement les cloches de guerre sonner. Ce qui est derrière ce présent conflit irano-occidental doit être considéré en prenant en compte le contexte historique et politique : Commençant par le coup d’état de 1953 contre le gouvernement iranien démocratiquement

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élu de Mossadegh jusqu’aux guerres récentes dans la périphérie iranienne, la politique étrangère interventionniste des Américains dans la région la plus prépondérante pour l’économie mondiale, le MoyenOrient, atteste une continuité amère dans sa volonté de contrôler cette part du monde. Désormais, la nouvelle doctrine de guerres préventives des Etats-Unis offre la légitimité politique pour un tel agenda visé à sauvegarder son hégémonie mondiale vis-à-vis ses rivaux. Le champ de bataille majeur de cet agenda militariste de la politique mondiale des Etats-Unis semble se concentrer sur le « Grand MoyenOrient ». Face à un considérable dilemme sécuritaire, l’Iran se voit dorénavant ciblé en tant que membre exclusif de l’« Axe du Mal ». Cette étude veut clarifier les intérêts en jeu pour l’hyper-puissance. Elle veut ainsi argumenter que la seule manière significative de percevoir le conflit présent se fait par la considération des éléments de base au niveau politico-stratégique. Afin de réduire le dilemme sécuritaire régional, un engagement sérieux par l’Union européenne est indispensable qui devrait viser l’établissement d’une Conférence sur la sécurité et la coopération dans un Proche- et Moyen-Orient complètement dépourvu d’armes nucléaires. L’Europe devrait assumer ses responsabilités face à sa région voisine, car en cédant à des fantaisies d’un « New Order » { l’Américaine ses propres intérêts seront terriblement nuis. Deutsch | Die Iran-Krise ist zum Synonym einer gefahrenvollen Eskalation, die gen Konfrontation tendiert, geworden. Der von den Vereinigten Staaten geführte Westen wirft Teheran vor, die Atomwaffe entwickeln zu wollen. Dies ist in der Tat ein alarmierender Höhepunkt in den iranisch-amerikanischen Beziehungen seit Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs, zumal die Zeichen unverkennbar auf Krieg weisen. Um die Hintergründe dieses Konfliktes zu verstehen, darf ein Blick auf den historischen sowie politischen Kontext nicht außer Acht bleiben: Beginnend mit dem 1953 erfolgten Staatsstreich gegen Irans demokratisch gewählte Mossadegh-Regierung bis hin zu Kriegen neueren Datums in Irans Peripherie, zeugt die interventionistische US-Außenpolitik in der für die Weltwirtschaft ausschlaggebendsten Region, dem Mittleren Osten, von der bitteren Kontinuität diesen Teil der Welt beherrschen zu wollen. Die Präventivkriegs-Doktrin der USA stellt die politische Legitimation solch eines Unternehmens dar, dessen Anspruch es ist ihre weltumspannende Hegemonie aufrechtzuerhalten. Der dafür identifizierte Hauptkampfschauplatz scheint unverkennbar der „Größere Mittlere Osten“ zu sein. Einem existentiellen Sicherheitsdilemma ausgesetzt, sieht sich Iran derweil als exklusives Mitglied der „Achse des Bösen“ im unmittelbaren Schussfeld. Die vorliegende Studie beabsichtigt die auf dem Spiel stehenden Interessen der einzig verbliebenen Supermacht zu verdeutlichen. So argumentiert sie, dass die einzig konstruktive Weise diesen Konflikt zu betrachten eine sein muss, die den politisch-strategischen Implikationen bezüglichen des internationalen Systems Rechnung trägt. Um das regionale Sicherheitsdilemma zu verringern, ist ein ehrliches Engagement der Europäischen Union für eine nuklearfreie Zone unerlässlich. Europa sollte sich gegenüber seiner immens bedeutsamen Nachbarregion seiner Verantwortung stellen. Sich stattdessen amerikanischen Neuordnungsfantasien zu beugen, würde ihr großen Schaden zufügen.

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SOME REMARKS

GENERAL REMARKS  The sheets included in this paper are part of a PowerPoint presentation of the topic.  Underlined words are hyperlinked.  For Persian/Farsi names, the English phonetic transcription is being used (except those authors cited as well as citations). E.g. â stands for [a:]. For Afghan and other names, the prevalent English diction is used. ABBREVIATIONS $ U.S. dollar AEOI Atomic Energy Organization of Iran BoG Board of Governors (of the IAEA) EU European Union EU-3 The European Three, composed of Great Britain, France, and Germany G-8 Group of Eight comprising the Group of Seven (G-7) highly industrialized nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Russia IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency MinAtom Ministry for Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation (N)ME (Near and) Middle East NPT Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty NSS National Security Strategy of the United States OPEC Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries P5+1 The five U.N. Security Council veto powers plus Germany R&D research and development SCR Security Council Resolution UK United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) UN United Nations UNSC United Nations Security Council U.S. United States WTO World Trade Organization

Initial Words The motivation for conducting such a study was the simplistic, all too often lopsided, media coverage of the conflict erupting between the West, above all the United States, and Iran. Unfortunately that has not much changed since. This is an attempt to present multi-layered façades of the conflict’s international implications. Only through a complex account of what is actually at stake, peaceful means to settle the conflict can be sought. Identifying the global political conflict lines is a prerequisite to find feasible and acceptable ways to halt the dangerous escalation. An allegedly ‘military solution,’ causing a violent outbreak our world has hardly witnessed, would bring about terrible and unutterable consequences. Scholars dealing with matters of peace and conflict should acknowledge the immense significance to report in due time all the complexities and, all too often, ulterior motives of powerful actors shaping our world today. Bringing the results of such studies to public (and media) attention is not only desirable, but of utmost importance. All this in the endeavor to avoid a looming catastrophe on the horizon. A. F.-N., Gelsenkirchen (Germany), March 28, 2007

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Introduction WE ARE CONDUCTING MILITARY OPERATIONS INSIDE IRAN RIGHT NOW. THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING.

(RET. U.S. AIR FORCE COL. SAM GARDINER ON CNN [2006] IN SEPTEMBER 2006)

The world is at crossroads, and with it the unipolar world order deeply in crisis. Emerged as the world’s sole superpower after the collapse of the bipolar confrontation, the United States has become the hegemon in international relations. Preeminent militarily, this hyper-puissance has established a quasi-Empire that is highly under challenge, not least due to the quagmire in the aftermath of the neoconservative-orchestrated Iraq War. The bloody lessons from the hardnosed build-up to and hypocritical justifications of the occupation of Iraq compel us to take a calm look at the heated waters around the crisis with Iran. This escalating crisis magnificently affects the whole international system—with dividing lines running globally. Will Washington loose its Empire for the sake of preserving it? Why Iran has been chosen as target? What roles do Europe and other major powers play in this regard? If international peace and security is threatened, who are the driving forces behind that? And what effect would an Iran War have on the whole international system? A careful mapping of the issues at stake is crucial to grip economic and political factors of a geostrategic power game of high intensity and utmost emergency. In an initial effort to highlight the tremendous significance of the crisis regarding Iran, we will start examining in Chapter 1 the geoeconomic endowment of both the Middle East and Iran for the world and Great Powers’ geostrategy vis-à-vis Iran. Then, in Chapter 2, the global hegemon’s attention to the Middle East region, and particularly Iran, will be explained. For doing so, a discussion of the United States’ Grand Strategy and its implications for Iran—as well as the latter’s reactions to it—is necessary in order to understand the politico-strategic context in which the Iran crisis has emerged. In Chapter 3, we will address the issue of the Iran conflict. After assessing the accuracy of the focus set on Iran’s nuclear program, we will then go great length in evaluating the adequacy of European diplomacy towards Iran—in consideration of Washington’s afore-discussed foreign policy goals vis-à-vis Tehran. After explaining the vicious cycle of misguided diplomacy paving the way for escalation, effective guidelines and frameworks for a peaceful settlement will be indicated. In a final step, in Chapter 4, we will elevate our view to the global perspective, raising the questions of the very constitution of the international system and the fervent drive of the global hegemon for extending its unilateral preeminence—and its farreaching risks for all concerned. At the end, on the basis of the insights gained from the previous discussions, necessary initiatives for a durable pacification of the Near and Middle East region will be addressed, highlighting the contributions Europe could make. 

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GEOPOLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST 1. GEOECONOMIC CENTERS

(World Energy Outlook 2005, www.worldenergyoutlook.org/graphics/gr2.gif)

Middle Eastern countries have been taking center stage in international politics for so many decades, and are still today. Why is this so? Iran also makes reappearance in the headlines today. But why Iran once again? I will now show that both have a tremendous weight inside their respective geo-economic and geo-strategic realms, for that is indispensable if one intends to fully understand the geographical special position the region at stake is holding.

1.1.1. The Middle East’s Centrality for the World The world is dependent on the ME natural resources: In terms of oil, we can classify—pursuant to MASSARRAT (2004)—, for 2005, different scales of dependencies vis-à-vis this region: For the United States, you have a 17.33% dependency (i.e. low dependency), for Europe, 23.71% (i.e. relatively large regional dependency), for China 40.19%, for Japan 81.70%, and for other Asian Pacific nations a 79.66% dependency (i.e. complete dependency).1 The ME provides for the largest regional share in worldwide crude oil production (IEA 2006: 10, see

Regional Shares of Crude Oil Production (IEA 2006: 10). Total production in 2005: 3,923 million tons (Mt). [*Asia except China]

fig.). As for gas, the ME ranks top with 40.1% of the world’s proved reserves in late 2005 (BP 2006: 22). 1

Own calculations based on BP 2006: 20, Table ‘Oil: Inter-area movements 2005.’ It can be added that the United States and Japan are Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s largest oil customers, respectively (see United States Congress Joint Economic Committee [2006], “Iran’s Oil and Gas Wealth,” Research Report #109-31, March; obtained from www.house.gov/jec).

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1.1.2. Iran’s Centrality in the Middle East—and Beyond Various reasons ought to be mentioned in order to underscore the central position the country of Iran holds in the Middle East region: Iran’s geo-strategic position: o

in the West: the Arab Near and Middle East [NME] as well as Israel (the region’s number one military power);

o

in its North: the Caspian Sea, most probably the 21st century’s geo-strategic bone of contention (cf. AMINEH 2000);

o

on the Eastern flank: the non-Arab Middle East (Afghanistan and Pakistan), India (an emerging heavyweight power), former Soviet republics (rich in natural resources and bone of contention between grand powers) as well as China (the next superpower?);

o

in the South: the Persian Gulf (world’s number one source for oil) as well as the Arab Gulf states;

o

second in terms of surface (1,648,000 km², i.e. larger than Germany’s, France’s, and Spain’s surfaces taken together) after Saudi-Arabia in the NME;

o

its capital Tehran is the largest city in the NME, with almost 13 million inhabitants. The country’s demography: 72 million inhabitants, i.e. largest population in NME as well

as the world’s youngest population; and natural resources: o

for oil, second after Saudi-Arabia in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and fourth in worldwide production (in 2005) 2 as well as fifth as to oil exports (in 2004)3 (IEA 2006: 11);4

o

as to gas, Iran has the world’s greatest reserves after Russia,5 but in 2005 was only the seventh greatest exporter worldwide (IEA 2006: 13). Iran is the only country which serves as a geostrategic linkage between the two main

fossil cores of our time.6 Furthermore, its size, population, and its own huge resources— accompanied by a long-standing precious civilization are founding the bases for the country to play an outstanding role in world politics. 2

The ranking is as follows (of total world crude oil production): Saudi Arabia 13.2%, Russia 12.0%, the U.S. 7.8%, and Iran 5.2%. 3 Here the ranking is as follows (in million tons [Mt]): Saudi Arabia 346, Russia 258, Norway 132, Nigeria 123, and Iran 122. As far as exports of crude oil and petroleum products in 2004 are concerned, Iran ranks fourth behind Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Norway (IEA 2006: 23). 4 Iran produces 3.7 million barrel oil per day, almost 300,000 barrels below the quota set by OPEC. Such a difference signifies, according to STERN, an annual loss of $5.5 billion (2007: 377-78). In 2004, the profits from the oil business comprised 63 percent of the Iranian State’s revenue (p. 377). 5 At the end of 2005, Russia’s share of 26.6% of global proved reserves of natural gas ranks top, with Iran (with 14.9%) and Qatar (14.3%) following (BP 2006). 6 Iran is further in the best position to be the main transit country for fossil energies. But its pariah status has undermined such an outcome.

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GEOPOLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

2. GEOSTRATEGIC HOT SPOT

Source: arte, “Le Dessous des Cartes.”

As we have seen, the Middle East—and therein Iran—in fact constitutes the world economy’s most crucial region since the latter is still based on resources such as petroleum and gas. The combination of these fossil energies in the region and the core position it holds in America’s foreign policy contributed to the region’s bloody reputation as a global hot spot—and even prior to the end of the Cold War as main battlefield for rivalries between various Great Powers. The fall of the Iron Curtain did not affect the tremendous strategic relevance of this region, but highlighted it as global oil demand from various actors in the globalization process is continuingly on the rise. American foreign policy experts and advisors—from Brzezinski, Kissinger to neoconservatives—agree upon that the Near and Middle East region is also the most crucial one when it comes to the sole remaining superpower’s ‘longstanding national interests,’ thus necessitating U.S. control over that region. As the proclaimed goal of the U.S. strategy in the Middle East is to democratize the autocratic structures at place (outlined below in 2.1.4. on the Greater Middle East Initiative)—, it will now be discussed in which political circumstances global oil demand can be best satisfied. Then, we will briefly discuss the tense history of Great Powers rivalry in and around Iran.

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1.2.1. Oil and Democracy IF THE CHIEF NATURAL RESOURCE OF THE MIDDLE EAST WERE BANANAS, THE REGION WOULD NOT HAVE ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF U.S. POLICYMAKERS AS IT HAS FOR DECADES.

(RICHMAN 1991) THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE GOOD LORD DIDN’T SEE FIT TO PUT OIL AND GAS RESERVES WHERE THERE ARE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS

(DICK CHENEY, THEN CEO OF HALLIBURTON, AT A 1996 ENERGY CONFERRENCE IN NEW ORLEANS)

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In contrast to the views of many consumers in the West that the oil price is at a high level, according to its real price oil is cheaper today than in the 1980s and scarcely more expensive than in the early of the 1930s when the international oil market was set up. Despite the facts that global oil demand tremendously rose by 2,000 percent and oil resources are becoming scarcer, the oil price—in contradiction to any market logic—stayed at a low level. (MASSARRAT 2005a) In order to set the market price for oil at a level that satisfies both producers and consumers, market participants’ sovereign action is indispensable. Thus for assuring this basic Neoclassical assumption in terms of market and equilibrium theory, democracy is inseparable to the sovereignty of market participants. The annuity rate of oil, representing a great share of revenues from the oil market, is subject to struggles between the political élite of the producer countries and the level of subsidies for the importing nations’ oil consumption (EHRKE 2003: 12-13). The higher the oil price, the less profits for those two entities. But as we take a look at the democratic deficits of much of the Middle Eastern oil-rich countries, we might understand why the oil price could not be evolving according to Neoclassical theory. In the early 1970s the oil-owning countries of the South have transferred their market sovereignty to half a dozen multinational oil corporations, while being content with a share of 10 to 20 percent of total gains. An era of latent over-production followed as competition in this highly profitable sector grew over the years. The results were prices between $1 and $2 per barrel. Not only did oil-trading multinational corporations (MNCs) became the world’s strongest financial players, but cheap oil soon marked the basis for Western mass consumption and prosperity—all this to Middle Eastern nations’ detriment. (MASSARRAT 2005a) Those oppressive contracts between producers and consumers were signed by the region’s corrupt élites who herewith sought to stabilize their rule in an openly colonial era of world history (AMIRPUR 2002). In an act of self-determination and sovereignty upon own oil resources, in 1951, the first democratically elected government in Iran—but also the first one of the region—declared the nationalization of the country’s oil, then exploited by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), as its chief objective. Elected ‘Person of the Year’ in 1951 in the American news

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Cited in PEMBERTON, Miriam, ed. (2004), Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) PetroPolitics Special Report, January, 53 pages, p. 31. URL

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magazine The Time, the Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, soon became a symbol of Third World resistance against Western imperialism and exploitation. As his oil nationalization act harshly undermined American and British interests, in a joint Anglo-American effort Mossadegh and his government were deposed in 1953 (cf. also KAZEMZADEH 2003). In a next step, the then ousted Shah of Iran was reinstalled by the Americans. Thus the monarch’s dictatorship was put back in place; and the popular democratic movement with Mossadegh at its head harshly exterminated (GAVIN 1999). The reason behind the coup d’état was the West’s angst vis-à-vis the adaptation of the Mossadegh model. The international system at place was endangered as the example of a Third World country pursuing independence and national empowerment risked being imitated.8 Under increasing legitimacy pressure by the own population, in early 1970s even dictators were pushed to nationalize the oil industry, thus gaining a little amount of their lost market sovereignty. What followed are the widely known—from the Western perspective—two oil crises: in 1974, due to the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the price experienced a rise from $2 to $10 per barrel, and the 1979 revolution in Iran set the oil price at $40. But despite gaining formal sovereignty over own oil sources, a real democratization did not take place. The ruling petrodollar monarchies continued to cooperate with the world’s greatest oil consumer, the United States. The deal made between them can be summarized as follows: the securing of own rule and military cooperation versus a moderate oil price policy (MASSARRAT 2005a). This brief retrospect with the protruding Mossadegh coup boldly illustrates that if a country rich in oil has a political system in which democratic control is exercised, then this will run counter to oil-consuming industrialized states’ interests. Given this reverse interaction between oil price and democratic polity in oil-producing countries, a skeptical look at so-called democratization efforts put forward by hegemonic powers is certainly—as the historic record suggests— more than appropriate.

1.2.2. Iran and Great Powers Rivalry The world economy’s core region has ever since been the hot spot in international politics, with Great Powers satisfying their vital interests located in the Middle East region, in particular Iran, by considerably intervening into the region’s affairs.

a) Cold War and Shah Era Iran’s relations with its neighbors prior to 1979 can be reflected in the Cold War context, wherein the capitalist and communist blocks were facing each other. Iran under the Shah was then the closest U.S. partner in the Middle East, while Turkey and Israel completed the triad of Washing8

For more on the coup d’état of Mossadegh and related issues, see the Iran Documentation Project at the George Washington University’s National Security Archive.

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ton’s allies. These three countries—especially a strongly armed Iran—were meant to stand as a wall against Soviet influence, so to prevent Moscow to connect to the Persian Gulf. Iran’s strategic alliance with Israel provoked Arab anger,9 particularly during numerous Israeli-Arab conflicts. Thus Irano-Arab relations were marked by a high degree of tensions, which was especially due to—at least forced by—Great Power rivalries and interests in the region (cf. IBRAHIM 2004).

b) Iranian Revolution as Shock for Western Interests The Iranian Revolution—i.e. the downfall of the U.S.-backed Shah regime—was conceived as a tremendous shock for Western, particularly U.S. interests. The speedy revolution suddenly established a vacuum for U.S. interests as Iran declared the dawn of an independent foreign policy, especially regarding to its energy resources (cf. 1973/74 oil crisis). Moreover, Iran was feared as an example for an independent, anti-imperialistic Third World country—as witnesses one of the revolutionary slogans: ‘neither Western nor Eastern’ (cf. AFRASIABI 2002; SARRESCHTEHDARI 2001).

c) Post-Revolutionary Confrontation Washington thus engaged in preventing the new strategic situation erupting from the Iranian Revolution from undermining its interests in the region and encouraged Iraq under Saddam to attack the neighboring country. An eight-year long war followed, being the most severe war in history after World War Two with about one million victims. In politico-strategic terms, the IraqIran war was a war fought by Iran against both the West and the East, as Germany (delivering tanks and biochemical warfare), France (providing mirages aircrafts), the United States—along with Arab states—as well as the Soviet Union predominantly favored Baghdad, offering military and intelligence support during the war period. The U.S., for example, lent various kinds of support to Saddam, delivering satellite images of Iran’s defenses at a time when the use of sarin and mustard gas employed against Iranian civilians by Iraq’s military was known. As foreign policy advisor Henry Kissinger then underscored, it was in America’s national interest to prolong this war as long as possible, noting that it was “too bad they can’t both lose” (cf. TIMES 1987). At the end, Iran managed to defend itself against the aggressor due to the country’s successful mass mobilization. The American government reacted to the new geopolitical setting in the Middle East caused by the Iranian Revolution by kicking off a policy of isolation and containment (cf. economic sanctions in April 1995 by the Clinton Administration as well as Iran’s classification as a ‘rogue state’) accompanied by a demonization of post-revolutionary Iran.





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Although most of Arab regimes have been installed through Anglo-Saxon interference, they worried about that the Tehran-Tel Aviv alliance would undermine their interests in the region.

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THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE ME 1. 21st CENTURY U.S. GRAND STRATEGY 1.1. On How to Designate

American Supremacy 1.2. The ‘Cheney Report’ on Energy Policy, May 2001 1.3. The National Security Strategy (NSS), 2002 2.1.1. On How to Designate American Supremacy Hegemony represents a useful concept for grasping dominance phenomena in international relations. The notion implies the coercion or acknowledged leadership of a specific actor in pursuit of own interests, utilizing different layers of power which it has at its disposal. A hegemonic power is “a state ... able to impose its set of rules on the interstate system, and thereby create temporarily a new political order.” (WALLERSTEIN 2002: 357) Hegemony does also imply the global outreach of powerful political actors, mostly countries, to fields being defined as essential to their rule. Despite the centrality of power relations in the fields of politics, economy, technology, and military, the ideological dimension of hegemony as the exercise of consensual domination is indispensable (GRAMSCI 1971). In the effort to promote peaceful alternatives, it is indispensable to analyze the dominant hegemonic discourse and to expose material interests hiding behind it. This is even more crucial in times where the practice of noble virtues—such as human rights and democracy—heralding military action is almost taken for granted. Only by dismantling such rhetoric through uncovering agendas and mechanisms of hegemonic rule, paths to establishing peace can be paved. Moreover, the hegemonic orientation of U.S. foreign policy has bluntly entered the inner-American debate about Washington’s role in the world. Herein the term hegemony comprises the goal that the U.S. should be immune against any challenge which could possibly occur. The term is frequently used in all discussions about American global dominance, American Empire (cf. RILLING 2004), or pax americana, both by supporters and critics of the United States’ global policy. While there is still debate about which term to use—in general, between ‘hegemony’ and ‘empire’— when it comes to adequately grasp the current world order, for the purpose of this paper I would prefer the notion ‘hegemony.’ I will do so because it is intended to discuss Washington’s global policy objectives more than broaching the issue of transnational ruling structures, devoid 13

of any territorial binding, as the term ‘empire’ would rather comprise. As will be seen, this is even more useful as the United States’ policies seem to intend to knock down America’s global rivals—also their alleged ‘allies.’10 But considering the huge number of 737 11 U.S. military bases in more than 130 countries, with “over half a million U.S. troops, spies, contractors, dependents, and others,” except those in Iraq and Afghanistan (JOHNSON 2007a), this strong case for global power-projection can, if it must, be justifiably designated as an ‘American Empire,’—or, as Chalmers JOHNSON puts it, an “ever more all-encompassing imperial ‘footprint’” (2007b). Already under the Clinton Administration the direction of American foreign and security policy was set towards safeguarding U.S. global predominance (RUDOLF 2001) and maintaining it at all conceivable levels—a so-called ‘full-spectrum dominance,’ as prescribed in the Joint Vision 2010 (published on May 30, 2000, cf. SCHÖFBÄNKER 2000). First outlined in the policy paper Rebuilding America’s Defenses12 (DONNELLY ET AL. 2000), a unipolar world order deriving from American supremacy should be enduringly established (DONNELLY 2003). It was the belief that any reduction of American power would inevitably cause more conflict or even favor newly emerging blocks that justifies that aspiration for permanent predominance. Therefore a unipolar world with the U.S. at its head would be the most stable of all systems. (WOHLFORTH 1999) Long before 9/11 this pax americana was proclaimed by American neoconservatives as a strategic goal to be warranted through new, and costly, military capabilities (cf. DONNELLY ET AL. 2000: 14), but as Chalmers JOHNSON remarks: A component of their [the neoconservatives’—A. F.-N.] grand design was a redeployment and streamlining of the military. The initial rationale was for a program of transformation that would turn the armed forces into a lighter, more agile, more high-tech military, which, it was imagined, would free up funds that could be invested in imperial policing. (2007b)13 10

In how far the aggressive U.S. policy respects a transnational global class’s interests is a highly interesting— and certainly tremendously important—field to study. 11 As the Pentagon official papers—in this case, the 2005 Base Structure Report—do not reflect the actual number of worldwide U.S. military bases, JOHNSON (2007b) believes the number to top one thousand. 12 Following individuals participated or contributed in this report of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC): Roger Barnett (U.S. Naval War College), Alvin Bernstein, Stephen Cambone (both National Defense University), Eliot Cohen (Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University), Devon Gaffney Cross (Donors’ Forum for International Affairs), Thomas Donnelly (PNAC), David Epstein (Office of Secretary of Defense, Net Assessment), David Fautua (Lt. Col., U.S. Army), Dan Goure (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Donald Kagan (Yale University), Fred Kagan (U.S. Military Academy at West Point), Robert Kagan (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Robert Killebrew (Col., USA [Ret.]), William Kristol (The Weekly Standard), Mark Lagon (Senate Foreign Relations Committee), James Lasswell (GAMA Corporation), I. Lewis Libby (Dechert Price & Rhoads), Robert Martinage (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment), Phil Meilinger (U.S. Naval War College), Mackubin Owens (U.S. Naval War College), Steve Rosen (Harvard University), Gary Schmitt (PNAC), Abram Shulsky (The RAND Corporation), Michael Vickers (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment), Barry Watts (Northrop Grumman Corporation), Paul Wolfowitz (Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University), and Dov Zakheim (System Planning Corporation). All the protagonists’ posts indicated are taken from the report itself (DONNELLY ET AL. 2000: 90) and thus reflect the positions held at that time. 13 For the United States’ military strategy after the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, see the U.S. Department of Defense’s Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy, known informally as the ‘Global Posture Review.’ (cf. also JOHNSON 2007b).

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With George W. Bush jr., however, stepping into office, the gap between pretension and reality sensitively shortened. In order to better comprehend the background of today’s escalating conflict with Iran, it is useful to look at the effectual global hegemon’s strategic orientation, drafting the sole remaining global superpower’s grand strategy in general, and in particular towards the Middle Eastern area and in regard to Iran.

2.1.2. The ‘Cheney Report’ on Energy Policy (May 2001): On Securing Oil THE INTERNATIONAL OIL MARKET IS NOT A FREE, BUT A POLITICALLY CONTROLLED MARKET, THE ECONOMY OF OIL IS A POLITICAL ECONOMY.14

(EHRKE 2003: 12)

At the outset of George W. Bush’s administration, the President directed Vice-President Dick Cheney to develop guidelines for U.S. energy policy. The task of the report by the NATIONAL ENERGY

POLICY DEVELOPMENT GROUP15 (NEPD 2001) was to set America’s energy perspectives for the

next two decades. It projects that by 2020 two-thirds of U.S. oil demand ought to be imported, signifying the doubling of the level at the dawn of the 21st century, thus stating: “A fundamental imbalance between supply and demand defines our nation’s energy crisis.” (IBID.: viii) Therefore the report recommends the extension of the fossil energy sector and calls upon the President that “[e]nergy security must be priority of U.S. trade and foreign policy.” (IBID.: xv) As will be briefly indicated now, the so-called Cheney Report not only provoked the U.S. to move out from the Kyoto Protocol, but implies geopolitical dimensions of much more gravity. It is only in the eighth and last chapter, entitled Strengthening Global Alliances, that the reports basic purpose becomes clear, beginning with “U.S. national energy security depends on sufficient energy supplies to support U.S. and global economic growth.” (8—1) While emphasizing the need for diversification of U.S. energy supply, the report contrastingly does not challenge American reliance on imported oil, but “[t]he basic goal of the Cheney plan is to find additional external sources of oil for the United States.” (KLARE 2004: 4). Therefore alliances with “high –priority countries” (NEPD 2001: 8—7), such as former Soviet Caspian Sea countries and Russia, have to be enforced (IBID.: 8—12; 8—13-8—14). Further, the report observes that “Asia holds less than 5 14

Own translation. The original reads: “Der internationale Erdölmarkt ist kein freier, sondern ein politisch kontrollierter Markt, die Ökonomie des Öls ist eine politische Ökonomie.” 15 Members of the NEPD Group are Dick Cheney (Vice President), Colin L. Powell (Secretary of State), Paul O’Neill (Secretary of the Treasury), Gale Norton (Secretary of the Interior), Ann M. Veneman (Secretary of Agriculture), Donald L. Evans (Secretary of Commerce), Norman Y. Mineta (Secretary of Transportation), Spencer Abraham (Secretary of Energy), Joe M. Allbaugh (Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency), Christine Todd Whitman (Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency), Joshua B. Bolton (Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy), Mitchell E. Daniels (Director of the Office of Management and Budget), Lawrence B. Lindsey (Assistant to the President for Economic Policy), Ruben Barrales (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs), and Andrew D. Lundquist as the Group’s Executive Director (NEPD 2001: vi).

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percent of world proven oil reserves, but accounts for more than 10 percent of oil production and about 30 percent of world oil consumption” and underlines that both Asian developing countries, especially India and China—the latter being “a critical player in global energy security issues”— heavily depend upon ME imports. It is stressed that the ME “remain[s] vital to U.S. interests” as by 2020 Persian Gulf oil producers were projected to supply two-thirds of the world’s oil (all IBID.: 8—14). Consequently, this area will play a tremendous role and “be a primary focus of U.S.international energy policy, but our engagement will be global, spotlighting existing and emerging regions that will have a major impact on the global energy balance.” (8—5) Accordingly, the report strongly recommends U.S. engagement to open up the energy sectors of Persian Gulf Arab countries (both IBID.: 8—5). However, the before mentioned U.S. ‘energy crisis’ is relativized affirming that “[t]he rate of growth in U.S. oil demand has slowed significantly since the first oil shocks of the 1970s” (8—1). In this light, the importance of the geopolitical dimension of the report’s recommendations comes to the fore. Accordingly, the document connects global oil supply with Washington’s geoeconomic policy goals: We should not, however, look at energy security in isolation from the rest of the world. In a global energy marketplace, U.S. energy and economic security are directly linked not only to our domestic and international energy supplies, but to those of our trading partners as well. A significant disruption in world oil supplies could adversely affect our economy and our ability to promote key foreign and economic policy objectives, regardless of the level of U.S. dependence on oil imports. (8—3) This can be understood in terms of focusing the attention of U.S. global policies on the role global energy supplies play to advance overall American objectives, also undeniably towards its current and emergent rivals as they all heavily depend on the import of petroleum. Thus concentration on the strategic significance of the global energy system is indispensable. What is more, “the architects of the Bush-Cheney policy know that ensuring access to some oil sources may prove impossible without the use of military force.” (KLARE 2004: 10) And the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea areas’ blatant militarization serves as an obvious proof of the United States’ ‘vital interest’ to secure his, but above all its rivals’ energy supply. In this light, the NEPD’s message encouraged the occupation of Iraq which has the world’s second largest proven oil reserves (EHRKE 2003). Due to the U.S. embargo, Baghdad’s oil has been exploited by non-American companies, and this situation had to be reversed in order to meet the report’s recommendations. It is commonly known that leading U.S. energy companies were strongly involved in drafting the ‘Cheney report’: The decades-long supply of Western national economies with cheap oil generated the establishment of a de facto subsidized ‘petro-industrial complex’ (from the oil till the automobile

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industry) which relies on the continuous inflow of cheap oil—and is politically strong enough to affect government policies of Western democracies.16 (EHRKE 2003: 13) The ‘Cheney Report’ thus serves as a blunt example of the complicity between the so-called “petro-industrial complex” (IBID.: 13) and the military-industrial one (MIC) as it requires tight cooperation of both sectors to satisfy the aims of U.S. grand strategy.

2.1.3. The 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy: The ‘Preemptive’ Strike Doctrine WE WILL ACTIVELY WORK TO BRING THE HOPE OF DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT, FREE MARKETS, AND FREE TRADE TO EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE.

(NSS, SEPTEMBER 2002)

The National Security Strategies have no legal force of their own but serve as a guidepost for agencies and officials drawing up policies in a range of military, diplomatic and other arenas (BAKER 2006). The 2002 published The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS) forms—predominantly in the form of a political manifesto—the basis of U.S. post-Cold War global strategy at the beginning of the 21st century. Herein aspects of the two dominant U.S. schools of thoughts in international relations (IR) are included: On the one hand, pursuit of classical Machtpolitik along with politics of national interest according to the realist canon and on the other, liberal internationalists’ claim for offensively extending democracy and marketeconomy are being considered. Simultaneously, in the effort to push for a consequent hegemonic outline, some core elements of these both IR schools were put aside: realism’s—more precisely defensive realism’s—assertion not to overstretch the use of force as well as internationalism’s claim for multilateral cooperation (WAGNER 2003: 7). The NSS explicitly draws the outlines for the United States’ global outreach by offering “a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise” (NSS 2002: iv) which America should bring to “every corner of the world” (IBID.: v). The NSS thus clarifies the major objectives the U.S. should follow in its foreign policy centered on a new kind of “internationalism” (IBID.: 1). By this term the neoconservative authors allude to the global stage upon which their policy guidelines should be exercised. They stress the following pillars: Acknowledging the new post-Cold War realities while fighting terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (either in regard to States or groups); promoting democracy and human rights globally; developing market economies and free trade on a global scale along neoliberal economic patterns; and adapting the existing system of international cooperation to new settings and requirements. All this should imply the use of military force and also cooperation with allies whenever this suits American interests. This ‘globalization of the Monroe Doctrine’ (DE WILDE 2003) is endorsed with a decisive element: What makes the NSS so revolutionary is the institutionalization 16

Own translation. The original reads: “Die über viele Jahrzehnte hinweg garantierte Versorgung der westlichen Volkswirtschaften mit billigem Öl ließ einen de facto subventionierten »petro-industriellen Komplex« (von der Erdöl- bis zur Automobilindustrie) entstehen, der auf einen kontinuierlichen Zustrom billigen Öls angewiesen – und politisch stark genug ist, die Regierungspolitik der westlichen Demokratien zu beeinflussen.”

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of the preventive strikes which counters existing prescriptions of international law. It hast to be underlined that the term ‘preemption’ is being misleadingly used as ‘preemption’ is covered by international law signifying a military reaction toward a provable and imminent attack (cf. Article 51, U.N. Charta). In reality ‘prevention’ is meant, as it comprises military reaction against a possibly, by no means certainly occurring threat. This however is a clear breach of international law and moreover the factual suspension of State sovereignty and the obligation of nonaggression (WAGNER 2003; MÄRKER 2004: 3-4). The so-called Bush, or Wolfowitz Doctrine, which was first announced three months earlier by President Bush in his speech at West Point’s military academy, provides the political legitimacy for any action pursued by America in its ‘global war on terror’: The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction—and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. (NSS 2002: 15) Put in other words, the newly established preemptive war doctrine points to the “the use of military force to eliminate an invented or imagined threat” (CHOMSKY 2003; cf. also MEGGLE 2006) and sets the ground for a confrontational course with the rest of the world (WAGNER 2003). Based on the assumption that today there is a huge gap in terms of power, especially military, between the United States and the rest of the world—as implied in the concept of an ‘American Empire’—the NSS suggests to establish a global and enduring pax americana and therefore calls for an activist policy based upon military superiority beyond challenge, war against terror, and prevention (RILLING 2004): “The unparalleled strength of the United States armed forces, and their forward presence, have maintained the peace in some of the world’s most strategically vital regions.” (NSS 2002: 29) American ‘forward presence’ in such regions is most keenly felt in the Caspian and Persian Gulf regions where “radical extension of stationing U.S. troops” [own translation] (WAGNER 2003: 3) takes place. This new “imperial grand strategy,” the prominent IR theorist and Princeton scholar John IKENBERRY underlines, proclaims the United States as “a revisionist state seeking to parlay its momentary advantages into a world order in which it runs the show,” since “no state or coalition could ever challenge it as global leader, protector, and enforcer.” Nevertheless he recognizes the NSS’s potential to endanger the dominant role the U.S. is holding (2002).

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THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE ME 1.4. Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI), 2004 1.5.

NSS, 2006

• How broad is your vision of the Greater Middle East? • As great as the word “HEGEMONY.“ (Y.Abedlaki, AlKhaleej, 6/9/04)

2.1.4. The Greater Middle East Initiative (2004): America’s Restructuring Offensive In the aftermath of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the United States announced its vision of a democratized broader Middle East region. In November 2003, the White House announces one of the most important speeches of the President during his first term in office, which is held at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) 17. Therein George W. Bush introduces announced a new Forward Strategy of Freedom, which classifies democracy promotion in the ME as Washington’s prime goal on its foreign policy agenda. While concrete policy formulations lacked, the Bush’s religious fervor was not to miss (AMARI 2005: 811). This project officially embodies three main corner-stones: promotion of democracy and good governance; establishment of a knowledge society; as well as extension of economic potentials through liberalization (AL-HAYAT 2004). According to its initiators, the Greater Middle East Initiative takes as its starting point the huge deficits of Arab countries put forward by the 2002 and 2003 U.N. Arab Human Development Program (UNAHDP). After having identified the interventionist nature of America’s vision for the Middle East, a large debate broke out about the geographical limitations of the plan: While some consider nearly the whole Muslim world (from Marrakesh to Bangladesh), others limit its scope till Pakistan. However it is clear that all the oilrich Middle Eastern countries, i.e. also Iran, are involved herein. The GMEI, which intends to limit any threat posed to all G-8 members’ national interests, such as “extremism, terrorism, international crime, and illegal migration,” (IBID.) was first presented as a draft proposal to America’s G8 counterparts in early 2004. The London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat obtained and published a copy of this. Due to some reservations by European countries because of the plan’s too offensive 17

For a short discussion about the role the NED think-tank played in Reagan’s foreign policy, see SCHMID (2005).

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tone, a revised version of the proposal was later issued at the June 2004 Sea Island (Georgia, U.S.) Summit of the G-8, but also at other U.S.-EU and NATO summits. This more ‘diplomatic’ version was then titled by the G-8 Summit’s participants Partnership for Progress and a Common Future with Region of the Broader Middle East and North Africa and later adopted. The GMEI can be seen as the culmination of many foreign policy proposals made by neoconservative policy advisers in recent years and even before 9/11. The identification of the key figures responsible for the U.S. Broader Middle East initiative as key protagonists of the much controversial shape of U.S. foreign policy on the Middle East gained much criticism. The more visible of these are Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Under-Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, Richard Perle (Defense Policy Board), David Wurmser (Vice-President Dick Cheney's adviser), and Danielle Pletka (a vice-president of the neoconservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute [AEI]) (ALJAZEERA 2004). Therefore it is important to note that the U.S. government, besides this ‘democratization offensive,’ pursues another Greater Middle East project, this time in undisguised hegemonic terms: first of all, the removal of allegedly aggressive and war-prone ‘rogue states’—although this assumption is being empirically refuted (cf. CAPRIOLI & TRUMBORE 2005)18—as already realized in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq, and since a while harshly voiced against the Iranian regime, while putting in place American-oriented leading élites and also organizing elections; secondly, under the label of Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiated bilateral agreements focused on establishing military bases across the Middle East region, such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and the Persian Gulf Arab sheikhdoms; and thirdly, cooperation with friendly States through money and arms (MASSARRAT 2005b). Therefore the GMEI has to be primarily considered as a hegemonic project rather than a policy plan with a real democratization intention (SCHMID 2006).

2.1.5. The 2006 U.S. National Security Strategy: Putting Iran in Crosshairs In March 2006 the White House published a new National Security Strategy.19 The U.S. President’s foreword – in his letter to his “fellow Americans” – starts with an apocalyptic tone: “America is at war. This is a wartime national security strategy required by the great challenge we face – the rise of terrorism […]” (NSS 2006: I). Focusing expansively on America’s war on terror, beyond the post-invasion-orders in Afghanistan and Iraq, the new NSS aims at “[e]nding tyranny” also in countries such as North-Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma, and Zimbabwe (p. 3). Every nation should strive for “effective democracy” defined along neoliberal patterns (4). The United States defines its goal in turning tyrannies into democracies. The alternatives for the achieve18

In the very first empirical testing of that common notion of U.S. foreign policy, American political scientists CAPRIOLI and TRUMBORE find that so-called ‘rogue States’ are no more likely to use force than others (2005). 19 Although a 1986 U.S. law requires that the National Security Strategy be revised annually, this was the first new version since 2002.

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ment of such a goal are outlined here: “In some cases, we will take vocal and visible steps on behalf of immediate change. In other cases, we will lend more quiet support to lay the foundation for future reforms.” (6) As to the Middle East region, the U.S. should engage in “[s]trengthening and building new initiatives such as the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative’s Foundation for the Future” (6). Iran, along with Syria, is considered to “[…] harbor terrorists at home and sponsor terrorist activity abroad.” (9) In order to resolve such problems, the U.S. will pursue a fight which “involves using military force and other instruments of national power to kill or capture the terrorists, deny them safe haven or control of any nation; prevent them from gaining access to WMD; […]” (9) By “using all elements of national power” (18), Washington considers “[s]afe, credible, and reliable nuclear forces [to] continue to play a critical role.“ (22). As did the 2002 NSS, the new version underlines the centrality of the preventive strike doctrine: “[W]e do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur” “[s]ince this is the principle and logic of preemption” (23). As to Iran, the 2006 NSS tightens the tone when saying “[a]ny government that chooses to be an ally of terror, such as Syria or Iran, has chosen to be an enemy of freedom, justice, and peace. The world must hold those regimes to account.“ (p. 12) Moreover the NSS clearly indicates that “[t]he proliferation of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to our [that of the United States—the author] national security.“ (19) Among the “serious challenges” in Washington’s ‘War on Terror’ which remain is foremost Tehran that “has violated its Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards obligations and refuses to provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.” (both 19). On the resolution offered to this, the NSS is highly clear: We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran. For almost 20 years, the Iranian regime hid many of its key nuclear efforts from the international community. Yet the regime continues to claim that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons. The Iranian regime’s true intentions are clearly revealed by the regime’s refusal to negotiate in good faith; its refusal to come into compliance with its international obligations by providing the IAEA access to nuclear sites and resolving troubling questions; and the aggressive statements of its President calling for Israel to “be wiped off the face of the earth.” The United States has joined with our EU partners and Russia to pressure Iran to meet its international obligations and provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided. As important as are these nuclear issues, the United States has broader concerns regarding Iran. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of U.S. policy. In the interim, we will continue to take all necessary measures to protect our national and economic security against the adverse effects of their bad conduct. The problems lie with the illicit behavior and dangerous ambition of the Iranian regime, not the legitimate aspirations and interests of the Iranian people. Our strategy is to block the threats posed by the regime while expanding our engagement and outreach to the people the regime is oppressing. (IBID.: 20-21)

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Signaling sympathy with the Iranian people, the report stresses: “Tyrannical regimes such as Iran and Syria that oppress at home and sponsor terrorism abroad know that we will continue to stand with their people against their misrule.“ (38) Obviously, according to the revised NSS, Iran presents the greatest challenge to U.S. interests and security. Which means does the report bring forward to counter such a ‘challenge’ for the U.S.? “Some conflicts pose such a grave threat to our broader interests and values that conflict intervention may be needed to restore peace and stability.” (16) ‘Conflict intervention’ has to be seen in direct contact with the principle of preemptive strikes: Taking action need not involve military force. Our strong preference and common practice is to address proliferation concerns through international diplomacy, in concert with key allies and regional partners. If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize. This is the principle and logic of preemption. The place of preemption in our national security strategy remains the same. (23) Against the background of a “new strategic environment require[ing] new approaches to deterrence and defense,” “[s]afe, credible, and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role.” For the aim of deterrence, the United States should also use “offensive strike systems (both nuclear and improved conventional capabilities)”. The question of leadership is answered without much further ado: “Meeting WMD proliferation challenges also requires effective international action – and the international community is most engaged in such action when the United States leads.“ (all 22) As Jorge HIRSCH20 indicates, the 2006 NSS predicts that the nuclear threshold may soon be crossed in an armed confrontation with Iran (2006). This is the result of the changing U.S. nuclear policy during the last five years, culminating in the 2005 DOCTRINE FOR JOINT NUCLEAR OPERATIONS where the use of nuclear weapons in a variety of situations against non-nuclear adversaries is being considered.

2.1.6. A Highly Explosive Mixture While the 2002 NSS sets the framework of Washington’s new preemptive strike doctrine and the revised 2006 version suggests the use of nuclear arms in confrontation with whoever endangers U.S. global dominance—with Iran classified as the greatest challenge, the May 2001 National Energy Policy report had already identified the place where this should be carried out: the region 20

Jorge E. Hirsch is professor at the Physics Department of the University of California in San Diego. He became famous worldwide in 2005-2006 with his public warnings about the increasing risk of nuclear war due to what he claims is an unnecessarily aggressive military nuclear policy of the United States (see URL). In fall 2005, he initiated a letter that put together a petition signed by more than 1,800 physicists that repudiated new U.S. nuclear weapons policies that include preemptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries. On April 17, 2006 Hirsch along with eminent physicists—numerous Nobel laureates being among them—sent a letter to President Bush, calling the use of nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible.” For his articles documenting the dangers associated with a potential U.S. nuclear strike on Iran, see URL.

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with tremendous amounts of fossil energy—the Greater Middle East—is subjected to a new order initiative { l’Américaine. All these policy papers combined offer a highly explosive mixture, carefully preparing the ground for U.S. military interventions in the last couple of years. Chalmers JOHNSON sums it up that way: By the end of the 1990s, the neoconservatives were developing their grandiose theories to promote overt imperialism by the "lone superpower" – including preventive and preemptive unilateral military action, spreading democracy abroad at the point of a gun, obstructing the rise of any "near-peer" country or bloc of countries that might challenge U.S. military supremacy, and a vision of a "democratic" Middle East that would supply us with all the oil we wanted. (2007b) Accordingly, in 2002, two of Clinton’s political advisors, Ronald ASMUS and Kenneth POLLACK, pleaded for a “common transatlantic strategy,” which is “not going to happen without the leadership of the United States and the president personally.” The authors called upon the U.S. and Europe to “coalesce around a new strategic purpose and paradigm to guide future cooperation.” As to Iraq, they call for “a full-scale invasion;” as to neighboring Iran they demand the Atlantic alliance “to help the process of regime change.” (2002) As “[i]t is not enough for a hegemonic power to declare an official policy. It must establish it as a new norm of international law by exemplary action.” (CHOMSKY 2003), the United States’ wars on Afghanistan and Iraq—two countries immensely important from geoeconomic and geostrategic perspectives—have in fact turned into reality much of the policy guidelines mentioned. The myth put forward by Washington and much of the West that these invasions were a direct response to the 9/11 attacks is now thoroughly refuted and the longstanding U.S. neoconservatism’s push for war—as outlined in The Project for the New American Century’s letter asking the Clinton Administration for regime change in Iraq (PNAC 1998)21—well-documented (cf. ALI 2003b: 7-10; cf. SUSKIND 2004).22

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The letter was signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, and Robert B. Zoellick. 22 Cf. also the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which is a U.S. Congressional statement of policy calling for regime change in Iraq. For the paltry role the U.S. media played in compliance with the White Houses false war pretexts, see BUYING THE WAR (2007), Bill Moyers Journal, PBS, April 25. URL

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THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE ME 2. IRAN AND AMERICA’S WARS

2.1. Iranian Détente as Response to U.S. Containment and Peripheral Wars

Now, what about Iran? Will it be the next target of the U.S. imperial grand strategy at the beginning of our bloody century as its placement at the forefront of Washington’s global focus, outlined in the 2006 NSS, is considering? And even suspecting such a scenario, how has Iranian foreign policy respond to Washington’s wars in its periphery?

2.2.1. Iranian Détente as Response to U.S. Containment and Peripheral Wars With the end of the bloody war between Saddam’s Iraq and post-revolutionary Iran, Tehran tried to balance the security dilemma it had experienced for such a long time—caused by direct and indirect interference by non-regional powers—by adopting a détente policy now rendered possible in the aftermath of hard-shaking troubles of Cold War Great Powers rivalries, internal struggles, disruptions prior to and in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution as well as the tragedies and immense losses caused by a very severe and longstanding armed confrontation (198088). As will be argued, the politics of détente was the sole reasonable manner to react to the given circumstances—considering in particular Washington’s policy of containment vis-à-vis Tehran—, in an effort to pursue stabilizing national interest politics (cf. IBRAHIM 2004). After the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Âyatollah Ruhollâh Khomeini died in June 1989, the then President, Ali Khâmenei, was finally designated his successor. In July, the former Speaker of Parliament (Majles), Hâshemi Rafsanjâni, was elected President. In 1990, Iran condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, but also the mobilization of U.S. forces in Saudi-Arabia, while it maintained diplomatic relations with Baghdad which dropped any territorial claims vis-à-vis Tehran. In the Second Gulf War (Aug. 1990 – March 1991), Iran officially declared neutrality. Although backed by a parliamentary majority gained in the 1992 elections, Rafsanjâni did not succeed in improving the country‘s economic situation, but instead favored the creation of a class of “nouveaux riches” (DABASHI 2007). Carrying out a policy of economic liberalization, for24

eign debts and inflation experienced a crucial rise. Under the umbrella of so-called economic liberalization, rendering foreign investment easier than in prior times, Rafsanjâni made efforts to prevent a serious isolation of the country, especially after Iran was continuously condemned internationally because of sponsoring terrorism. He nevertheless tackled to open up an era of political détente and normalizing relations with neighboring countries. The amelioration of relations with its neighbors, in particular Saudi-Arabia and the sheikhdoms of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was also a result of improved relations with the West, especially with Europe, due to the mentioned economic liberalization process permitting European enterprises to enter the Iranian market. Nonetheless, numerous ‘battle fields’ remained as U.S.-backed Arab Gulf States continuously called for ‘territorial adjustments,’ e.g. the Greater and Smaller Tomb situated in the Persian Gulf. After two presidential terms, Rafsanjâni —a pragmatic power politician—could not present himself once again. In 1997, the so-called reformist presidential candidate Mohammad Khâtami surprisingly won with a huge majority out of young people and women. Continuing Iran‘s foreign policy directed towards de-escalation, the Khâtami government made remarkable steps in a rapprochement process with Iran’s Arab neighbors. As this short overview suggests, Iran’s national interest could be summarized as follows: pursuing a policy of détente and rapprochement with all its regional neighbors; establishing ties with non-regional actors, especially the EU, Russia, China, and India, even though these efforts have been constantly undermined by the U.S.—for instance, the 1995 imposed trade embargo on Iran and constant pressure on Pakistan and India to prevent them from cooperating with Iran; and thus keeping the status quo, while emphasizing the key position the country holds in the region.

THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE ME 2.2. Iran’s Security Dilemma: U.S. Militarization of the Middle East

2.3. Forced Modus Vivendi: Admission to the ‘Axis of Evil’ as Reward for Iranian Cooperation Source: http://www.writingshop.ws/assets/images/Iran-encircled.gif (March 17, 2007)

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2.2.2. Iranian Security Dilemma: U.S. Militarization of the Middle East We have seen that Iran managed to build up and improve relations with neighboring as well as European and Asian countries. However, one obstacle remains: the ongoing confrontation with Washington fueled by continued propaganda on both sides. So should the often used thesis of a somehow intrinsic confrontation between Iran and the U.S. be adopted, commonly presented as an emotional result of e.g. the post-revolutionary Iran hostage crisis? Putting aside such simplistic views, what makes the Irano-American relationship so enduringly shaped by an absence of confidence and even hostility? After the invasions of Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003), Iran was founding itself surrounded—both at its Eastern and Western flanks—by U.S. troops and large-scale military bases. To the east, Iran sees the United States firmly grounded in Afghanistan—with two permanent air bases established at Bagram near the capital city of Kabul and at Qandahar, close to the AfghanPakistani border. What is more, a large military base is being put in place near the Western Afghan city of Herat, close to the Iranian border. And to the west of Iran, the United States has around 150,000 troops in Iraq and is building permanent military bases there. Furthermore, in sheikhdoms such as Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar, the U.S. extensive deployments and its Fifth Fleet control both the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, which “is overwhelmingly powerful in contrast to the small Iranian Navy” (ROGERS 2006: 6). Besides that, America has built close military links and, in some cases, bases in a number of countries to the north and east of Iran, “especially those close to the Caspian Basin oil fields or pipelines that bring such oil through the Black Sea or Mediterranean ports” (IBID.). This American military presence on such a large scale even deteriorated Iranian security problems as U.S. military bases prior to 9/11 were already existent in much of the Iranian backyard, such as in Pakistan and several Persian Gulf countries (PERKOVICH 2003). As also Israeli aggressive rhetoric was enforced, Iran entered an era of an unprecedented security dilemma (DJALILI 2003). It is worth knowing if Tehran remained true to its policy of avoiding confrontation and seeking détente, also as regards its harshest foreign policy challenge, i.e. the United States.

2.2.3. Forced Modus Vivendi: Admission to the ‘Axis of Evil’ as Reward for Iranian Cooperation We can first recognize that Iran could respond to that situation neither through ‘hard power’— as the military preponderance lies in the hands of some 200,000 American-allied troops stationed in the region as well as more than 200 Israeli nuclear warheads threatening the country—nor via ‘soft power’—due its status as a pariah state resulting from demonization, isolation, and containment policy (FABRY, n.d.). Consequently the most adequate policy choice was to ar26

range itself with the new order of its direct neighborhood which was caused by its most outstanding political enemy, the United States. But due to Iran’s central role in the region, living with the status quo soon turned into a modus vivendi with the occupational forces, despite continuing vivid discontent against American and British aggressions and the emphasis put on false justifications used for invasion. As in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks Washington was intent to fight al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, “a period of extraordinary strategic cooperation between Iran and the United States” commenced (PORTER 2006: 20). This modus vivendi included closed-door negotiations with the Americans aimed at balancing the destabilizing factors resulted out of the invasions as well as Iran’s crucial role both in stabilizing post-Taliban Afghanistan and in legitimizing the new Afghan leadership, as can be witnessed in the major and much-applauded role it played in the Petersburg Conference in Bonn (Germany) on Afghanistan’s future on December 2, 2002 (DJALILI 2003). Against such a background, important circles in the U.S.—such as the Office for Policy Planning (with at its head, Middle East specialist Richard Haass), the CIA, above all the State Department led by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Undersecretary of State, Richard Armitage, and even White House coordinator on counterterrorism, Wayne Downing—saw a real opportunity to enter a comprehensive dialog with Iran: Issues ranging from the fight against al-Qaeda, Tehran’s nuclear program, its membership in the World Trade Organization, security guarantees for Iran and even the prospect of take the country off the state-sponsors-of-terrorism list should be dealt with. (PORTER 2006: 21) There was hard evidence that “[t]he post-9-11 period was the most promising moment for a U.S. opening to Iran since the two countries cut their relations in 1979” (IBID.). Indeed the stabilization efforts made by Tehran in order to balance the disorders caused by U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq were crucial, but were also part of the traditional national interest pursued by Iran in its regional environment, as has been previously indicated. Iran has actively been pursuing such stabilization efforts, despite charges that it could cause troubles in the ‘post-war rehabilitation period’ of the ‘liberated’ nations, painting the specter of a Shi’a Crescent on the wall. However Iran’s influence—despite its encirclement—was hard to deny as the potential of its regime as to the Lebanese Hezbollah for confronting Israel and the Shi’a majority in neighboring Iraq when encouraging them to amplify their resistance to the American and British military presence in their country. But Tehran apparently chose the way of accommodation and cooperation.

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THE HEGEMON’S HOLD ON THE ME 2.4. The Neocons in the Corridors of Power: The Fervent Drive for Regime Change Spurns Iran’s Grand Bargain Offer Source: http://sf.indymedia.org/reagan/topth_ neocons_group_web.jpg

2.2.4. The Neocons in the Corridor’s of Power: The Fervent Drive for Regime Change Spurns Iran’s Grand Bargain Offer Despite Tehran’s stabilization efforts especially in the aftermath of Washington’s invasion in Afghanistan, Iran soon became member of the ‘Axis of Evil’ in President Bush’s State of the Union address in January 2002 and was henceforward predestined as a target of American new order policies in the region. Thus, the neoconservative camp around Bush—led by prominent figures such as Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his Deputy Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith23—struck back. Under the label ‘Hadley Rules’ the policy toward members of the ‘Axis of Evil’ was framed in December 2001: “The new rules put U.S. policy toward Iran in a straitjacket requiring that Iran could never be treated as a sovereign equal on any issue.” (PORTER 2006: 22) This indeed was a harsh blow into the faces of all those inside Washington’s political establishment, above all the State Department, who sought to improve relations with Tehran. But this was already introduced in the aftermath of the U.S. Afghanistan invasion with Iran’s UN Ambassador Javad Zarif along with Iranian-American professor at Rutgers, Hooshang Amirahmadi, playing central roles and the U.S. State Department and National Security Council being fully briefed. In 2003 a series of meetings between Zarif and two U.S. officials—Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad—took place in Paris and Geneva. Another round of talks was scheduled between Zarif and the U.S. side, but the latter did not show up, as this process had already been torpedoed by the White House (KRISTOF 2007). 23

Feith, described by PORTER (2006: 22) as “abrasive and aggressively pro-Israel,” was mainly responsible, along with his two staff members, Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, for developing details of the ‘regime change’ policy towards Iran. It is further reported that in December 2001, Franklin and Rhode met with Manuchehr Ghorbanifar, the Iranian arms dealer in the Iran-Contra affair, in Rome as well as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) representatives (IBID.).

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There were also many in Iran’s political élite who intended to seize this unique opportunity as Washington was beginning its military occupation of Iraq in April 2003. Conscious of its stabilizing capacity of a foreseeable quagmire in Iraq during the post-invasion phase, Tehran worked an extraordinary effort to launch an overall normalization process with Washington. In spring 2003, a two-pages proposal24 (ACA 2003) was sent to U.S. authorities, outlining an extensive framework of negotiations “in mutual respect” covering areas of concerns for both Washington and Tehran. As to the field of terrorism, the Iranians offered “decisive action” against al-Qaeda on their soil as well as “full cooperation and exchange of all relevant information.” Concerning Iraq, Iran vowed to engage in political stabilization activities as well as “the establishment of democratic institutions and a non-religious government,” thus countering U.S. concerns of a Shi’a leadership { l’Iranienne in Iraq. The offer also included Iran’s promise for ending support to Hamas, Jihad, and Hezbollah, further “pressur[ing] these organizations to stop violent actions against civilians within borders of 1967.” Finally, Tehran proposed to act upon Hezbollah to turn it into a “mere political organization within Lebanon.” These concessions were certainly made in the hope of being removed from the U.S. list of ‘state sponsors of terrorism.’ Not enough, Iran also showed that it would meet American concerns over its nuclear program. Accordingly, it proposed “full transparency for security that there are no Iranian endeavors to develop or possess WMD, full cooperation with IAEA based on Iranian adoption of all relevant instruments (93+2 and all further IAEA protocols).” (all p. 1) The latter referred to new IAEA protocols for unannounced snap inspections, which according to PORTER “would have made it significantly more difficult for Iran to carry on a secret nuclear program without the risk of being caught.” (2003: 23) Moreover, Tehran declared its willingness to accept the Saudi-initiated Arab League Beirut Declaration25 on a twoStates approach for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This indeed signaled a “sweeping reorientation of Iranian policy toward Israel” (PORTER 2006: 23), as Iran for the first time since the revolution declared its willingness to accept the State of Israel—thus far officially called ‘occupied Palestine’ or ‘the Zionist regime.’ In return, Iran envisaged to get the following concessions from the United States: stopping U.S. interference in Iranian affairs as well as removing the country from the ‘Axis of Evil’ and terrorism lists; abolishing all trade and financial sanctions in all areas; as to Iraq, the establish24

This document is believed to have been drafted by Iran’s then-ambassador to France, Sâdegh Kharrâzi (the nephew of then-Foreign Minister Kamâl Kharrâzi). According to a cover letter, accompanying the document, by then-Swiss ambassador to Iran, Tim Guldimann, who handed the offer over to American officials, the proposal was approved by Iran’s highest authorities, such as Supreme Leader Khâmenei, the Supreme National Security Council, and then-President Khâtami. But just a few days after receiving the Iranian offer, the U.S. dispatches a message of displeasure to Guldimann (PORTER 2006: 24). The fact that the U.S. did not even respond to the offer has, according to Middle East expert Trita Parsi “strengthened the hands of those in Iran who believe the only way to compel the United States to talk or deal with Iran is not by sending peace offers but by being a nuisance” (KESSLER 2006). For all the different drafts of the document as well as its final version, see Nicholas D. Kristof’s blog at www.nytimes.com/ontheground. 25 The Declaration, also called the Arab Peace Initiative, signed in March 2002, had embraced the land-forpeace principle as well as a comprehensive peace with Israel in return to its withdrawal to 1967 lines.

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ment of a “democratic and fully representative government”—signifying a de facto Shi’adominated regime—and “support of Iranian claims for Iraqi reparations” as regards Saddam’s assault on Iran with a view to discussions on Iraq’s foreign debts; “full access to peaceful nuclear technology, biotechnology and chemical technology”; “recognition of Iran’s legitimate security interests” while permitting Iran adequate defense capacities; and last but not least, the repatriation of MKO members based in Iraq as well as “decisive actions against anti-Iranian terrorists” (all ACA 2003: 1). The document also laid out an agenda for negotiations, outlining a road map for negotiations on disarmament, terrorism, and economic cooperation (ACA 2003: 2). This package of proposals was on the one hand based upon the belief that Iran as a direct neighbor of Iraq had legitimate interests there and that this should be formally acknowledged by the United States. On the other side, Tehran showed great interest to go for a comprehensive arrangement with Washington, negotiating on all disputed areas which have been accumulated between the two countries in their crisis-ridden relationship from the 1979 revolution to the present, with the clear intention of an overall settlement of all the conflicts in question. Flynt Leverett, then a senior director on the National Security Council staff, described the Iranian offer as “a serious effort, a respectable effort to lay out a comprehensive agenda for U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.” (cited in KESSLER 2006) But, as we will see now, influential neoconservative decision-makers convinced Bush not to seize such a unique historic opportunity for diplomacy. Knowing that such on overture would not find support among neoconservatives advising the U.S. President, the State Department—generally open-minded about the Iranian effort— refrained from pushing for the acceptance of Tehran’s negotiation proposals (PORTER 2003: 2324). Within a few days, the preeminence of the aforementioned Hadley Rules for American policy behavior vis-à-vis Iran was underscored. As Lawrence Wilkerson, then one of Powell’s top aides, stated in BBC’s Newsnight in Jan. 2007: “But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself.” (BBC NEWS 2007) Richard N. Haass, head of policy planning at the State Department at the time, said in 2006 that the Bush Administration’s “bias was toward a policy of regime change.” and called the neoconservatives’ explanation of the Iranian offer that the regime—witnessing the United States’ prompt invasion of neighboring Iran—were on the brink, misleading (KESSLER 2006). Even though, Iran’s concessions offer included pretty much the same as Washington is demanding—even today—from Iran “in a masterstroke, Rumsfeld and Cheney had shut down the only diplomatic avenue available for communicating with Iran and convinced Bush that Iran was on the same side as al-Qaeda.” (PORTER 2003: 24) Moreover, “[a] U.S.-Iranian rapprochement could have saved lives in Iraq, isolated Palestinian terrorists and encouraged civil society groups in Iran. But instead the U.S. hard-liners chose to hammer plowshares into swords.” (KRISTOF 2007)

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With the neoconservatives now boldly dominating the orientation of U.S. foreign and security policy and directing firmly both the Pentagon and the White House, the ‘regime change’ rhetoric against Iran should now be covered at the United Nations level. By the second half of 2003, Washington focused its Iran policy on the issue of Tehran’s allegedly nuclear weapons aspiration. John Bolton, the then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, already notorious for its harsh anti-UN stance—and on Aug. 1, 2005, nominated as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, replaced in February of 2007 by Zalmay Khalilzad 26, renowned as a fervent supporter of Israel’s aggressive policies (cf. BARRY 2006), and one of the signatories of the Iraqi regime change call on Clinton by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in 1998, was given the leading role for exercising the new U.S. policy approach towards Iran. Iran was henceforth continuously branded as the world’s greatest security challenge. Washington’s leitmotiv was to coerce Iran to fully abandon its nuclear fuel cycle and getting the IAEA Board to bring the Iranian dossier before the UNSC (PORTER 2003: 24). According to Condoleezza Rice, at the time of the Iranian offer Bush’s National Security Advisor, elevating U.S. concerns towards Iran on an international level—with Iran no more facing the United States, but the ‘international community—was a major strategic goal to follow (STATE 2006). 27 And thus Iran returned—as so many times in recent history—to the main stage of international politics, this time for its nuclear program. Even though the above analysis offers much evidence of the manufactured nature of the confrontation vis-à-vis Iran for the country’s nuclear program—an effort aggressively pursued by American neoconservatives—, the case of the present conflict and questions raised in that context should be equally addressed in the following. That is intended to be done in the effort to find out if the conclusions so far about the United States’ continuous hegemonic foreign policy orientation can be underlined or should be discarded. Thus, can any ‘moments’ of hegemonic aspiration, as outlined hitherto, be indentified in the present war-prone crisis? Or put differently, how can the present conflict on Iran’s allegedly nuclear-weapons ambition be adequately evaluated?





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Khalilzad, like John Bolton a signatory of the PNAC’s ‘regime change’ call, was beforehand the U.S. Ambassador to the occupied Iraq (2005-2007) and Afghanistan (2003-2005). 27 Excerpt from the interview with Rice: QUESTION: “Some officials who work with you at the White House and at the State Department said that the U.S. missed an opportunity in 2003, that Iran came to the U.S., wanted to talk, and the U.S. rejected that. And that was a period when the U.S. was stronger. It appears that the U.S. is coming to this in a much weaker position. Aren't you?” SECRETARY RICE: “Oh, I think coming to the table with the entire international community united around a particular course is a pretty strong position to be in. What people wanted, what the Iranians wanted earlier, was to be one-on-one with the United States so that this could be about the United States and Iran. Now it is Iran the international community, and Iran has to answer to the international community. I think that's the strongest possible position to be in.” (STATE 2006)

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 MANUFACTURING A GLOBAL CRISIS: THE IRAN CONFLICT 1. ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM? 1.1. The NPT and Its Erosion

Source: http://www.uruknet.web.at.it/pic.php?f=nukes.gif

As the root of the present conflict is often stated as being Iranian non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is useful to begin with NPT‘s present état d’âme.

3.1.1. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Its Erosion In 1970 the NPT came into existence through an exchange deal, even then highly controversial (ZUMACH 2005): The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—i.e. the United States, the Soviet Union, China, France, and Great Britain—were officially recognized as the only legitimate nuclear powers and further agreed to disarm their arsenals (NPT, Art. VI); as a countermove the ‘rest of the world’ renounced to get access to nuclear weapons of mass destruction, but received the unlimited right to use all available technologies for gaining nuclear energy in sites controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, this political exchange deal of 1970 is now based on a rather volatile ground (ZUMACH 2005). Five reasons can be enumerated for this: 1. Lacking fulfillment of the treaty or even open violations against it by some of the by now 188 NPT undersigning nations: Instead of fulfilling their disarmament duties, the five nuclear powers go on developing military strategies around WMD. The United States is further more developing new nuclear weapons, such as so-called ‘mini nukes,’ (DPA 2005; BLAIR 2003) and is openly menacing other states with ‘preventive’ action (cf. NSS). Moreover Iran and other states have been temporarily running nuclear sites without reporting it to the IAEO. In one case Iran has been highly enriching some grams uranium till a military nuclear dimension. What is more, the ‘nuclear share’ of Germany and other NATO members in the American nuclear arsenal violates the NPT (BRZOSKA & NEUNECK 2006: 15).

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2. Developments in some non-NPT countries: Israel, Pakistan, and India are admittedly nuclear powers. Besides that, North-Korea resigned from the NPT and further declared in spring 2005 that it has nuclear warheads at its disposal. 3. Wars and the threat of wars by the U.S. against countries of the South since the end of the East-West conflict: In particular the Iraq War starting in spring 2003 as well as unveiled war threats against so-called ‘rogue States’ included both in the U.S. national military strategy (NSS) of September 2002 and in other government documents of the Bush II Administration have strengthened the judgment in countries of the South that having nuclear weapons is the only remedy against a U.S. attack. 4. The U.S. and EU claims vis-à-vis Iran in the current conflict, which go against the NPT: The United States and the European Union are demanding Iran to a lasting renunciation of uranium conversion and enrichment, despite the fact that both procedures intended for purposes of gaining energy are explicitly allowed by the NPT. The Americans—and in the meantime also the Europeans—pretend that with the instruments offered by the NPT the Iranian nuclear program can not be reliably controlled. That’s why an abuse of the uranium enrichment process for developing nuclear weapons can not be prevented. This claim put forward by Washington and Brussels fully jeopardizes the NPT as a whole. Due to these reasons, one could argue that from the beginning the Western claim is doomed to fail (ZUMACH 2005). 5. The rapprochement between the United States and India, especially the extensive nuclear cooperation with the latter, being not member of the NPT. Promising to deliver aid in the nuclear field, Washington thus breaches provisions of the NPT by simultaneously putting New Delhi’s atomic weapons program on legitimate grounds.

 MANUFACTURING A GLOBAL CRISIS: THE IRAN CONFLICT

1.2. Historical Outline of Iran‘s NuclearProgram 1.3. Dilemmas of Double-Standard and Dual-Use

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3.1.2. Historical Outline of Iran’s Nuclear Program 1957 Aug. 9, 1963 1967 July 1968 1970 1970s

1973 1975

1979 1983

1987/88 1990 1992 Jan.1995

1996

Jan. 29, 2002

The U.S. and Iran sign an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation as part of the U.S. Atoms for Peace program. Iran signs the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), ratifying it on Dec. 23. The Tehran Nuclear Research Center is built. The U.S. supplies a five-megawatt research reactor and nuclear fuel rod to Iran. Iran signs as one of the first non-nuclear-weapon states the NPT. Iran ratifies the NPT, which goes into effect on March 5. Under the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, plans are made to construct up to twenty nuclear power stations with a total scale of 23 gigawatt across the country with U.S. support and backing. Numerous contracts are signed with various Western firms, and the German firm Kraftwerk Union (a subsidiary of Siemens AG) begins construction on the Bushehr power plant in 1974. The civil Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) was created to supervise those power stations. German engineers start with the construction of the Bushehr power plant. Massachusetts Institute of Technology signs a contract with the AEOI to provide training for Iranian nuclear engineers. The Iranian Revolution puts a freeze on the existing nuclear program and the Bushehr contract with Siemens AG is terminated as the German firm leaves. IAEA inspectors inspect Iranian nuclear facilities, and report on proposed cooperation agreement to help Iran manufacture enriched uranium fuel as part of Iran’s ‘ambitious programme in the field of nuclear power reactor technology and fuel cycle technology.’ The assistance program is later terminated under U.S. pressure. Iran’s reactors are heavily damaged by Iraqi air strikes. Iran begins negotiations with the Soviet Union regarding the re-construction of the Bushehr power plant. Iran signs an agreement with China for the building of two 950-watt reactors in Darkhovin (Western Iran). To date, construction has not yet begun. Iran signs an $800 million contract with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) (whose contractor is Atomstroyexport) to complete (probably in late 2007) reactors at Bushehr under IAEA safeguards.28 The completion was scheduled for July 8, 1999. China and Iran inform the IAEA of plans to construct a nuclear enrichment facility in Iran, but China withdraws from the contract under U.S. pressure. Iran advises the IAEA that it plans to pursue the construction anyway. U.S. President George W. Bush speaks of an “axis of evil” gathering Iran, Iraq, and North Korea during his State of the Union Address.

BRZOSKA & NEUNECK & MEIER 2006: 2, Table ‘Chronologie der Krise um das iranische Atomprogramm’; and “Nuclear program of Iran,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 3, 2007, URL.

28

Cf. GEDYE, Robin (2004), “Iran’s nuclear history,” The Telegraph, Nov. 27. URL

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3.1.3. Dilemmas of Double-Standard and Dual-Use A widely circulating assumption is that such a country as Iran with lots of oil and gas reserves do not need nuclear energy, so its nuclear program should be for non-peaceful purposes. Nevertheless, the issue is more complex than that.

a) (Why) Does Iran Need Nuclear Energy? Although Iran is rich of fossil energies, these resources will be exploited within the next few decades. Moreover, Iran’s old infrastructure of refineries requires heavy investment. As Johns Hopkins University economic geographer, Roger Stern, asserts, Iran is suffering a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports, and if the trend continues income could be halved in less than five years and virtually disappear by 2015. Thus Tehran’s assertion that it needs nuclear energy for civilian purposes could be believed in. He emphasizes that the country’s oil production is declining and both gas and oil are being sold domestically at highly subsidized rates. At the same time, Iran is neglecting to reinvest in its oil production. The Iranian petroleum crisis would immensely degrade the country’s overall performance thus making U.S. military action superfluous. (STERN 2007) Moreover, considering Iran’s rising energy demands due to considerable industrialization and demography, other energy sources will be necessary. By 2025, the population is expected to reach the mark of 90 million (SB 2004: 201). At the same time, it is true that the country has a great deal of potential for alternative energies, such as wind and solar. However extensive investment into establishing such infrastructure is needed.

b) Politico-Strategic Considerations Iran is in fact surrounded by five nuclear powers: Israel, the U.S., Russia, Pakistan, and India. According to Realist IR belief, such a tremendous security dilemma would inherently push Iran to acquire nuclear weapons as well. In this sense, ElBaradei indicates, all this talk about the use of force, it’s not only counter productive but in fact does not in any way help resolve the issue. Imagine what a regime would feel if they hear that force will be used against them, in additional to being called names, in addition to talk about regime change in the past. Even if they were not going to develop a nuclear weapon today, this would be a sure recipe for them to go down that route. (FT 2007) Out of pure security considerations and even in terms of the very existence of the country, it might be comprehensible that Iran will be constrained to acquire such capabilities in a dangerous and partly overtly hostile environment. Nevertheless, the Iranians have always denied such an option, arguing that it will not contribute to increase their own and regional stability and security.

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SUMMARY OF THE NPT ARTICLES REFERRED TO Article II

No non-nuclear weapon state that is party to the treaty is allowed to produce or otherwise acquire a nuclear warhead.

Article III

(1) and (2): Non-nuclear weapon states must accept full-scope safeguards for all of their source or special fissionable material.

Article IV

Civilian nuclear technology is an inalienable right for every party to the treaty and there exists an obligation to make it available.29 KALINOWSKI 2006: 25.

c) Does Iran Follow a Weaponization Program? Especially among Americans and Israelis the question if Iran is pursuing a nuclear-weapons program is often clearly approved. Likewise the Director of the U.S. National Intelligence states in his testimony on threats against Washington: “We assess that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons […].” (DNI 2007a: 6) But in scientific circles, the answer to this question is given differently. The most extensive study on Iran’s nuclear capabilities by now is being conducted by KALINOWSKI30, an internationally renowned expert on nuclear issues. Under the title Iran’s Nuclear Programme – Civilian or military? (2006), he concludes that there is no evidence for the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. While noting Iran’s violations against Art. III of the NPT and IAEA Safeguards, he places the problem into a larger international context: “Similar breaches and failures of numerous other countries have also been known without it having lead to a noteworthy international reaction, with the exception of Iraq and North Korea.” The author nevertheless points to the problem of dual-use, making it hard to clearly identify weaponization purposes. He therefore suggests a serious of steps to be taken in order to tackle the problem. He calls for strict adherence to all Safeguards obligations, the improvement of nuclear Safeguards, and clear signs of a nuclear weapon program should be seen as a breach of the NPT.

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Full text of Article IV of the NPT: “(1) Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty. (2) All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.” 30 On March 1, 2006, Dr. Martin Kalinowski was named the first Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker Professor for Science and Peace Research at the Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker Center for Science and Peace Research (ZNF), University of Hamburg, Germany.

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TWO IRRECONCILABLE POSITIONS AND FOUR POSSIBLE STANDPOINTS

Iran’s nuclear program is regarded as purely civilian in nature, until the opposite is proven. Iran is suspected of having a nuclear weapon program until all traces in regard to this have been removed.

NPT, no discrimination Victim: Iran sees itself as a victim of a breach of Art. IV of the NPT. Cooperation and transparency where necessary. No renunciation, at the most suspension. The principle of equality: Breach of Art. II and III of the NPT. Exhaustive inspections according to the treaty. Voluntary renunciation negotiated in return for compensation.

NPT, suspects get stricter controls Innocent until proven guilty: Breach of Art. III of the NPT. Stricter inspections than demanded by the treaty or additional agreements. Perpetrator: Breach of Art. II and III of the NPT. Stricter inspections than demanded by the treaty or additional agreements. No full right to Art. IV of the NPT. KALINOWSKI 2006: 29, Table 1.

Kalinowski further expresses the wish that Iran voluntarily renounces from critical activities in terms of uranium enrichment and reprocessing, at the same time noting: “A ban on certain civilian nuclear activities would, however, contradict Article IV of the NPT, according to which Iran has an inalienable right to the procurement and use of civilian nuclear technology.” Kalinowski further proposes the establishment of an international norm of renunciation as outlined in the Comprehensive Cutoff Convention31 and in the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention32, at the same time underscoring: “The aspect of non-discrimination by the NPT could be better implemented if the nuclear weapons states were to fulfil their obligation under Article VI and disarm.” (p. 31) While stating that an internationalization of crucial installations may help, he notes Iran’s possible denial vis-à-vis such measures due to its bad historical experiences (IBID.). The lack of complete insurability by the IAEA as regards the nature of the Iranian program as well as Tehran’s inalienable right under Art. IV of the NPT, creates irreconcilable positions as to the problem’s resolution (see table below), which “could lead to an escalation that threatens peace.“ He concludes his analysis by emphasizing the only possible step to do: “The only solution that goes further than the current damage limitation attempts is to create a global norm of non-availability of nuclear weapon grade material and to fully implement the norm of a nuclear weapon free world.” (both p. 32) Meanwhile BAGHERZADEH33 (2006) argues that there is a huge gap between the myths and the facts about the Iranian nuclear program. As does Kalinowski, he also underlines that “Iran did fail to report acquisition/development of minute amount of enriched material, but so did South Korea and a few other nations.” BAGHERZADEH goes on reminding that “[e]xperts agree that this is 31

See KALINOWSKI, Martin B. (2006), “Outline of a Comprehensive Cut-Off Convention,” in: KALINOWSKI, Martin B., ed., Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Baden-Baden (Germany): Nomos. 32 See DATAN, Merav, WARE, Alyn, KALINOWSKI, Martin B., SCHEFFRAN, Jürgen, SEIDEL, Victor & BURROUGHS, John (1999), Security and Survival. The Case for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, published by IPPNW/IALANA/ INESAP, Cambridge (Massachusetts). 33 Dr. Nader Bagherzadeh is Professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine.

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not enough for referral to SC while IAEA is still evaluating P2 (a more advanced centrifuge) and Lavisan related concerns.” He further notices that “[u]nder pressure from US, Chinese had to pull out of the Isfahan project (UCF), contrary to Article 4 of NPT.” Bagherzadeh also makes clear that the “Natanz facility is under strict supervision of IAEA and it will be very unlikely to cross the 4% enrichment line under the watchful eyes of IAEA, but the technology of enrichment will be mastered.” Therefore KALINOWSKI offers a number of remedies for countering international concerns, such as strictly keeping all safeguards obligations and improving nuclear safeguards, while stating the necessity of internationalizing all nuclear facilities worldwide in which uranium is being enriched. We can witness that Iran is not the only case in the framework of the international proliferation (control) regime that poses a problem. Indeed, other countries, such as Brazil, are carrying out the same civil—and dual-use—nuclear activities as Tehran does, which is simply ignored. And others, like South-Korea, have broken the same NPT requirements as Iran did, but without any further consideration. Despite concerns over Iran ‘going for the bomb,’ it can be ascertained that there is no indication so far that the country has already produced or even is producing weapon-grade material (BRZOSKA & NEUNECK 2006: 14).

d) The Current State of Iran’s Nuclear Program Iran has already achieved to enrich uranium, a process covered by the NPT. However, this is not at an industrial level needed to develop a bomb. Iran disposes of research and development (R&D) projects at a knowledge level. It is expected that Iran has at most two functioning 164 centrifuge cascades above ground in the R&D facility at Natanz. But in the absence of the NPT Addition Protocol, inspectors are not allowed to check equipment manufacturing in order to gain more insight on the program’s nature. (FT 2007) It can be reminded that industrial scale enrichment with almost 3,000 centrifuges at a high degree of about 90 percent would render bomb making possible. It is consensus that Iran is still far away from such a capacity. The country could get there by 2008. (IBID.)

e) When Could Iran Get the Bomb? Although some concerns over the Iranian nuclear program still persist, most experts agree that it does not pose any threat so far. As ElBaradei states in February 2007, there is a “difference between acquiring knowledge [for enrichment] and having a bomb is at least five to ten years away.” (FT 2007) The CIA expects the same time period in which Tehran might be able to develop nuclear bombs. The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) accordingly expects Iran to be able to build a single nuclear bomb by the earliest possible date of 2015 (FTD 2006). Likewise the Director of U.S. National Intelligence (DNI) expects a nuclear-armed Iran by 2015 (DNI 2007b: 6, 24, 50, 51, 55).

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According to all intelligence estimates, Iran is 5 to 10 years away from acquiring a nuclear bomb, i.e. from the production of significant masses of weapon-grade material. In her Washington Post article, LINZER notes: A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the analysis. The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. The new estimate could provide more time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. President Bush has said that he wants the crisis resolved diplomatically but that “all options are on the table.” (2005)

 MANUFACTURING A GLOBAL CRISIS: THE IRAN CONFLICT 3.2. On How Diplomacy Can Pave the Way for War 3.2.1. Negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Program: Escalating Diplomacy

3.2.1. The Negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Program: Escalating Diplomacy The conversion of raw uranium into uranium gas is a preliminary stage for uranium enrichment. According to its official declarations, Iran is doing this procedure only for the peaceful purpose of gaining nuclear energy. Further Iran declared in April 2006 that it has achieved to complete the nuclear cycle, which was later confirmed by an IAEA report. Indeed, all this is allowed without any limitation by the 1970-signed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to which Tehran adhered as a founding member. Western countries are suspicious of Iran enriching high-grade uranium gas necessary for the development of atomic bombs. In the light of rising pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv to confront Iran because of its alleged nuclear program’s military nature, Tehran was forced into negotiations over its nuclear program. As the U.S.—the initial denouncer—renounced any direct talks with Iran, the so-called EU-3—composed of France, Great Britain, and Germany—was commissioned to hold talks with the Iranians. As we will now see, due to fundamental negotiating errors, progress was not being

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made during the talks. The question which now arises is whether Iran’s hardliners are playing a power game with this hot issue or are there reliable and rational reasons for Tehran’s repeated rejection, which have been, and still are, ignored in the Western discourse on this matter?

a) Tehran Agreement (October 2003) and Ongoing “Demagogy” In the first agreement signed between Iran and the EU-3, Tehran agreed to sign and implement the Additional Protocol to the NPT—which it did on Dec. 18, 2003—that permits snap inspections of its nuclear sites. Besides that, Iran, as a confidence-building measure, “has decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities as defined by the IAEA.“ (IMFA 2003) In return, the Europeans—represented by then-Foreign Ministers Dominique de Villepin, Jack Straw, and Joschka Fischer—assured to prevent Washington from handing the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UNSC. Previously, the IAEA had found weapons-grade-enriched uranium at two sites in Iran. The country blamed the findings on contamination from parts it bought abroad on the black market, as a result of the U.S.-imposed embargo on the country (KOCH 2004).34 This was also later confirmed by the IAEA ( VON RANDOW 2004). Moreover, the EU-3 promised to support Iran in the peaceful use of nuclear energy (anyway required by the NPT) and further vowed broad economic relations with Tehran. The Agreement was considered a positive step (HAFEZI & EVANS 2003) and French Foreign Minister de Villepin even expected the final resolution of latent problems (NIRUMAND 2006: 26). Until mid-November 2004, the IAEA found no evidence that Iran had followed any prohibited activities and acknowledged full cooperation by Iran (GOV/2003/75; GOV/2004/83). Already in February 2004, the suspension in relation to all kinds of enrichment and enrichment-related activities was prolonged by Tehran. Washington’s hard stance vis-à-vis Iran provoked harsh criticism by leading U.S. figures in non-neoconservative camps. For instance, in mid-November 2004, Zbigniew Brzezinski called the American view that fundamentalist mullahs in Iran would threaten global security as “irrational and paranoid slogans.” This would “ominously” remind of the “demagogy” legitimizing the use of force against Iraq.35 He further noted that Iran is not a notoriously aggressive country and that the U.S. should be appreciative of any Iranian nuclear ambition as a tool of deterrence. 36

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Cf. also Javad Zarif’s, Iran’s Ambassador to the U.N., remarks in an interview on Dec. 7, 2004, with BBC HARDTalk’s Tim Sebastian: “Iran has been deprived of the means to acquire technology for the past over two decades. At the same time Iranian people are very proud and we have the necessary scientific infrastructure. We've had to go through the black market because the open market was close to us in order to acquire technology.” Video’s URL. 35 The original reads: “Das sind doch irrationale und paranoide Slogans. Diese Argumentation erinnert verdächtig an die Demagogie, die vor dem Irak-Krieg verbreitet wurde und mit der dann die Gewalt gerechtfertigt wurde.” 36 The original reads: “Man kann verstehen, dass die Iraner überzeugt sind, genau diese Waffen [Atombomben—A. F.-N.] haben zu müssen. Teherans nukleare Ambitionen sind unter anderem darauf zurückzuführen, dass man dort über ein Mittel der Abschreckung verfügen will. Der Iran selbst ist ja kein notorisch aggressives

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“Selective engagement” by Washington—i.e. talks over Iran’s security concerns as well as Iraq, Afghanistan, and maybe even a nuclear-weapon-free region while keeping all options on the table—is strongly needed in order to settle the conflict, Brzezinski claimed. (STERN.DE 2004)

b) Paris Agreement (November 2004) Building upon the road map set in the avowals of Tehran, in the ‘Paris Agreement’ of November 15, 2004, Iran once again declared its willingness to temporarily suspend activities in the field of uranium conversion as well as enrichment. All this was conducted as a “voluntary confidence building measure” (INFCIRC/637 2004: 3) and it was emphasized that “[t]he suspension will be sustained while negotiations proceed on a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements” (IBID.: 3) Tehran agreed to concede on the matter of uranium activities as long as the “long-term agreement,” being the subject of further negotiations, would “provide […] firm commitments on security issues.” In return, the EU-3 ascertained: “Once suspension has been verified, the negotiations with the EU on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement will resume. The E3/EU will actively support the opening of Iranian accession negotiations at the WTO.” Further it was intended that a steering committee would “set up working groups on political and security issues, technology and cooperation, and nuclear issues.” The committee would then obtain reports from the working groups in order “to move ahead with projects and/or measures that can be implemented in advance of an overall agreement.“ (all IBID.: 4) in forthcoming months. In such a critical situation, a call by former Western Foreign Ministers37, in an article published in the Washington Post on Dec. 13, 2004, submitted proposals aiming at hindering Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. They further called for a common Western approach with the U.S. supporting European diplomacy and not tending to a failure of the negotiation process. The nuclear powers U.S., Russia, and Europe should provide Iran with fuel rods for its nuclear reactors, so that in return they could push the country to permanently renounce from uranium enrichment and related activities. While accepting the agreement between the EU-3 and Iran, the Bush Administration should announce the start of economic and diplomatic relations with Tehran, emphasizing Iran’s remarkable cultural and political developments in the last two decades. (NIRUMAND 2006: 43-44)

Land. Wenn wir wirklich wollen, dass die iranische Führung unsere Besorgnis ernst nimmt, müssen wir auch Verständnis aufbringen.” 37 The eight former representatives were from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Denmark, Spain, and the Netherlands.

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c) EU-3’s Package of Proposals (August 2005) with Bitter American Note A LOT OF GIFT WRAPPING AROUND A PRETTY EMPTY BOX (UNDISCLOSED EU DIPLOMAT, QUOTED IN REUTERS, JULY 27, 2005)

In the summer of 2005, Iran declared that if the EU-3 will not present new and more extensive offers until August 1, the country would take up its nuclear activities. As the proposals by the Europeans at first did not come in, Tehran promptly ended its “voluntary” suspension38 and dutifully informed the IAEA so to render any supervision possible (ZUMACH 2005). On August 7, the EU-3 presented its proposals pursuant to the Paris Agreement. Besides the already known request on Iran to enduringly renounce from all activities related to the nuclear fuel cycle, the country should further bind itself under international law to renounce from leaving the NPT at any time and to agree that all of its nuclear plants should, under all circumstances, be controlled by the IAEA. Under such premises, the EU would guarantee to provide Iran the access to the global market for nuclear fuel rods and in cases of shortage to satisfy Tehran’s need from European reserves. Brussels would further finalize negotiations over economic and trade agreements as well as technologically support the construction of planned nuclear plants in Iran. The country’s concerns should also be met. The proposal thus included a security guarantee by the nuclear powers Paris and London as well as the announced support for the resolution of regional security problems and for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Near and Middle East (cf. NIRUMAND 2006: 53). Iranian representatives reacted with great dissatisfaction to the package offered and fully rejected it. As the EU-3 now demanded Iran to fully renounce from its enrichment activities, the proposal was considered as a violation of the Paris Agreement which guaranteed Iran’s rights under the NPT. The head of the AEOI, Gholâm-Rezâ Âghâzâdeh, even called the proposals “a humiliation of the Iranian people,” as they were “cheap and quibbling.” He emphasized that after one and a half year of negotiations, the Europeans should have known that Iran aims at mastering the whole fuel cycle. But why did Iran’s diplomacy so harshly reject the offer? It was indeed foreseeable that Iran would not agree, as requested, to fully renounce from its vested rights under the NPT. Further, the latter covered that no nuclear power had the right to use atomic bombs against any other member state. So France’s and Great Britain’s security guarantee was indeed farcical. Besides, the sale of nuclear fuel rod was an offer primarily benefitting the European atomic industry. Moreover, those extensive agreements in the field of economy and trade were in planning before even the conflict erupted. Against such a background, the conclusion that “[t]he offer was a provocation” (NIRUMAND 2006: 54) can well be retraced. After Tehran’s rejection, the EU-3 canceled the continuation of negotiations. The French Foreign Ministry on Aug. 23, 2005, explained that by assuming that Iran had breached the Paris 38

In fact, Iran announced to resume its halted activities at the Isfahân plant. It thus removed the IAEA seals there. From November 2005 on, Tehran also resumes its conversion activities. All this provoked harsh protests from the European Union.

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Agreement by resuming its program in Isfahân. The EU thus followed Washington’s desired path by submitting a resolution draft at the upcoming IAEA’s Board of Governors meeting in September 2005 which intended the case’s referral to the UNSC. The IAEA’s General Director was first expected to present a new report (GOV/2005/87). On that basis, the 35 board members should decide upon referring Iran’s dossier to the Security Council. Rather unusually, only 22 of the member states voted for the referral, twelve—Russia and China among them—abstained, and only Venezuela voted against. Tehran expressed outrage as the voted resolution had no legal basis. The only reason for the attacks on Iran was the intention to deprive states with no nuclear technology to produce themselves rod for the nuclear cycle. Accordingly, on Sep. 28, the Iranian Parliament (Majles) voted in favor of resuming the Additional Protocol and stopping any further inspections of the plants. At a United Nations high-level summit on Sept. 15, 2005, the newly elected 39 Iranian President—inaugurated on Aug. 1, 2005—offered a respectable compromise solution to the nuclear dispute. Ahmadinejâd invited foreign companies and States to invest and participate in Iran’s nuclear program, which would ensure that it cannot be secretly diverted to make nuclear weapons. While the U.S. mission to the UN walked out during his speech, his offer was widely dismissed in the West. Almost reaching its aim, Washington now tried to strengthen Brussels’ new position as well as rally Moscow and Beijing behind it. The U.S. effort to demonize Iran and the never-ending allegation the country would pursue a nuclear weapons program was further nourished by Iranian President Ahmadinejâd’s statements on Israel. However, Iran made further surprising concessions: In early November, the country opened up the doors of its military facility in Pârchin—until then a restricted area—for IAEA inspectors. Those were even allowed to interview Iranian nuclear experts. What is more, three days before the IAEA’s BoG meeting in November 2005, Tehran complied by halting its disputed Isfahân nuclear plant. During those months, talk about a military confrontation emanating from Washington and/or Tel Aviv against Iran became more frequent and war plans entered the public arena (FALLOWS 2004; HERSH 2005). While the European counterparts, now following Washington’s hard line, regularly reproached Iran to ‘violate’ agreements agreed upon, it is important to underline that the Paris Agreement was voluntary and valid as long as progress was being made in negotiations (INFCIRC/637 2004: 3, 4), which is widely neglected both in political and public debates.

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In mid-August 2005, Ahmadinejâd installed his new government. Ali Lârijâni replaced Hassan Rohâni as Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, the country’s top policy-making body, with nuclear policy in his purview. It can be added that according to Iranian Constitution, the President does not have exclusive control over Iran's nuclear program, which falls mainly under the purview of its Supreme Leader.

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d) Critical Stalemate: The Route Toward Escalation Iran’s basic position was not to surrender to pressures calling for an ultimate stop of all enrichment activities, i.e. its nuclear program. The speaker of Iran’s National Security Council, Hossein Entezâmi, declared in an interview with the Iranian reformist daily Sharq in December 2005: “We however will not accept any proposal refusing Iran the vested right to produce fuel in the own country for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.” (IRAN-REPORT 01/2006: 13) Iran’s Foreign Minister Mottaki on his short visit to Kabul on Dec. 26, 2005, said that his country does not need to obtain permission to use nuclear technology. Further did he emphasize: “We neither accept global nuclear apartheid nor economic apartheid.” Iran’s right for the peaceful use of nuclear energy would find support among many countries, he was quoted as saying, and added that Iran’s plans are transparent (IBID.: 12). Meanwhile it was reported that the Bush Administration tapped phone calls by ElBaradei with Iranian diplomats in an effort to oust him. The IAEA General Director’s allegedly cautious approach on Iran was a thorn in the American neoconservatives’ flash (LINZER 2004). In January 2005, the then British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, produced a 200-pages dossier, entitled Iran’s Nuclear Program, which was quietly issued in the House of Commons on the eve of Bush’s inauguration the week before for fear of provoking a public rift with Washington. Therein, as the Sunday Times reported, military action is ruled out and the case is made for a “negotiated solution” to thwart Iran's suspected ambition to produce nuclear weapons. The document further said a peaceful solution led by Britain, France, and Germany was “in the best interests of Iran and the international community,” while referring to “safeguarding Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.” (DAILY TELEGRAPH 2005) Against such a background of rising tensions and reports about U.S. spying on potential targets inside Iran, NIRUMAND summarizes: The situation got bogged down, and the U.S. government’s hard line was primarily responsible for it. From the beginning, its goal was to commit the EU to its position. For a success by the EU, on the one hand, would have considerably strengthened the EU states’ political and, most notably, economic influence in the Near and Middle East and, on the other hand, would have provided the evidence that conflicts could be better resolved diplomatically than militarily.40 (2006: 49)

e) Russian Remedy Under American Attack (late 2005 – early 2006) Most observers agreed that in late 2005 the dialog between the West and Iran reached an impasse (BRZOSKA & NEUNECK 2006: 15). In Iran the question of uranium enrichment—indeed guaranteed by international law—turned into one of national prestige, so that it was unthinkable for Iranian politicians to renounce from that right. On the other hand, the EU-3, adopting American

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The original reads: “Die Situation war festgefahren, und dafür war in erster Linie der harte Kurs der USRegierung verantwortlich. Ihr Ziel war von Anbeginn, die EU auf ihre Position einzuschwören. Denn ein Erfolg der EU hätte zum einen den politischen und vor allem wirtschaftlichen Einfluss der EU-Staaten im Nahen und Mittleren Osten erheblich verstärkt und zum anderen den Nachweis erbracht, dass sich Konflikte diplomatisch besser lösen lassen als militärisch.“

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and Israeli calls to fully stop any enrichment activity in Iran, maneuvered itself into a stalemate. That is why on different occasions talks between the two sides did not succeed and were predominantly shaped by helplessness ( IRAN-REPORT 02/2006). The United States simultaneously underlined that there is a military option in the case diplomacy should not succeed—a logic harshly underpinned in neoconservative publications (cf. KRISTOL 2006a). On Jan. 22, 2006, Israel’s Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, threatened Iran with a military strike. Even French President Jacques Chirac indirectly considered the use of nuclear weapons against ‘terrorist states’ such as Iran (NIRUMAND 2006: 61). In late February, the IAEA doubts whether elements of the Iranian nuclear program are for military purposes (GOV/2006/15: 11). In November 2005, Russia submitted a mediation offer. According to it, Iran could continue to convert uranium into gaseous uranium hexafluoride (UF6) on its soil. It would then transport this gas to Russia, where it would be enriched and processed into fuel. Tehran would also get a share of the profit from the sales of fuel rods. This Russo-Iranian joint project was now under spotlight, however lots of details remained to be clarified. Although Iran would thus be allowed to have access to reserves of weapon-grade uranium (UF6)—a lasting concern for especially the U.S.41, Tehran thus reduced its original claim of mastering the whole fuel cycle on its territory. Nevertheless, Iran emphasized its intention to enrich uranium on its own soil (KATZ 2006). On Jan. 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin came up with the idea of creating an International Centre for the Enrichment of Uranium, intended to serve as a mechanism for the guaranteed supply of fuel to the countries that would be willing to develop their nuclear energy sectors, given the NPT regime is maintained.42 But Washington’s strong objections, accompanied by the talk of war, complicated Iranian and Russian efforts to make a respected agreement. The first round of talks between Tehran and Moscow on the latter’s proposal did not make the case for a positive outcome. On Feb. 26, 2006, Gholâm-Rezâ Âghâzâdeh, head of the AEOI, along with its Russian counterpart, Sergey Kiriyenko, announced in Bushehr that they had ‘basically’ agreed upon establishing a joint corporation for conducting uranium enrichment in Russia. It seemed that “Iran backed down before reaching the brink of a crisis.” (KATZ 2006) But Russia had also conceded by allowing Iran to enrich uranium for R&D purposes on its own territory at a low level, to be fixed by the IAEA in order to reduce the potential for a weaponization program. In return, Tehran had agreed to suspend its nuclear program for a limited period of time. (NIRUMAND 2006: 65) Thus Iran seemed to have

averted the danger of its dossier being referred to the

UNSC. But Washington promptly signaled its opposition to the deal made, emphasizing that this

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U.S. Secretary of State, Rice, was quoted as being highly worried about Russia’s proposal. Cited in MAKSIMENKA & ARESHEV (2007) from the RIA NOVOSTI. Putin was further quoted as saying: “It will be expedient to set up a prototype of such global infrastructure that would allow equal access to nuclear energy to all the interested countries.” The first center of this type was opened in January 2007 in the city of Angarsk in the Russian Irkutsk region. The completion of Iran’s Bushehr reactor could pave the way for additional projects in a number of countries of the NME, MAKSIMENKA & ARESHEV (2007) recall. 42

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would not prevent from referring the case to the UNSC. After a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his American counterpart Condoleezza Rice in Washington, Moscow’s representative surprisingly said that there was no compromise with Tehran on the horizon, while Rice underlined that her country would not accept any uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. (NIRUMAND 2006: 65) Thus the U.S. bluntly avoided this promising diplomatic initiative (MASSARRAT 2006c: 544-545).

f) Tiding the Iranian Dossier Over to the UNSC (early 2006) In January 2006, Iran made a six-point proposal to the Europeans—a step not reported in the Western press. Therein Tehran pledged to again suspend uranium enrichment for at least a period of two years during which negotiations should be pursued, to seek Majles ratification of the NPT Additional Protocol, to further allow IAEA inspections and monitoring of its activities, and to stay within the NPT (AFRASIABI 2006). This offer was again disregarded by both Brussels and Washington. The transatlantic camp insisted upon handing the Iran issue over to the UNSC. On Jan. 31, 2006, a declaration released by the Foreign Ministers of the EU-3, Russia, China, the U.S., and the E.U.’s High Representative requested an “extensive period of confidence-building” by Tehran and “called on Iran to restore in full the suspension of enrichment-related activity, including R&D.” They finally “confirmed their resolve to continue to work for a diplomatic solution to the Iran problem.“ (GFO 2006) On the same day, the IAEA’s Deputy Director General for Safeguards briefs that “Iran has continued to facilitate access under its Safeguards Agreement as requested by the Agency, and to act as if the Additional Protocol is in force, including by providing in a timely manner the requisite declarations and access to locations” (IAEA 2006a: 1). Nevertheless, on Feb. 4, the IAEA’s BoG in a 27-3 vote with five abstentions43 requested from its General Director to officially inform the UNSC about the conflict with Iran (GOV/2006/14). At an extraordinary IAEA BoG meeting, scheduled on March 7, the referral to the UNSC should be finally decided upon, thus granting a very limited time for any possible solution of the conflict. But the matter should not yet be actively considered by the UNSC before ElBaradei’s report due on March 6. In anticipation of the report, the Iranian delegate in a note verbale declared that “[t]he mere fact that some members of the Board – who have no privilege over the others – preimpose certain decisions on the Board, goes against the legal stance and authority of the Board,” finding that “[t]he Board decision to report the issue to the Security Council has no legal and technical basis.” The document further speaks of “political pressures over the Board” (all IN43

Board members supporting it were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen. Those against: Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela. Abstentions: Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya, and South Africa. This voting behavior is however unusual since for more than a decade decisions adopted by the BoG were made unanimously.

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FCIRC/666: 4) in its Feb. 4 decision—an allegation also made by many commentators, such as The Hindu’s Deputy Editor Siddharth VARADARAJAN citing Stephen J. Rademaker, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation and International Security at the U.S. State Department until December 2006. The latter said that the U.S. coerced India in two crucial decisions by the IAEA’s BoG, in 2005 and 2006, to vote against Iran: the first time to condemn Iran for not meeting its obligations under NPT and the second time to report Iran’s file to the UNSC (2007).44 Finally on March 6, ElBaradei in a press conference declared: “I do not expect the Board to adopt a resolution on the Iranian issue unless there is a breakthrough and unless there is a positive agreement.” (DGPS 2006) Nonetheless, on the next day, the BoG remained true to its prior notice and voted for the referral of the Iran nuclear dossier to the UNSC (IAEA 2006b). Against such a background the 2006 referral had no legal basis as it preempted the final report of the IAEA investigation due on March 6 and thus tried to influence and shape the final decision illegally (PRATHER 2006). Bound by a Majles legislation in case of the Iranian nuclear case being handed over to the UNSC, Tehran announced its intention to end its voluntary cooperation with the IAEA beyond basic NPT requirements and to resume the enrichment of uranium. It was also in these days that the newly edited NSS with its focus on Iran was released, unilaterally stating “Iran has violated its Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards obligations and refuses to provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.” (2006: 19, Section 5)

g) Washington’s Arrogant Escalation Plan Works Out (Spring 2006) On his trip to New Delhi U.S. President Bush finalized the bilateral agreement on nuclear issues and others45. India—a non-NPT nuclear power—on its part agreed to allow IAEA supervision in some of its nuclear plants, while those which were for weaponization purposes should be further kept secret. In return, the U.S. would provide nuclear fuel rods as well as transfer technology. Conceding to U.S. pressures, New Delhi put the gas pipeline deal with Tehran on hold (VARADARAJAN 2005). This U.S.-India deal was indeed a horrible proof of

breaching international law—

in this case, the NPT—and in relation to the Iran conflict, an arrogant exercise of doublestandard. NIRUMAND comments: The arrogance of power could not be overbid. While the U.S. wanted, menacing to wage a war, to coerce Iran to completely and durably give up its nuclear program, and even did not want to allow the country to enrich uranium for research purposes, now they granted India with all nuclear liberties. … Strategic and economic interests of the U.S. were pivotal. (2006: 66)

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Those anti-Iran votes indeed provoked harsh political arguments inside India. Both countries envisaged to double their trade volume until 2009, with further cooperation in the fields of agriculture, science, and environmental technology. Besides, Washington announced to deliver F-16 and F-18 warplanes. What is more, the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported on April 7, 2006, that the largest U.S. military modernization program since the end of the Cold War was under way. Washington would plan to produce on an annual basis some new 125 nuclear warheads in the next 15 years. 45

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On March 10, 2006, George W. Bush made an essential prerequisite step to militarily tackle the Iran problem by declaring a newspaper group: “You begin to see an issue of grave national security concern.” (BOHAN 2006) In mid-March, the White House releases a revised version of the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS). While Iran is viewed as the country’s greatest security challenge (along with North Korea)—echoing a statement made by Secretary of State Rice the week before—46, the 2002 preemptive war doctrine is reaffirmed. According to it, terrorists and hostile states should be fought with the help of chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry. The NSS recommits to efforts with European allies to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations of nuclear weapons, then adds ominously: “This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided.” (p. 20) While stressing “transformational diplomacy” (pp. 33 and 44) exercised together with allies in the effort to bring about change, at the same time the 2006 NSS asserts that formal structures such as the UN or NATO may at times be less effective than “coalitions of the willing” (p. 48)—a strategy repeatedly advocated in the U.S. post-9/11 wars and now increasingly regarding Iran. The Washington Post’s Peter BAKER observes: Such language could be seen as provocative at a time when the United States and its European allies have brought Iran before the U.N. Security Council to answer allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. At a news conference in January, Bush described an Iran with nuclear arms as a “grave threat to the security of the world.” (2006) On March 29, after difficult deliberations among its five permanent members—as Moscow and Beijing still refused to put strong pressure on Tehran—the UNSC requested “in 30 days a report from the Director General of the IAEA on the process of Iranian compliance with the steps required by the IAEA Board, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration.” (SC8679), thus setting a 30-days deadline for Tehran to halt its uraniumenrichment activities, i.e. its nuclear program. This UNSC Presidential Statement, however, has not a binding character under international law. Further it did not include the threat of sanctions. With Iran vaulting to the front of the U.S. national security agenda (cf. NSS 2006), the Washington Post reported about rising activities by Washington in an effort to bring about ‘regime change’ in Iran. Bush had been advised by 30 to 40 Iran specialists in previous months. The State Department created an own Iran desk and quintupled the number of people working on the country onto ten. It would also add staff in Dubai as well as at other American embassies in the region, all assigned to watch Tehran. The U.S. government also launched a $75 million program to ‘advance democracy’ in Iran by funding oppositional groups, both political and cultural.47 (BAKER & KESSLER 2006)

46

In the second week of March 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a testimony before the Senate: “We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.” 47 There are several reports confirming Washington’s efforts to destabilize the Iranian regime by providing support for riots among ethnic minorities inside Iran. On Jan. 24, 2006, in Southern Iranian city of Ahvâz, two bombs detonated and destructed a bank building as well as the main office for mineral resources killing eight and injuring 46 people. There were also two previous bombings in that city, killing seven in June and four in

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During the time limit set for Iran, there was tremendous talk about eventual sanctions vis-àvis Tehran if Iran did not comply.48 Amidst such strained atmosphere, President Ahmadinejâd declared in Iran’s second largest city of Mashhad on April 11 that his country has become part of the exclusive club of the world’s nuclear powers. Two days earlier, Iranian scientists had achieved to enrich uranium to a degree needed for mastering the nuclear cycle.49 A week later, the P5+1 met in Moscow for talks about the way to proceed with Iran. An agreement was out of sight since Russia and China resisted demands to vote for sanctions. Consequently, U.S. Secretary of State, Rice, said that if the UNSC was unable to arrive at an agreement, Washington would build a ‘coalition of the willing’ in its effort to exercise the right for self-defense, thus rendering a SCR redundant. As expected, Iran finally did not give in and the P5+1 ultimatum expired. In late March, non-proliferation expert Joseph CIRINCIONE claimed that “some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran,” speaking about a “co-ordinated campaign to prepare for a military strike on Iran.” He also warned that a military strike would be disastrous for the United States. It would rally the Iranian public around an otherwise unpopular regime, inflame anti-American anger around the Muslim world, and jeopardise the already fragile U.S. position in Iraq. And it would accelerate, not delay, the Iranian nuclear program. Hard-liners in Tehran would be proven right in their claim that the only thing that can deter the United States is a nuclear bomb. Iranian leaders could respond with a crash nuclear program that could produce a bomb in a few years. and concluded: “We cannot let the political or ideological agenda of a small group determine a national security decision that could create havoc in a critical area of the globe. Not again.” (all 2006) In mid-April, the American investigative journalist Seymour HERSH revealed that a military attack on Iran is highly possible (2006a). A probable Israeli and/or U.S. military strike was now openly debated (MERTINS 2006; ZUNES 2006) and security policy expert BRZEZINSKI entered the floor by strongly warning against using military force in the nuclear dispute with Iran (2006). In late April, six former Foreign Ministers from Western countries50 called upon President Bush to hold direct talks with Tehran in order to settle the conflict peacefully (IHT 2006). In its report on April 28, 2006, which was prepared at the request of the UNSC (cf. SC8679), the October 2005. Moreover, in an attack by Afghan rebels on a convoy between the Eastern Iranian cities of Sâbol and Zâhedân near the border to Afghanistan and Pakistan, 23 people were killed, among them the Governor of Zâhedân Province. For all these incidents, Iran held Americans and British responsible. 48 Beside military action, propositions for sanctioning Iran included extensive economic sanctions, an oil embargo, the blocking of Iranian foreign bank accounts, denying entry for Iranian politicians and scientists as well as expelling the Iranian national soccer team from the 2006 World Cup in Germany. As a reaction to a possible blocking of Iranian bank accounts in Western countries, in mid-January Tehran—according to unconfirmed reports—had transferred €8 billion of its assets from Europe to East Asia (NIRUMAND 2006: 71). 49 Some hours prior to the President’s ceremonial announcement on this issue, his predecessor, Hâshemi Rafsanjâni, in an interview with the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA said Iran has made use of 164 centrifuges and has reached to close the nuclear cycle by feeding uranium hexafluoride, further reaching the level of industrial production. 50 The statement is signed by Madeleine Albright of the United States, Joschka Fischer of Germany, Jozias van Aartsen of the Netherlands, Bronislaw Geremek of Poland, Hubert Védrine of France, and Lydia Polfer of Luxembourg.

49

IAEA’s Director General finds that “the Agency cannot make a judgment about, or reach a conclusion on, future compliance or intentions.” (GOV/2006/27: 8, para. 36) thus leaving much room for speculation and for Washington’s ongoing escalation efforts in the attempt to fabricate a SCR supported by all permanent members.

h) P5+1 Proposal Accompanied by Resolution 1696 (Spring – Fall 2006) In spring 2006 the nuclear crisis turned into a decisive stage ( IRAN-REPORT 06/2006: 14-15). On May 18, a European draft proposal for Iran was handed over to the United States. Long awaited, the U.S. then decided to enter the negotiation process as no diplomatic solution was conceivable without Washington’s direct input (PERTHES 2005). Indeed this alienated lots of hardliners both among the U.S. neoconservative camp as well as in Israel, but at the end the overture was accepted as an effective means to rally international support for harsh sanctions on Tehran (NIR 2006). After tough discussions on the proposal among all Security Council veto powers plus Germany (P5+1), it was finally presented to Iran on June 4.51 Ahmadinejâd considered the proposal as a step forward, while Bush announced that the sanctions envisaged against Iran should be sharpened (IRAN-REPORT 07/2006: 10-12). Tehran emphasized that it would open talks on its nuclear program, but does not accept any preconditions, i.e. stopping its enrichment activities— a vested right under the NPT (SMYTH & DOMBEY 2006; DAILY STAR 2006). On July 31, the pressure on Tehran arrives at a peak: Acting under Art. 40 of Chapter VII UN Charta and pending the IAEA Board of Governors’ GOV/2006/14 resolution of Feb. 4, the UNSC adopts with only Qatar opposing, Resolution 1696. The SCR demands the suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment within a month. If it failed to do so, it would “adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII”—thus making the case for a military strike—, while underlining “that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary.” But once more, with reference to its inalienable right under the NPT, Tehran did not comply. The same day, Iran’s UN Ambassador Javâd Zarif qualified the resolution as arbitrary and illegal because the NTP explicitly guaranteed under international law his country’s right to pursue nuclear activities for peaceful purposes.

51

Some days earlier, on May 31, elements of a so-called ‘Final (Revised) Proposal’ were published online by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One day later ABC News made public a very similar version of the offer, which is widely referred to as the said proposal.

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UNITED NATIONS CHARTER CHAPTER VII Article 40

ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THREATS TO THE PEACE, BREACHES OF THE PEACE, AND ACTS OF AGGRESSION In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable. Such provisional measures shall be without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned. The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures.

Article 41

The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

Article 42

Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

On September 18, French President Chirac surprisingly announced support for Iran’s stance and calls for negotiations with Tehran, without any preconditions or Security Council involvement. On Oct. 3, the AEOI’s Mohammad Saidi proposes that Paris could form a consortium out of Eurodif and Areva52 to carry out uranium enrichment inside Iran. An effort qualified as interesting by Javier Solana. (ZERROUKY 2006) However, after several meetings between the latter and Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Lârijâni ended with no serious results, as Iran would not give up its enrichment program. Thus the EU’s foreign ministers declared in mid-October the temporary failure of the negotiations with Iran and stressed that deliberations at Security Council level about Chapter VII, UN Charter, sanctions on Tehran cannot be avoided any more. At the same time, they “noted that the door to negotiations nevertheless remained open.” (cf. CEU 2006: 24). The Europeans’ draft SCR called upon all States to stop supplying material or technology that could contribute to any nuclear and missile programs. It would also ban and asset freeze on organizations, individuals, and companies involved in those projects. While Moscow and Beijing called for a settlement of the conflict via dialog and Washington “has said the European draft is too lenient”, Tehran said it is open to talks with the U.S. on regional issues (AP 2006). Thus a new phase in the nuclear conflict was being kicked off.

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AREVA is a France-based multinational industrial conglomerate being the world market leader in nuclear technology. In 2001, the company was founded as the result of the merger of CEA-Industrie, COGEMA, Framatome ANP, and FCI.

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i) Sanctions and Sabre-Rattling (late 2006 – early 2007): The ‘New Iraq Strategy’ The way for sanctions being paved, on Dec. 23, 2006, the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1737 imposing sanctions on Iran. It calls Tehran to halt activities whatsoever in relation to its nuclear program. Further, trade, travelling, and financial sanctions for those persons or institutions related to the Iranian nuclear program are being put into place. Moreover Within sixty days, the IAEA should report if Iran has complied with that. Additionally, the SCR prevents Iranians from studying and teaching in those “disciplines which would contribute to Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and development of nuclear weapon delivery systems related to atomic or missile issues” (SCR1737, para. 17). The sanctions would be lifted, if Iran halted its enrichment program. Meanwhile, Germany’s foreign minister, Steinmeier, affirms that P5+1 June proposals were still on the table. Iran’s foreign minister at the same time calls the adopted SCR not lawful as it went beyond UNSC authority (IRAN-REPORT 01/2007: 12).53 On Dec. 20, 2006 British Prime Minister Blair, at a speech before the business community in the United Arab Emirates, call had called upon the region’s moderates to actively support the “monumental struggle” between democracy and extremism in the effort to counter Iran.54 While claiming that “[w]e must recognize the strategic threat the government of Iran poses,” Blair holds Iran responsible for negatively interfering in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq (BBC NEWS 2007). On Jan. 17, seven Arab states and the U.S. made a common declaration calling on Iran to mend its interference in Iran. On Jan. 29, the IAEA’s Director General, ElBaradei, during the 2007 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos (Switzerland), called for a “timeout regarding the Iranian nuclear issue” (CNN 2007). The same day Bush said: “If Iran escalates its military action in Iraq to the detriment of our troops and/or innocent Iraqi people, we will respond firmly.” (NPR 2007) Thus, a new confrontational attitude to any Iranian activities in the Iranian-Iraqi border region is proclaimed by U.S. representatives. In fact, Washington has evidently started its war activities with increasing military operations in the Iraq-Iran border region, even crossing the frontier and financing insurgent groups there. In this light, the U.S. has kidnapped several Iranian diplomats inside Iraq—a harsh breach of international law, which only Russia condemned. 55 Part of Bush’s ‘new Iraq strategy’ is to ‘capture or kill’ Iranians ‘interfering’ in Iraqi affairs. As his National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said, the crossing of the border may be necessary to perform the task (SENGUPTA 2007). It seems that since the second half of 2006, the United States carried out 53

For Iran’s statement before the UNSC on the day of the Resolution’s passage, see URL. Cf. also BLAIR, Tony (2007), “A Battle for Global Values,” Foreign Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2007, Vol. 86, No. 1. Therein he expects Washington to lead in a global war on terrorism simultaneously being a battle for tolerance and liberty. 55 On Jan. 11, 2007, five Iranians—believed to be Revolutionary Guardians—were arrested by U.S. troops in the Northern Iraqi city of Erbil and are still under American custody. Moreover, on Feb. 4, Iraqi special forces presumably under U.S. command captured the deputy secretary of the Iranian Embassy, Jalal Sharafis, in Baghdad. (IRAN-REPORT 03/2007: 13-14) 54

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provocative acts in order to implicate Iran in an escalation leading to war. Meanwhile preparations for a war against Tehran seem to reach the final level. Israel has asked the U.S. for an air corridor over Iraq for strikes against Iran (COUGHLIN 2007) and staged the largest civil defense exercise in its history on March 20/21 (COPANS 2007). For the very first time, Iran’s chief negotiator at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy (Feb. 9 till 11, 2007) declared that Iran in an effort to cooperate with the UNSC would agree to limit its enrichment of uranium at four percent—a level sufficient to produce the fuel rod for its reactors, but far from being used for weaponization purposes (LARIJANI 2007). The next day, the EU’s Foreign Ministers decided to strictly implement the sanctions of SCR1737 56, while proclaiming their support for a diplomatic solution through negotiations ( IRAN-REPORT 03/2007: 11). On Feb. 19, 2007, ElBaradei casted doubts both about calls for more sanctions and the international community’s emphasis on suspending enrichment. He said that it is far more important to dissuade Iran from pursuing enrichment on an industrial scale—a development that could be a mere six months away—since Tehran has already acquired considerable technical knowledge from enriching uranium in a R&D facility. The IAEA’s Director General also pointed out: “The US could be very helpful in providing the security assurances that obviously lie at the heart of some of the Iranian activities.” (FT 2007) The day after, Ahmadinejâd, in a speech in the Iranian city of Rasht, called the West to simultaneously suspend its uranium enrichment as a prerequisite for serious and confidence-building negotiations, a proposition originally made by ElBaradei in his call for a ‘time-out.’ However, the Iranian President’s offer was harshly refused by Washington. Iran, once more, allowed the sixty-day UNSC ultimatum to expire on Feb. 21, 2007. As expected, the IAEA has subsequently reported to the UNSC that Iran has ignored the latter’s demands, so that the way for further sanctions is being opened. For the very first time since the 2002 Afghanistan Conference Iranian and American representatives participated at a summit. In order to improve the situation of the country, the Iraqi government initiated a two-round conference. The first, held on March 10, assembled senior officials from all neighboring countries, Egypt, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and the P5. The surprising U.S. acceptance to take part in a conference along with Iranian representatives can certainly be explained by growing pressure inside the United States, but does not make a case for a reorientation of American policy vis-à-vis Iran as ongoing hostile moves indicate. The second meeting is scheduled for the first half of April on the level of ministers from all nations participating in the first round of talks plus those of the G-8. Following a one-day consultative meeting, the Foreign Ministers from seven important Muslim

56

On Feb. 22, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a decree according to which his country sanctions Iran pendant to SCR1737 demands.

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countries—Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia—plus the OIC’s Secretary General called, in a Press Statement on Feb. 25, 2007 in Islamabad: The Ministers viewed with deep concern the dangerous escalation of tension especially over the Iranian nuclear issue. It is vital that all issues must be resolved through diplomacy and there must be no resort to use of force. There is need for de-escalation instead of aggravation and confrontation in the Gulf region. All countries must work towards that objective. (MOFA 2007)

j) Exposing the World at Odds: Resolution 1747 and ‘Unanimous’ Disaccord On March 24, the P5+1—after extraordinarily difficult deliberations—pushed a second unanimous SCR imposing sanctions on Iran. Also for the second time, Iran is urged to resume its nuclear program within 60 days. SCR1747 includes the extension of sanctions upon those affiliated to the country’s nuclear program, the freeze of Iranian assets, a ban on arms exports to and from Iran, and a ban on Iranians’ choice of study abroad. Annex II comprises the P5+1 proposals on Iran, dated June 2006. The SCR foresees the removal of sanctions if Iran will comply with its demands. As the statements by the UNSC members made prior to the vote indicated, the unanimity of the vote was accompanied by a tremendous gap of assessment vis-à-vis the issue at hand. While all UNSC members underlined that talks should bring about a peaceful settlement of the conflict, however, significant differences showed up between the fifteen countries involved in the drafting process. In order to adequately grasp the whole political dimension of that UNSC decision, I will give an overview of what happened at this UNSC meeting, presided by the South African representative.57 The Qatari representative—the only Arab and Persian Gulf country on the Council, and above all assuming the G-77 chairmanship—expressed “sadness” about the adopted SCR and said his country were sure Iran would pursue a peaceful program. The Congolese delegation condemned any threat of using force. Indonesia stressed that its proposal of a nuclear-free zone was amended to the SCR. It further emphasized, as Congo did before, that all three pillars of the NPT—the right for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the duty for disarmament, the interdiction of pursuing a weaponization program—should be respected in a non-discriminatory manner, while underscoring Iran’s rights under this Treaty should be respected. In its statement, South Africa urged that deescalation in a heightened situation of escalation is needed and rejected the idea that WMDs “are safe in some hands and not in others.” All these countries urged the unavoidability of dialog and negotiations on the basis of mutual respect. Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the UK’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, read a declaration made by the P5+1, expressing the latter’s “profound” concerns—a view not reaffirmed by the majority of the UNSC. The declaration indicated further that the June 2006 P5+1 proposal remained on the table. In its statement, the United Kingdom suggested that further sanctions are expected if Iran does not comply with demands included in the adopted SCR and 57

The following report is based on the webcast of the UNSC meeting on March 24, 2007.

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finishing with the ominous announcement: “Iran must make its choice.” Also the French representative, UN Ambassador de la Sablière, warned Iran that the UNSC may adopt further measures, thus the choice for Iran would be either to comply or to suffer heightened isolation. Paris simultaneously offered nuclear cooperation with Iran. In his statement, Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Acting U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, considered the issue at hand as “clearly a grave threat to international peace and security,” resuming: The Iranian leadership’s continued defiance of this Council in failing to comply with Security Council Resolutions 1696 and 1737 requires that we uphold our responsibilities defined in the Charter of this esteemed body and take necessary action. And while we hope Iran responds to this resolution by complying with its international legal obligations, the United States is fully prepared to support additional measures in 60 days should Iran choose another course. He further spoke of “more than 20 years of deception of the IAEA” by Iran, violating the NPT. Iran’s “continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability”—this indeed, a unilateral move of classifying the nature of the Iranian nuclear program—would “only further isolate Iran and make it less, not more secure.” These “adopted stronger measures” would “persuade the regime to make its country more secure by abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Wolff said. He warned that [s]hould Iran choose a different path, this resolution makes clear that we are prepared and willing to adopt additional measures. Indeed, in the face of Iran’s continued defiance, the United States expects that the Council will continue to incrementally increase pressure on the Iranian regime. He was further intent on making a difference between Iran’s regime and its people, underlining the immense contributions people of Iranian descent did for his country and underlining that sanctions would exclusively hit the regime. Reminiscing of the United States’ ‘regime change’ rhetoric, he said that “[w]e hope for another dynamic.” He considered it the Council’s “solemn responsibility to take measures which will not only halt the development of Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, but to encourage the leadership of Iran to choose a different path.” Qualifying Iran’s rejection to the P5+1 Proposals as “a deeply troubling signal to the entire international community,” his government would associate itself to this offer and to the “willingness to resolve this issue through negotiations.” However, the U.S. called the path pursued by Iran as a “direct challenge to the very principles on which the United Nations was founded.” being a leading state sponsor of terrorism. Repeating the accusation on Iran that it was willing to “wipe” Israel—a UN member state—“off the map,” he considered that to break the provisions of Article 2, UN Charta, which states “that all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” This would even be amplified “by Iran’s continued well-known role as one of the world’s leading state-sponsors of terrorism.” In this light, he audaciously warned against another Holocaust: “To forget the past, or even worse, attempt to re-

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write it is to invite it to be repeated. We cannot allow that to happen.” Classifying Iran as a “grave threat to international peace and security,” he nevertheless expressed Washington’s ‘firm commitment’ for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Wolff at the end warned that “our vote here today shows that the Council can and will act accordingly when countries violate their international obligations.” Russia on its part emphasized the fact that there existed different views by UNSC members on the Iranian case. Vitali Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, believed that the SCR was not aimed to punish Iran, but required Tehran to fully cooperate with the IAEA. Therefore, he hoped for normalization as to Iran’s nuclear program. In his statement, the Chinese representative first outlined that his country does “not wish to see new turbulences in the Middle East.” He considered the development of Iran’s program “worrisome,” but the SCR was not to punish Tehran, but to reactivate negotiation measures. Beijing’s UN Ambassador, Wang Guangya, further justified his country’s approval of the SCR as follows: China believes that any measure taken should aim at safeguarding the international nonproliferation mechanism and maintaining international and regional peace and stability. Actions taken by the Security Council should be appropriate, incremental and proportionate. They should help enhance diplomatic efforts rather than aggravating conflicts and leading to confrontation. Diplomacy remained the best solution, since “[i]t is impossible to resolve the issue fundamentally by imposing sanctions and pressure only.” China would “call upon all the parties concerned to adopt a highly responsible and constructive attitude, keep calm, practice restraint, and refrain from any actions that may lead to deterioration or escalation of the tension.” He further urged to prevent the escalation of the crisis “maintaining international and regional peace and stability remain the premise and ultimate objective” and underlined that the IAEA remained the “main framework” to settle Iran’s issue, and “its authority and role should therefore be safeguarded and strengthened.” In conclusion, he pointed that “[t]he ‘time out’ proposal by IAEA's Director-General Baradei and the establishment of mechanism of talks that includes Iran also deserve our consideratios” as well as underscored China’s commitment to continue its “due role for a comprehensive and peaceful solution.” While Panama stated that the political process had failed, the statements of Slovakia, and Belgium to emphasize the need to respect the NPT. Ghana, being the last to speak before the vote, alluded to the “issue of selectivity” when it comes to deal with non-proliferation matters— the subject on which the UNSC was convened with the Iranian case. After the announced approval of the draft resolution on Iran by all 15 UNSC members, the floor was given to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manuchehr Mottaki. In his extensive and comprehensive statement, he said that the UNSC was pressured to adopt “illegal” and “unnecessary” measures by a minority of its members. As his country’s peaceful nuclear program would not pose a threat to international peace and security, it could not be subjected to UNSC deliberations. Te56

hran would keep on resolving outstanding issues. He said that the IAEA’s BoG was being misused and its members coerced to vote against Iran. In this light, the case for a misuse of UNSC would be accordingly set. Referring to the NAM and OIC declarations, he pointed out that twothird of UN member-states have expressed support for his country’s position. Mottaki spoke of a long tradition of the UNSC denying rights toward Tehran. Reminding the silence of the UNSC during the first seven days of Saddam’s assault on Iran, he criticized the body’s failure to call upon Iraq to withdraw its troops from 30,000 km² occupied with that week. He alluded to the fact that UNSC members supplied chemical and other weapons to Saddam to use them against Iranian civilians. As SCR479 (dated Sept. 28, 1980) would expose, those acts remained unpunished. Moreover, the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry was condemned by the UNSC as a ‘threat of international peace and security.’ As to the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon, he harshly condemned the UNSC’s silence with two of its members openly supporting the aggressor. In this light, the Foreign Minister emphasized that law must be respected in all matters and situations and that the UNSC must not deny the legitimacy of the majority of the international community. There was no single threat of international peace and security originating from Iran, but the preeminence of political interests by some UNSC members would pose problem. The UNSC were not in the position to cope with the Iranian case as that remained to be done under the authority of the IAEA. But the seizure of the UNSC would uncover the illegal and political goals of that body. For instance, he referred to a recent U.S. report that American information as to Iran’s nuclear program put before the IAEA BoG was incorrect. He furthermore questioned the UNSC members’ readiness to expose their nuclear programs in the way his country did and indicated that the P5 were even denying to expose the number of their centrifuges. Conferring to a 2003 IAEA report, he underlined that no military diversion could be found, with this observation not being refuted up to date. As to the Agency’s February report, Mottaki emphasized the document’s affirmation that Iran had fully cooperated. Moreover, he expressed sadness over the fact that the UNSC was being subjected to pressures from some of its members in an effort to deprive a nation’s right. Indeed, the adopted SCR—particularly contrasting what the U.S. representative had said before—would violate the fundamental right of research and scientific principles, as prescribed in the UN Charta. He pointed out that the financial sanctions put against Iran’s Sepah Bank would affect normal people. Taking into account that there was no indication made by the IAEA as to the military purpose of Iran’s nuclear program, he asked if this UNSC measure was not an action threatening international peace and security. At the end of his statement, Mottaki asked the UNSC’s President to consider if the SCR adopted would not further the threat of international peace and security and if it would not send a signal to peoples worldwide that their vested rights would not be guaranteed by international organizations. Strongly condemning Western support for Saddam’s eight-year long war against his country, he urged to realize the reality and choose the right path, 57

not failing to mention that history would show that Iran were a peaceful nation and has been the victim of terrorism, in part supported by the West. At the UNSC stakeout, the U.S. representative called the Iranian Foreign Minister’s statement a “revisionist speech” that missed the point, an act of “distraction.” He further alleged that the unanimous passage of the SCR witnessed a “unity of assessment” among the UNSC members.58 The EU-3 representatives on their part underscored their claim that Iran would have to choose between compliance and isolation. The UK’s delegate said that “we incrementally increased the pressure on Iran,” while his French colleague stressed “[w]e hope Iran will make the right choice.” Responding to a question affirming that this resolution could be used by the U.S. to launch a war on Iran, he said: “Both resolution 1737 and this resolution are very clear. There are resolutions based on article 41 of the charter, which is article which deals with economic sanctions only.” Russia clearly, on the other hand, surprisingly held that “unfortunately there is this list of sanctions” and expressed hope that “political confrontation” will not be heightened. It underlined that further measures would be considered, but on the grounds of Art. 41 UN Charter, i.e. not providing the legal foundation for the use of force. The Council’s President and South Africa’s representative said that his country would have wished that Iran’s Sepah Bank was not sanctioned. He further exposed that the SCR sponsors—the P5+1—tried to isolate other UNSC members at an early stage of the debates on the draft, but finally those were successful to make some changes, e.g. by incorporating the guarantee of NPT rights and disarmament duties. The SCR was now better, but not perfect. However, he insisted that “this escalation […] is very worrisome.” Thus, South Africa, Indonesia, and Qatar had achieved that the P5 include vaguely the notion of a nuclear-free ME into the SCR text, but not as a UNSC affirmation: Recalling the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors (GOV/2006/14), which states that a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue would contribute to global non-proliferation efforts and to realizing the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery (SCR1747: 1) What is more, both Russia and China succeeded to safeguard their economic interests in the country sanctioned. The new Resolution did not introduce any change to the exemption provisions in §15 of SCR1737, whereby all economic deals made with Iran prior to the SCR can be pursued. Furthermore, the fact that the proposal, once rejected by Iran due to its numerous shortcomings, is repeatedly offered to Iran—this time as part of the SCR—puts Tehran in the uncomfortable position to have to accept the package proposed. For Iran, the arms embargo may highly increase its vulnerability in case of a U.S. attack. The so-called P5+1’s proposal of ‘suspension for suspension’ can be interpreted as a clear sign of coercion as it demands Iran to renounce from

58

This, however, is not mentioned in the official U.S. press release of the stakeout.

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its NPT rights. The repeated U.S. claims that Iran would be a “grave threat to international peace and security,” legitimates Art. 42 UN Charta, including the use of force, to enter into force. In the run-up to this UNSC meeting on sanctioning Iran, the latter’s President had announced speaking before the Council’s vote—a right that is reserved to a State’s highest authority. But the U.S. did not visa the President’s crew members so that he was kept from travelling to New York (cf. OLSON 2007). As a result, Iran’s statement could only be considered after the vote as it was presented by its Foreign Minister only.

 MANUFACTURING A GLOBAL CRISIS: THE IRAN CONFLICT

3.2.2. Why the Talks’ Failure was Foreseeable

3.2.3. Tackling the Real Issues: How Diplomacy Can Finally Succeed http://www.prisonplanet.com/Pictures/Jun06/050606sk6206.jpg

3.2.2. Why the Talks’ Failure was Foreseeable The fundamental criteria for assessing whether the proposals made by the West—by the socalled EU-3 as well as in a later stage the P5+1—were and are reasonable or not are whether they offer benefits to Iran that are both sufficiently specific and certain to be taken seriously and whether those benefits are commensurate with the concessions being demanded from Iran. If the proposals fulfill both conditions, they can be considered reasonable and powerful as to their meaningfulness and feasibility. If the proposals offer benefits that are either too insubstantial to bear the capacity of being weighed sincerely against the cost(s) Iran is demanded to concede, or are tuned on other factors beyond that concession, it ought to be judged insufficient. If it further fails on both matters, it is even more clearly to be deemed as an inadequate response to the solution of the nuclear dispute, as an issue of high gravity. As the negotiation process overwhelmingly took place between Great Britain, France, and Germany, i.e. the EU-3, and Iran, it should now be dealt with the European ‘offer packages,’ primarily made in the Paris Agreement.

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a) The Absurdity of the EU-3 Offers In negotiating partners’ allegedly extensive economic incentives it is dealt with e.g. technological cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, agriculture and water supply. But these are no new incentives, as they deal with numerous projects already agreed upon or even started with. Anyways, those cooperation offers cannot be qualified as ‘incentives’ in real terms as economic and other cooperation is primarily in the interests of the offerors. Furthermore, other proposals put forward cannot be considered as binding since their realization lies in the hands of the United States. In issues displeasing Washington, but benefiting Tehran—such as the suspension of trade discriminations, the admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the supply of spare parts for the Iranian civil aviation—the EU-3’s avowals to support Iran cannot be described as serious or at least weightily. As the Iranian crucial pipeline project from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf is concerned, in the Paris Agreement the Europeans just signaled their ‘willingness’ to start ‘discussions’—hardly a trustworthy declaration of engagement. More generous and binding are the EU-3 offers when it comes to the promise of providing fuel rods for Iran’s nuclear energy sector, taking back nuclear waste, and delivering light-water reactors. In that respect, it must be added that Iran would expose itself into a situation of dependence vis-à-vis foreign countries’ promises to provide for its nuclear energy supply.

b) Iran’s Historical Skepticism about Energy Cooperation with Foreign Powers Whereas the failure of the Russian mediation effort was broadly viewed by most of the West as exposing Iran’s secret desire for acquiring nuclear weapons, Iran’s underlying concerns were not covered. Indeed, during the whole negotiation process with Russia, the Iranians were afflicted by serious worries to depend from a foreign country for the import of the nuclear fuel rod. Placing itself in such dependence bore a great deal of risk as the country’s energy security would be placed at the mercy of foreign powers’ political opportunism. Political and economic independence—a leitmotiv of post-revolutionary Iran—would thus be trampled under foot. Moreover, history proved no good experiences. With France, for instance, Iran entered into a nuclear cooperation agreement and bought into the European uranium enrichment consortium Eurodif59 as a partner. The French government subsidiary company Cogéma and the Iranian Government created the Sofidif enterprise (Société franco–iranienne pour l’enrichissement de l’uranium par diffusion gazeuse) with a 60 to 40 percent share. In turn, Sofidif acquired a 25 percent share in Eurodif, which gave Iran a 10 percent

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The abbreviation stands for European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium, which is a subsidiary company of French company Cogéma. The joint stock company Eurodif was formed in 1973 by France, Belgium, Spain, and Sweden. As the latter withdrew from the project in 1974, Iran took over its 10 percent share in Eurodif—resulting from an arrangement between Paris and Tehran.

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share of Eurodif.60 Tehran thus purchased the right to 250-300 tons of 3% enriched uranium. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government proved no interest and did not keep with its payment obligations under the Eurodif agreement. As in 1991 it wanted to receive uranium, a legal dispute followed since Paris no longer felt bound by the contract. But in the same year, France had to refund Iran’s financial Eurodif share—more than $1.6 billion. But Paris affirmed towards Washington that it will not release the enriched uranium that Iran has a claim to. However Iran remains a shareholder of Eurodif via Sofidif, a Franco-Iranian consortium shareholder which owns 25 percent of Eurodif. KALINOWSKI thus remarks: “When France, together with other countries, now demands from Iran that it should not enrich uranium itself, one can guess how this is received in Iran.” (2006) As regards Moscow, its past policies were more characterized by aggressiveness than by cooperation. Prior to World War Two, Russia, which also sought access to the Persian Gulf, had together with Britain divided Iran into spheres of influence and during that War its troops had occupied the Iran’s Northern part. (NIRUMAND 2006: 62-63) In recent times, Moscow again and again postponed the completion of the construction of the Bushehr nuclear reactor, with all kinds of pretenses. Against the severity of such a record, Iran’s denial of the Russian offer was quite comprehensible.

c) Falling into America’s Trap: Why European Diplomacy Failed It remains incomprehensible why Europe finally deviated from its original path to pursue a peaceful resolution of the conflict and adopted Washington’s slogan that all options were on the table. Any evidence that Iran is pursuing a weaponization program is still lacking. European countries have—in the shadow of the U.S. Iran embargo—established not only solid and highly beneficial economic ties61 with the country, but have also maintained mutually fertile cultural relations. Europe should have had a fundamental interest to achieve a peaceful resolution with the most important country in its neighboring region—both from economic and geostrategic perspectives. The long looked for European dream to follow an independent foreign and security policy presenting a responsible and successful peaceful alternative to warmongering attitudes had notable chance to prove its viability, particularly in contrast to Washington’s militaryabiding approach. “Why have the EU states jeopardized all this?” (NIRUMAND 2006: 49) is certainly a legitimate question to raise, as the myth that diplomacy can best succeed if it is accompanied by the threat of using force is hardly promising. At the beginning of the negotiation process, the EU-3 aimed a compromise aiming at preventing Iran to acquire nuclear bombs by preserving Tehran’s vest right for a peaceful nuclear 60

In 1974, the Shah lent 1 billion dollars—and another 180 million dollars in 1977—for the construction of the factory, thus acquiring the right to buy 10 percent of the production. According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel (Hamburg), Iran’s 40 percent share would ensure an estimated profit of €7 million a year ( IRANREPORT 04/2007: 9). 61 German exports alone to Iran amount to a total of over €4 billion.

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program. The Europeans thus pursued the reasonable way of harsher controls by the IAEA. As a confidence-building measure, Iran was requested to fully resume its uranium enrichment activities for the duration of the talks and was additionally asked to sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT allowing unannounced inspections. After tough talks, Tehran finally agreed to do so. The U-turn of the European stance came in the summer of 2005. This was certainly due to the astonishment about Iran’s denial of incentives offered so far. Despite numerous voices inside the European negotiation camp calling for more lucrative offers for Tehran in order for it to concede on a vested right, the EU-3 increasingly turned to the American creed that talks with the mullahs threatening global security would not be fruitful. Suddenly, the EU-3 called upon Iran to fully and even permanently to renounce from all its nuclear activities, thus denying Iran’s vested right to have a nuclear program for energy purposes and additionally breaching the promise made in the Paris Agreement to support Iran’s rights under the NPT. This ‘maximum demand’— not covered by provisions of international law and egregiously making the case for a doublestandard policy—was, as could be expected, harshly criticized and rejected by Tehran. It moreover impeded the success of further negotiations as it created an intolerable gap between the two parties’ position thus considerably reducing the chance of a negotiated settlement. This indeed was a slap in the face of all those in Iran who had agreed to negotiate about the country’s vested right in a non self-evident effort to meet European and other concerns. Europe, indeed, should have known this. What is more, it should have known that such a demand would automatically increase the probability of the conflict’s dangerous escalation. This shift of strategy had clearly strengthened the radical faction inside Iran who now claimed that the reformist camp was misguided in pursuing a compromise with the West. The internationally vested right to follow a nuclear energy program was now elevated into a question of national prestige. And those benefitting from the expected failure of the negotiations between the EU-3 and Iran were the U.S. neoconservatives, with “… [t]he EU henceforth becoming the prisoner of the U.S.” (NIRUMAND 2006: 50) As diplomacy suffered a crash and was consequently propagated as inadequate to deal with Iran, Washington—along with Tel Aviv62—increasingly insisted upon a widely dismissed ‘military option.’ Those repeated echoes of the intention to wage a war against Iran undermined further diplomatic efforts between Brussels and Tehran. However, it remains to be clarified why Europe naively agreed to negotiate with Iran in lieu of the United States without realizing that it was not in the position to offer remarkable incentives to Iran and why it failed at an early stage to forcefully demand its American ally to engage constructively. Far from that, Europe embraced the U.S. neoconservatives’ logic on the necessity of a threat scenario.

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In an interview with the daily Maariv on April 21, 2005, Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that the international community should aim at bringing about regime change in Iran.

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d) Playing the Neoconservative Game: Spurning Iran’s Security Dilemma Iran’s fear of being threatened is certainly justified. Not only is it encircled by some quarter million U.S. and allied troops in its immediate neighborhood, Tehran also sees itself in the eye of storm, at the latest since U.S. President Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address has put the country on the ‘Axis of Evil,’ thus reserving the right to proceed militarily against it. It becomes clear that the United States is the only country that is capable of reacting to Iran’s existential security problems and offering remedies for it. But Washington constantly ignored and even renounced signs from Tehran willing to start talks on strategic issues afflicting both, even though Iran signaled its willingness to engage fully in a rapprochement process with the U.S. and to meet all the latter’s outstanding concerns and interests (cf. PORTER 2006). We have seen above that the EU-3 alone does not possess adequate and binding instruments, particularly in the realm of security policy, which could be stressed in the negotiations with Tehran making the talks succeed. The Europeans’ frustrations about the diplomatic stagnation with Tehran stems from their apparent lack of power due to Washington’s refusal to enter the diplomatic stage. As former U.S. National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski uncovered: “We simply refuse to be part of the solution” [own translation] (BESTE & MASCOLO 2006). Instead, the U.S. constantly has augmented its pressure vis-à-vis Iran, accompanied by a harshening rhetoric against its regime. In the meantime it has tried to rally a broad range of countries for an anti-Iran coalition. While lacking a reasonable support for rendering a diplomatic breakthrough possible, Washington unmistakably strived for a military confrontation. And the U.S. neoconservatives could have imagined no better outcome in the Iran issue.

3.2.3. Tackling the Real Issues: How Diplomacy Can Finally Succeed In contrast of the much-cited determinism as to the insolubility of the so-called Iran crisis, there are however ways to a diplomatic solution—indeed necessitating a sound farewell of the modus operandi used so far.

a) Preconditions Any adequate solution must meet both sides’ concerns. For Iran, this incorporates reliable civil nuclear energy, guarantee of its NPT rights, rendering its technological development possible, and foremost security assurances against any attack on the country. For the U.S. and Europe the bottom line remains that Iran will not develop nuclear-weapons capability, i.e. a solid gap between civil and military nuclear activities best assured through extensive Iranian cooperation with the IAEA. All other issues at stake for both sides are unlikely to be solved in an initial deal in the ‘nuclear crisis.’ If a peaceful solution should be envisioned, the following aspects ought not to be disregarded in any proposal made by the West:

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Iran’s vested right under the NPT to complete the fuel cycle has become a question of national prestige, unimaginable to be neglected by the country’s political authorities (cf. LADURNER & VON RANDOW 2004). The feeling of being discriminated against in the nuclear question is widely sensed in Iran accompanied by the widespread opinion that the West will deprive Iranians the right for technological advancement. Here the case of double-standards exercised in matters of international relations cannot be underestimated. Iran’s rights under NPT—as emphasized in the Agreements made—should not be infringed in a discriminatory manner (VON RANDOW 2004). The overemphasized, partly demagogic politization of the nuclear issue should be defused and counteracted by political actors involved in the negotiating process for it makes any arrangement even harder to achieve. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the Vienna-based IAEA, should be the sole authority to deal with the Iranian nuclear dossier (cf. PRATHER 2006). Any referral to the UNSC only augments unnecessary pressure and further underscores Iran’s belief that the referral of its nuclear dossier was preceded by acts of political pressuring thus casting the legitimacy of Council decisions into doubt. SCRs and sanctions moreover pave the way for the escalation of the process, besides playing into the hands of those in Washington paradoxically traditionally opposed to any UN authority. It should be seriously acknowledged that any UNSC sanctions—as experts widely note— cannot be considered as an adequate instrument to cope with the problem at hand (cf. BLIX 2006; ELBARADEI 2006). A sound contradiction in the Western demand vis-à-vis Iran to fully halt the latter’s nuclear program is that “France and Great Britain themselves dispose atomic weapons and that Germany is standing under the atomic umbrella of the U.S. A stronger commitment to disarmament—a possible heavily symbolic compensation field for voluntary Iranian self-restriction—is thus not credibly to hold.” (BRZOSKA & NEUNECK 2006: 15) Likewise “U.S. efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical giving its willingness to accept Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which encourages Iran and others to seek similar capabilities.” (MEARSHEIMER & WALT 2003: 40) What is more, it would be Europe’s task to condemn a posteriori the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal as an egregious act of double-standard. Those kinds of confessions are essential to pour oil on troubled waters. What is bearing tremendous weight on the disharmony characterizing the whole issue are the military threats by the United States and Israel with regard to Iran. Any aggressive regime change rhetoric only strengthens the hardliners in Iran and thus fosters the blockade (NIRUMAND 2006).

The threat of military use or even sanctions would be tremendously counterpro-

ductive in the way that Iran would increasingly consider to acquire the nuclear bomb as an effec-

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tive means of deterrence (BRZOSKA & NEUNECK 2006: 23; PERTHES & WEGNER 2006). It has been proved that nuclear weapons proliferation seems to be interconnected with the level of economic development, the external threat environment, lack of great-power security guarantees, and a low level of integration into the world economy (SINGH & WAY 2004). It is startling how all these factors are applicable to Iran at its present stage.

b) Concrete Measures: Extending the Framework of Negotiations How to Resolve the Dual-Use Problem? The participation of other countries in the enrichment activities in Iran could ensure international confidence.

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It seems that in the P5+1 Proposal

Moscow’s offer to enrich uranium on Russian own soil—in a joint venture—for Iranian power plants has been integrated (BRZOSKA & NEUNECK 2006: 16). This forms also a central element of proposals made by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scholars thus showing a way out of the nuclear dead-end (MALEKI & BUNN 2006; THOMSON & FORDEN 2006). For this proposal of multilateralization of Iran’s uranium enrichment to succeed, it is crucial that, on the one hand, Iran’s reservations as to a possible dependence toward foreign powers regarding the delivery of raw uranium are effectively settled and, on the other, the United States finally agrees to that. Offering Serious Incentives. In order to resolve the diplomatic impasse, significant additional incentives—both economically and politically—have to be offered to Tehran (POLENZ 2004; PERTHES 2006). In the field of economy, offers should not be only limited to the area of trade in nuclear energy, but should also encompass cooperation in issues of regenerative energy. As the Volker PERTHES from Germany’s most important think tank, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), incessantly argues, Germany being Europe’s most important country should be highly interested to develop long-term cooperation in the field energy policy with Iran (2004a; 2004b: 90). In order to achieve such a goal crucial for Germany’s national interests, Berlin should—despite Chancellor Merkel’s surprisingly clear pro-American stance—however abjure from any ‘military solution.’ Launching a CSCNME Now. A key prerequisite for success however is the consideration of Iran’s security dilemma. Security guarantees should be presented to Iran in the form classical nonaggression acts. Here it is important to note that it is the United States government that can and should do this. Accordingly Iran would have no excuse for not fully cooperating with the West as picture of an aggressive Great Satan would break down. 63

This was first proposed by Iranian negotiators in the first half of 2004 and offered officially by Ahmadinejad to the international community in his address to the UN General Assembly Summit in the latter half of 2005. In August 2005, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Hassan Rohani, Iran’s chief negotiator at that time, had agreed that Iran would export its uranium conversion facility (UCF) product to and import yellow cake from South Africa. (MOUSAVIAN 2006: 3) This proposal, though ignored at that time, now entered various scientific proposal sheets to end the nuclear conflict.

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Iran is, after all, due to its “unique geographic location […] a natural regional power,” which wishes that its status as “regional hegemon” is acknowledged and respected by others. In order to engage the country constructively it is time for a policy of détente. (TAKEYH 2007) That is why Tehran’s abandonment of its contractual rights should be accompanied by the initiation of a OSCE-modeled conference on security and cooperation for the Near and Middle East region. The EU would be the credible actor to announce its active support for such a project with the aim of a nuclear-free zone in the Near and Middle East (MASSARRAT 2007a).







 AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE 1. WHO IS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY? ON GLOBAL FISSURES

1.1. The West‘s Sole Agency Claim 1.2. Southern Objection Source: Getty Images

Throughout the debate on Iran’s nuclear program, the picture of Iran versus the international community is being painted. While Western countries incessantly and almost inherently claim to represent the so-called international community, numerous international organizations comprising a high number of member states have repeatedly supported the Iranians’ position. In a world order which is dominated by highly industrialized Western nations, the Iran conflict laid open fundamental fissures in the international system’s global structure.

4.1.1. The West’s Sole Agency Claim Indeed hundreds of years of Western powers’ global domination through eras of colonialism and imperialism—not to speak of today’s renaissance of neocolonial wars—have left their mark in the global distribution of power. We can witness outrageous and blatant gaps in terms of socioeconomic fabric between societies of the Northern and Southern hemisphere. While the North is economically led by a triad comprising the United States, the European Union, and Japan, also

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other powers matter in some respect. Due to its geostrategic asset deriving from its huge territory ranging from Eurasia to the North Pacific and its huge energy resources, the former superpower Russia has despite its economic shortcomings still an essential say in world politics. Some even believe that Moscow has the potential to reemerge as a global superpower (cf. TODD 2002). However, the strongest political body in today’s international relations is the UNSC. Its five permanent members, each holding a veto power, can decide upon putting sanctions on one of the 192 UN member countries or even legitimizing the use of force against it. And this without any legitimacy vis-à-vis the ‘Parliament of Nations,’ i.e. the UN General Assembly (PAECH & STUBY 2001: 564f.) But the P5 reflect the global distribution of power after World War Two that is hardly representative for the world as it is shaped after half a century. Moreover Western powers form the majority of the body. Against such a background the overwhelming majority of the UN members does not feel adequately represented by the P5. As history has proven, the latter are not acting on behalf of the whole international community’s interests—as prescribed by the UN Charter, but solely on the bases of their own strategic interests and political motives (see also RUF 2005). In this sense “[s]ince 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members.” (MEARSHEIMER & WALT 2006: 2) In terms of power relations, it is important to add that the P5 exclusively are nuclear powers which are anyway positioned in an extraordinary status in international relations. Nevertheless, it is characteristic for Western dominance in the global distribution of power that both non-Western UNSC veto powers are hard to convince to participate in Western-orchestrated endeavors, as could be witnessed in the context of the Iraq War and can be observed in the difficult talks about sanctions against Iran.

4.1.2. Southern Objection The Iran crisis tells us also a lot about the current constitution of the international system. With the polarization between Iran and the West reaching a peak, Tehran is however supported by a great number of States from the South. That does not necessarily sign a sympathy towards Iran, but should be understood as middle-powers’—such as Brazil, Argentina, and others—fear to likewise become a target of hostile U.S. policies whatsoever. New intercontinental alliances, above all between Iran and Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, emerged, stuck together in the common desire to oppose American imperialism worldwide (cf. HUGHES 2006). While the West is claiming sole agency in matters of international relations, in recent years a considerable group of countries organized themselves in an evident effort to create counterpoles to a Western, especially U.S.-dominated world order. Among the most important international organizations that raise their voice in world affairs are the following: 1. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) with 118 members from the so-called developing world, thus representing nearly two-thirds of UN members and comprising more than half of the 67

world population. It includes among others India, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, South Africa, Iran, and Malaysia, while China and Brazil have only an observer status. The NAM has developed into an organization highly critical of U.S. imperialism. 2. The Group of 77 (G-77) is a loose coalition of developing countries at the UN. The organization has meanwhile increased its membership up to 134 covering nearly all nations of the South, including the Southern American and African continents as well as Iran, Pakistan, India, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The G-77 is considered a strong voice for an increased third-world presence on the UNSC. 3. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an inter-governmental organization with a Permanent Delegation to the UN. It groups 57 mostly Islamic nations with e.g. Russia occupying observer status. 4. The League of Arab States (also called Arab League) consists of 22 States, all being also OIC members. 5. The Developing Eight (D-8) are a group of developing countries that have formed an economic development alliance. It consists of highly populated Muslim countries, in particular Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey. 6. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization with China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as members, thus covering a quarter of the global population as well as three-fifth the territory of Eurasia. India, Iran, Pakistan, and Mongolia have observer status while the latter three have already applied for full membership. Pursuant to the UN Charta, all these organizations have condemned the threat or use of force in the conflict about Iran’s nuclear program. They have also repeatedly stressed that Tehran’s vested rights under the NPT should be kept untouched. Calling upon the parties to engage in a diplomatic resolution of the crisis, they strengthened Iran’s position that talks should be held without preconditions and on equal footing. At the 14th Summit of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) held from September 11-16, 2006, in the Cuban capital of Havana, the final document, adopted by all 118 members, states the NAM’s support for a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East while calling upon Israel to promptly join the NPT (NAM 2006/Doc.1/Rev.3: Chapter 1, J., Disarmament and International Security, para. 89). Furthermore the document harshly criticizes U.S. foreign policy: They [the Non-Aligned Countries—A. F.-N.] further totally reject the use of the term “axis of evil” by a certain State to target other States under the pretext of combating terrorism, as well as the unilateral preparation of lists accusing States of allegedly supporting terrorism, which are inconsistent with international law and constitute on their part a form of psychological and political terrorism and in this context, underscoring the need to exercise

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solidarity with the Non-Aligned Countries that are affected by such actions and measures. (IBID.: Chapter 1, J., Terrorism, para. 119.14) An additional statement by 56 member-states on Iran’s nuclear issue declares support for Tehran’s position for developing nuclear energy and affirms the IAEA’s central role for resolving the issue in a peaceful manner (NAM 2006/Doc.12/Rev.1). In March 2007 that both the NAM and the G-77 have prepared separate statements calling for Tehran’s nuclear dossier to be removed from the agenda of the UNSC (MNA 2007) after their representatives had visited the uranium conversion facility (UCF) at Isfahan (IRAN DAILY 2007).

 AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE 2. THE GLOBAL HEGEMON’S DECISIVE BATTLE

2.1. America’s ‘Oil Weapon’

2.2. Great Powers Interests and an Iran War

4.2.1. Stranglehold on its Rivals: America’s ‘Oil Weapon’ The disastrous negotiation tactic by the EU-3, demanding Iran to fully renounce to any nuclear technology activity guaranteed by the NPT and moreover to ignore its serious security concerns by lacking to offer adequate remedies for it, provides much evidence that Europe fell into the American trap (MASSARRAT 2006b: 1; NIRUMAND 2006). The Persian Gulf region has an enormous significance for the United States, both in terms of oil price formation and geostrategy (MASSARRAT

2003: 36). The monopolistic direct control over the world’s most important oil sources

would give Washington a strikingly effective hegemonic tool that would ascertain America’s first say on all global matters, since all its rivals—not only China, Russia, and India, but its own allies, i.e. the EU and Japan, too—are heavily dependent on oil. This dependence makes them prone to blackmail as the U.S. with its direct huge military presence, will have the ‘oil weapon’ at its exclusive disposal.64 Massarrat asserts that all these goals in terms of oil and hegemonic policy can best be assured “the more oil States in the Greater Middle East the U.S. will directly, preferably 64

Such a scenario would, MASSARRAT (2003) reminds us, fully satisfy Brzezinski’s idea of geopolitics on the Eurasian chessboard.

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also militarily, control.” (IBID.: 46) That is why Iraq—possessing the world’s greatest oil resources other than Saudi-Arabia—and the Afghanistan pipeline project are taking a core position; the former for controlling the oil resources of the Persian Gulf region, the latter as to the Caspian Sea region’s oil and gas reserves. It is no need to remind that just these two countries are occupied by the U.S. Asserting prior to the Iraq invasion, Massarrat stressed that “military occupation is the most important strategic goal of the U.S. Iraq policy.” (IBID.: 47) Therefore he warned Europe that there is serious risk to be at the mercy of American absolute world domination for a long time to come (IBID.: 48-49). Indeed, such a geostrategic calculus does perfectly fit to the Iranian case. Against such a background, it becomes clear that a war on Iran would have damaging consequences for the Old Continent’s economic situation as an oil price rise till a level of at least €100 per barrel65 can be expected. Europe’s vital interest to have a considerable say in her neighboring region would be further undermined by U.S. military interventionism and securing of oil and gas resources. This realistic scenario, sorely catching our eyes in what is happing in Iraq today, should prevent Europe to support the neoconservative war agenda. Instead it should follow a political path aimed at deescalation and resolution of the core conflicts in the region. Stabilization in the NME will tremendously profit Europe as immense economic opportunities lie in the region. Thus the question of the benefactors of high oil prices being a consequence of political instability in the ME region is not difficult to answer. While the U.S. due to its low oil dependency vis-à-vis the ME would not be affected by high oil prices, Europe, India, and China would tremendously suffer from such a scenario. In contrast, Russia, as a high-cost oil producer, would benefit from Middle Eastern instability that keeps oil prices high (COHEN 2006). In any case, the United States, by militarily controlling the ME and its energy supply routes, possesses a highly effective leverage vis-à-vis large oil consumer nations.

4.2.2. Feeling the Hegemon’s Squeeze: Asian Great Powers and Iran In 2005, Iran, Russia, India, and China have signed energy deals with each other worth more than $500 billion. As Robert Karniol, Asia-Pacific editor for Jane’s Defense Weekly, argues “China and India, the world's fastest-growing energy consumers, want to divert Central Asia's energy resources toward their own economies, and Iran and Russia, the region’s largest energy suppliers, are keen to reduce their dependence on sales to the West.” (cited in POCHA 2006), we have a strong case of interdependence. Seen in this light, for the two emerging superpowers India and China, the crisis on Iran is of paramount importance as both depend on Iranian fossil energy. China. For Beijing, economic relations with Tehran are of tremendous weight: 65

In comparison, oil prices have risen from about $27 a barrel at the start of the Iraq War to a high of $78 during the war in Lebanon (WEISMAN, Steven R. *2006+, “As the Price of Oil Soars, So Does Its Power to Shape Politics From Washington to Beijing,” The New York Times, July 25, cited in DOUGLAS et al. 2006: 14)

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Iran is China’s third largest oil supplier according to Chinese figures. Iranian and Saudi exports together now represent almost two-thirds of China’s Middle East oil imports, meaning that relations with these two countries are of crucial importance. […] Whereas in 1994, Iran accounted for just one percent of China's total imports, a decade later, Beijing purchased 13 percent of its oil from Tehran. (DOUGLAS et al. 2006: 5) It is believed that for 2005 Sino-Iranian trade totaled $29 billion, mostly due to growing Chinese demand for Iranian oil. Despite a great number of common economic and political goals with Iran—e.g. the establishment of a multipolar world—, China is not expected to jeopardize SinoAmerican relations in the dispute about Iran’s nuclear program. While incessantly insisting on the necessity of a peaceful settlement of the crisis, Beijing has however sidelined with other UNSC members with regard to Iran. Due to its strong integration into the global market, it is not conceivable for Beijing to risk deteriorating relations toward Washington. It can be assessed that [f]or China, partnership with Iran is only one part of its energy diversification strategy. Chinese goodwill is by no means guaranteed, but very much desired. Under such an arrangement, Iran is best seen as only one strand among the complex web of energy relationships China is currently pursuing. (IBID.: 10) That is why the realization of the gigantic $100 billion-worth project on LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports throughout a quarter century, agreed upon in a 2004 Sino-Iranian Memorandum of Understanding, has again recently been postponed by Beijing. Moreover, China has instructed Sinopec—also known as the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation—to hold off implementation of the agreement signed to develop Iran’s Yâdâvarân oil field due to fears that Iran may be subject to a military strike (LANDWEHR 2006). But nevertheless an Irano-Chinese gas contract worth $29 billion has been signed for exploitation, production, and refinery of Iran’s Pârs gas field. The project should start by 2011 and last for 25 years. ( IRAN-REPORT 01/2007: 8) India. Also Indo-Iranian relations have thus far suffered from the ongoing conflict. Two votes by India at the IAEA’s BoG against Iran (in September 2005 and February 2006) handing the latter’s dossier over to the UNSC stand at the core of Tehran’s political infringement.66 The support for this fervent goal pursued by the U.S. is widely interpreted as one condition of the U.S.-India nuclear (KOSHY 2005).67 Nevertheless, Indo-Iranian relations remain broad and stable, not at least due to the longstanding civilizational and cultural proximity. Not only is India highly interested in Iranian hydrocarbon, but the two countries share important strategic interests. India is already the world’s fifth largest energy consumer,68 expected to climb by one rank by 2020. More than half of its electricity production is based upon coal, but nearly three-quarter of 66

In October 2005, India's foreign minister, Natwar Singh, declared that his country would not support U.S. efforts to refer Iran to the UNSC, which outraged key members of the U.S. Congress (FAIR 2007: 41: 41). 67 While President Bush signed the U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear deal into law on December 18, 2006, the U.S. Congress unsuccessfully tried to require India to halt its fissile material production and/or end its military relations with Iran as preconditions for nuclear cooperation (FAIR 2007: 42). 68 The world’s leading consumers of primary energy are (in percentage points): the U.S. (22.2), China (14.7), the Russian Federation (6.4), Japan (5.0), India (3.7), Germany (3.1), France (2.5), the United Kingdom (2.2), and South Korea (2.1). Primary energy comprises commercially traded fuels only. Excluded, therefore, are fuels

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its oil demand must be imported (FAIR 2007: 44). While Iran modestly accounts for 7.5 percent of Indian crude oil imports (in 2005), in the field of gas a $22 billion deal is quasi finalized. For a time period of 25 years, the deal foresees, from 2009 on, the supply of 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India per year.69 This indeed signals Iran’s growing weight for energyhungry India. From a geostrategic point of view, good and close relations with Iran are central to New Delhi’s great power aspirations and crucial for its influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia—its presence in the latter area being relevant in the strategic rivalry with Pakistan. While the Indian Ocean basin is widely considered as India’s strategic environment, its westernmost frontier reaches Iran’s Southern gateways—the Straight of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Thus, the two large geostrategic entities of Iran and India are direct neighbors in a highly critical part of the world. It is therefore clear that for India’s relations with and interests in Central Asia and the Middle East, well established ties with Iran are indispensable as Tehran provides the geographical access to these significant regions for New Delhi’s “supra-regional power” ambition (FAIR 2007: 44). Moreover, India maintains advanced relationships with the U.S. and the EU. Through the great diversity of Indian relationships with its neighbors as well as global great powers the country’s leitmotiv of ‘strategic independence’ based upon bilateral arrangements remains primordial. But indeed such a multi-layered and -faceted orientation is not free of contradictions and difficulties. However, New Delhi is highly conscious about the immense geostrategic importance Iran provides for its own geostrategic power projection capabilities. Moreover, the two share complementary interests both at regional and global levels. Both are interested in Central Asian, Pakistani and Afghani stability and are keen on diminishing U.S. domination both worldwide and especially in regard to Middle East and Central Asian fossil centers. India and Iran also share the common interest to seize the large opportunities Central Asian markets harbor. Therefore, New Delhi and Tehran initiated a so-called North-South Corridor (agreed upon along with Russia in the September 2000 tripartite Inter-Governmental Agreement on International ‘North-South Transport Corridor’), running from India via Iranian territory and the Caspian Sea to Russia and European doorways. This is an immensely significant trade route such as wood, peat and animal waste, which, though important in many countries, are unreliably documented in terms of consumption statistics. Also excluded are wind, geothermal and solar power generation, as well as biofuels. (BP 2006: 40) 69 This $7 billion gas project, which was signed by India’s GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited) and Iran’s NIGEC (National Iranian Gas Export Company)—a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)—, will be launched as soon as both parties have finally agreed on the price level for Iranian gas exports. Pakistan, too, should be supplied with Iranian energy through this ‘Peace pipeline,’ which runs 2,775 km not far from the three states’ Southern coastlines. Fore more on that important matter, see SHAHID, Soheib (2007), “Iran-PakIndia gas pipeline: implications and prospects,” Business & Finance Review, Jan. 15, p. 8. (URL, accessed April 30, 2007); and CHAUDHARY, Shamila N. (n.d.), “Iran to India Natural Gas Pipeline: Implications for Conflict Resolution & Regionalism in India, Iran, and Pakistan,” TED Case Study, Vol. 11, Number 1, January (Trade Environment Database: American University, The School of International Service, Washington, D.C.). URL (accessed April 30, 2007)

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for the whole Eurasian region as it shortens the presently used one running through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean by 10,000 km. Half a century after the 1950 Indo-Iranian friendship treaty which called for ‘perpetual peace and friendship’ between the two states, the bond between them was further tightened through recent extensive bilateral accords: the Tehran Declaration of April 2001 and, in January 2003, the New Delhi Agreement accompanied by seven Memoranda of Understanding. The first laid the foundation for Indian and Iranian cooperation on a wide array of strategic issues, covering the fields of defense, energy, and commerce, the second focused on energy and commercial issues, committing to accelerate the development of a gas pipeline and the finalizing of the above mentioned LNG agreement. It also reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to develop the NorthSouth Corridor. They also agreed to promote scientific and technical cooperation. The Tehran Declaration was soon followed by the launch of an India-Iran Strategic Dialogue. As to the New Delhi Agreement, India signaled the importance it attaches to its ties with Iran as the accord was penned at a critical period: The U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf in preparation for the second U.S. war on Iraq was underway and Washington and New Delhi both qualitatively and quantitatively expanded their military ties. The New Delhi Declaration built upon the Tehran Declaration in deepening levels of engagement, including military cooperation70. Moreover, in the aftermath of the New Delhi Agreement, the bilateral Strategic Dialogue was strengthened— e.g. the institutional interaction of both national security councils (FAIR 2007: 47). Both countries have further established a Joint Business Council71 which should foster the positive trend in bilateral trade. While the total value of all trade is expected to reach $6 billion, the total trade between the United States and India in 2005 was about $27 billion (FAIR 2007: 49). Also for Tehran’s international relations, close ties on all perceivable levels with India—a global great power in the making and moreover a geostrategic neighboring heavyweight—is highly relevant. Despite the two Indian votes at the IAEA’s BoG meetings, India repeatedly underlined the significance of its ties with Tehran and has vocally defended Iran’s vested rights under the NPT at a time where Tehran is being heavily attacked by Western powers. 72 But as it is the case with Beijing, New Delhi, too, seemed intent not to annoy relations to the world’s hyperpower. Although India’s positive image vis-à-vis Iran and its overall reluctance towards adopt 70

Displeasing Washington, the second Indo-Iranian naval exercise took place in March 2006, while President Bush visited South Asia. 71 The Council was set up by the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and Mines (Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Iran,” May 2004). URL (accessed April 17, 2007). 72 Noteworthy in this regard was the February 2007 Iran visit by India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee amidst heightened U.S.-Iranian discord, see SREENIVASAN, T.P. (2007), “Pranab’s Iran visit a signal to the US,” Rediff, Feb. 12. URL (accessed April 28, 2007). Moreover, following the February 2006 vote to refer Iran to the UNSC, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh explained this decision in terms of helping to provide diplomatic solutions to the impasse and encouraging all parties to eschew confrontation and inflexibility (PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA (2006), “Prime Minister’s Suo Motu Statement on Iran,” Feb. 17. URL [accessed April 28, 2007]).

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Washington’s stance towards Tehran, U.S.-India relations are open for expansion (KRONSTADT & KATZMAN 2006). Also disturbing for Tehran is India’s heavy cooperation in military affairs with Israel, an Iranian regional rival, with Tel Aviv being New Delhi’s largest arms supplier (FAIR 2007: 52). Thus, “Israeli equities will remain a part of New Delhi's decision calculus vis-à-vis Iran for the policy-relevant future and will serve as an important impediment to India's efforts to engage Iran.” (FAIR 2007: 53) Japan. Furthermore, Japan, the world’s second largest oil importer and in 2005 importing 13.7 percent of its petroleum from Iran, has blocked loans worth of $10 billion, destined to nine oil projects in Iran (IRAN-REPORT 12/2006: 9). At the end of the day, however, huge projects, dear to both Iran and its Asian partners, have been iced or even abandoned. Counter to their inherent national interests, New Delhi, Beijing, Tokyo, and—to some extent, as we will see next—Moscow have conceded to U.S. pressure demanding the halt of economic exchange with Tehran. Russia. See FATHOLLAH-NEJAD (2007b).

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 AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE

2.3. Consequences of an Iran War 2.4. America and the World at the Crossroads Sources: North Am. & Europe ed., Feb. 10, ‘07 | Poster distributed by U.S. Neocons after Afghanistan War

4.2.3. Consequences of an Iran War US ACTION WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY GUARANTEE AN OVERTLY NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN FOR DECADES TO COME. (ROGERS 2006: 10)

In 2002 Paul ROGERS73 from the Oxford Research Group had foreseen the devastating consequences of an eventual Iraq War. Four years later, Rogers examines in his briefing paper the possible outcomes of U.S. and Israeli military attacks on Iranian facilities and scenarios of Iranian reactions. The author justifies the significant purpose of his study by pointing to the high probability of military strikes against Iran: “A diplomatic solution to the profound differences between Washing-ton and Tehran is still possible, but is becoming progressively less likely. As major difficulties persist and possibly intensify, the possibility of military action by the United States and Israel increases.” (2006: 3) Besides the immense asymmetries between the two sides involved in terms of military capabilities, Rogers nevertheless expects an armed conflict to escalate and endure indefinitely, and further to embrace many regional actors. He expects a surprise action with over four to five days of “intense military activity” (p. 8). Based on “considerable information“ (p. 8) gained by previous U.S. reconnaissance and surveillance activities, the priority targets will be research, development, and production facilities for Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile program. Rogers not only identifies Iranian nuclear and scientific infrastructure as targets of any U.S. military action, but also the destruction of university laboratories and technology centers along with their personnel would be aimed (pp. 7, 8). The killing of as many of the technically competent staff—also foreign nationals—as possible will be central for U.S. strikes so to do the

73

Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University and is openDemocracy’s International Security Editor.

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greatest damage to longterm rehabilitation.74 U.S. military action would definitely target Iran’s major nuclear

facilities,

above

them many in urban areas, leading to “serious problems of radioactive dispersal affecting not just the Iranian Gulf coast” (p. 7), but also West Gulf seaboards. li

Rogers

military

action

takes into

cere consideration, which will be “far more substantial than the Israeli attack on the Iraqi Osiraq nuclear reactor in 1981” (p. 11), prompting

Iranian

re-

sponse as Tel Aviv is Washington’s closest ally in the region. When it comes to the nature of Iranian responses to Ameri-

© Eric Waddell, Global Research 2003

can or Israeli military ac-

tions, the author first makes the following remark: “Given the small size and largely obsolete nature of the Iranian Air Force and air defence systems, Iran would be able to offer little direct opposition to the kind of US attack outline above. Moreover, US action would have been designed to destroy what limited capabilities might be available.” (p. 9). Other than Tehran’s very limited options of immediate effect, Rogers enumerates following fields of Iranian responses: redeveloping of the nuclear program as rapid as possible “in a more survivable manner” while withdrawing from the NPT, thus “undermining global non-proliferation efforts” as “any hope of negotiating away Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme in the 74

On Jan. 15, 2007, a prize-winning Iranian nuclear scientist, Ardeshir Hassanpour, 44, has been murdered by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, according to Stratfor, a website featuring intelligence and security analysis by former U.S. intelligence agents. Several other scientists may also have been assassinated or injured. (MELMAN, Yossi (2007), “U.S. website: Mossad killed Iranian nuclear physicist,” Haaretz, Feb. 4, URL; and BAXTOR, Sarah (2007), “Iranian nuclear scientist ‘assassinated by Mossad’,” The Sunday Times, Feb. 4, URL.

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years after a US attack would vanish”; mobilizing Hezbollah to attack cities in Northern Israel, which would result in “substantial Israeli military responses“ given their outstanding military supremacy in the region; disturbing the passage of oil-exporting tankers in the Straits of Hormuz (even though Rogers classifies this as quite problematic due the superiority of the U.S. military in the waters); sabotaging oil export facilities in Western Gulf states such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, by paramilitary units; deploying the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG), as “a strong if largely free-standing component of the Iranian defence system,” for linking with Shi’a militias in strengthening the Iraqi insurgency, resulting in an “escalating US military response involving cross-border attacks on Iranian logistics […] increas[ing] Iranian civilian casualties, caus[ing] economic disruption and also further increas[ing] internal Iranian support for the current regime” (all p. 10); and international support, mainly from two of the five permanent members of the UNSC—China and Russia—due to economic interests as well as strong considerations as to prevent any protracted conflict. It is important to note that the consequences of military action against Iran will bring about two outcomes undermining previously formulated goals by the West: First of all, instead of delegitimizing the current Iranian regime, any bombardment would have a “very powerful unifying effect within Iran” (p. 7), thus undermining ongoing democratization efforts from within.75 Secondly, the aim of preventing Iran to become a nuclear power would be countered, as in the aftermath of an attack Iran would withdraw from the NPT and concentrate on developing nuclear weapons the soonest possible: “US action would almost certainly guarantee an overtly nucleararmed Iran for decades to come.” (p. 10) Thus, the case for a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ would be met (SEELA & BOEKE 2005). While the asymmetries of military power of the United States (and Israel) on the one side and on the other Iran erupt to the surface causing a serious damage of the latter’s nuclear and especially technological development potential, “a protracted and highly unstable conflict [would] virtually [be] certain” (ROGERS 2005: 12), probably involving a great number of regional actors. As to the future of Iranian-U.S. relations, this will be “one based on violence” (p. 7), rendering any pacification efforts in the region more than obsolete. Meanwhile it is clear that military action in scope and extent as outlined earlier will bring about a considerable number of Iranian civilian casualties, not to speak of long-term disasters followed by nuclear warheads going to be used by U.S. forces: “There will be no opportunity for people to move away from likely target areas as was possible in the days and weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq.” (p. 9) In the final part of his conclusion, Rogers writes: The termination of the Saddam Hussein regime was expected to bring about a free-market client state in Iraq. Instead it has produced a deeply unstable and costly conflict with no end in sight. That may not prevent a US or an Israeli attack on Iran even though it should be ex75

The Iranian human rights activist and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi emphasizes the destructive force of any military strike against Iran for any inner democratization process underway.

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pected that the consequences would be substantially greater. What this analysis does conclude is that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further – alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be. (p. 12)

4.2.4. Who Would Benefit from an Iran War and Who Not? A Strategic Calculation STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING AN IRAN WAR Standing vis-à-vis Iran OF POTENTIAL WAR PROMOTERS ISRAELI Greatest obstacle HARD-LINERS to regional domination. ISRAELI Vigilance MODERATES U.S. Main threat to U.S. NEO- and Israeli hegeCONSER- mony VATIVES*

U.S. REALISTS

Standing vis-àvis U.S.

Inherent Strategic Interests on the Global Chessboard

Dependent on strategic and military support. Dependent on political support

Avoiding an Iran as regional great power rival = Keeping regional military supremacy Not further damaging Israel’s position  Controlling Iran as indispensable piece of the ‘Greater ME’  Energy leverage toward rivals  Distracting attention from Iraq quagmire  Keeping Israeli regional domination ‘Not another Iraq’: an attack would undermine U.S. long-term hegemony = manageable challenge even w/t nuclear-armed Iran

Re-emergent regional great power to consider in strategic calculus

Iran War?

 





OF OTHER GLOBAL PLAYERS: OPPOSING OR TOLERATING?  Close strategic  Avoiding total U.S. control over ME EU High trade potential

RUSSIA

CHINA

JAPAN

INDIA

 High trade potential (esp. arms)  Strategic partner vs. U.S. domination Dependent on Iran and ME oil

ally  Strong economic intersection Passive global rival, but active in ME theater

Passive rival = avoiding any immediate confrontation

Dependent on Iran and ME oil

Close ally

Dependent on Iranian energy

Ally

 Avoiding widening of ME quagmire  energy insecurity / high oil price

 Avoiding total U.S. control over ME  U.S. anchored at its Eastern and Southern flank!  But: Benefactor of high oil prices  Warmajor arms sales  strategic gain if U.S. fails  Avoiding total U.S. control over ME  Avoiding widening of ME quagmire  energy insecurity / high oil price  U.S. anchored at its Western flank!  Avoiding total U.S. control over ME  Avoiding widening of ME quagmire  energy insecurity / high oil price Avoiding widening of ME quagmire = stable ME crucial for Indian supremacy in South Asia



?/



? 

*The larger circle of the ‘neocons’ includes key figures in the current Bush Administration (above all Cheney

and former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld), chief ideologues, prominent publications (The Weekly Standard, Commentary, The National Interest, The National Review), leading think-tanks and their experts (American Enterprise Institute [AEI], Project for the New American Century [PNAC]), pro-Israel lobbies (American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs [JINSA]), the religious farright (Evangelicals and Christian Zionists), and a large web of affiliated TV (Fox News) and radio stations.

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4.2.5. The War Bells Ring: America and the World at the Crossroads A SHOCKING CRIME WAS COMMITTED ON THE UNSCRUPULOUS INITIATIVE OF FEW INDIVIDUALS, WITH THE BLESSING OF MORE, AND AMID THE PASSIVE ACQUIESCENCE OF ALL. (TACITUS, C. 56 – C. 117, ROMAN HISTORIAN)

a) Atmospheric Preparations As the United States diplomacy is expressly keeping the military option on the table, public Western opinion has already been prepared for a military strike against Iran. Far-fetched comparisons between Iran’s arch-conservative President Mahmud Ahmadinejâd and Hitlerism by leading U.S. neo-conservatives, but also by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2006 Munich Security Conference, have painted the phantom of a world threatened in its very existence by nuclear bombs in the merciless hands of Islamic Fascism { l’Iranienne. The imminent threat by a nuclear-armed Iran—although this, as we have seen, is far from taking shape—ought to be preempted by war. Indeed, given Israeli nuclear weapon capabilities and its ongoing aggressive rhetoric vis-à-vis Iran as well as massive U.S. military presence in Iran’s neighborhood, bitingly the above painted threat scenario can only reproduce reality when fully reversed. Apparently in contrast to the Iraq War, this time the United States tries to rally all its European partners round its objective to target Iran. Accordingly, we can witness harsh rhetoric throughout Western media coverage about the Iran crisis, ranging from the above-mentioned Hitler comparison via the threat of an Islamo-fascist and anti-Semite Iran for Israel till the conscious misinterpretations and political instrumentalization of statements made by the Iranian President as to the Judeocide’s scale. 76

b) A New U.S. Strategy in Middle East? Pullback or Assault? (winter 2006 – early 2007) As the controversy of the Administration’s Iraq policy and its stance vis-à-vis Iran reached a peak, the so-called ‘Iraq Study Group’ (ISG), also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, should show the way out of the Iraqi quagmire. Its report (BAKER & HAMILTON 2006), released on Dec. 6, 2006, made a great number of recommendations believed to reorient Bush’s Middle East policy. As to Iraq, the report advises not to withdraw because of the country’s importance, but also states the inadequacy of sending more troops into the country (p. 30). The document also calls upon Washington to hold direct talks with Syria and Iran. It further focuses on the Iraqi oil

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For details, see GRUPPE ARBEITERFOTOGRAFIE (2006), “Äußerungen von Ahmadinedschad zum Holocaust verfälscht: Wie Medien den Iran-Krieg vorbereiten,” NRhZ-Online (Neue Rheinische Zeitung), April 12, URL; STEELE, Jonathan (2006), “If Iran is ready to talk, the US must do so unconditionally,” The Guardian, June 2, URL; BRONNER, Ethan (2006), “Just How Far Did They Go These Words Against Israel?”, The New York Times, June 11. It is important to note that during more than a quarter century since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, those statements were constantly made by senior officials—especially in its early years. Only this time, there is strong international reaction coupled with extensive political exploitation.

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industry (Title II. B. 5: “The Oil Sector,” pp. 56-57), above others proposing in the long run its privatization and opening-up for major U.S. petroleum multinationals: The United States should encourage investment in Iraq’s oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.” and “[t]he United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise, in order to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability.” (Recommendation 63, p. 57). Reactions to the ISG report varied drastically. It is alleged that the group 77 represents the interests of the U.S. oil industry, noting that James A. Baker, III's law firm has interests in debt repayment to Kuwait and other Gulf States, Lawrence S. Eagleburger has ties to Halliburton and Phillips Petroleum, and is a former head of Kissinger Associates, a corporate consulting firm78, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. is a lawyer at Akin Gump who is closely associated with the Bilderberg Group79. The expert working groups for the ISG include leaders of Bechtel, two representatives of Citigroup, and PFC Energy80 (HAYDEN 2006). The report was on the other hand heavily attacked by conservative and neoconservative media (cf. ZAKARIA 2006), interpreting the recommendations as leading towards surrender.81 A rival ‘hawkish’ report was published in its final version on Jan. 11, 2007, entitled Choosing Victory, (KAGAN 2007) by the highly influential neoconservative U.S. think-tank the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), pleading for ways to make America’s policy goals in Iraq succeed, which have to be implemented in a short run. It recommends that more combat forces should be sent into Iraq (p. 1)—for at least another 18 months—, that the “[t]he president must request a dramatic increase in reconstruction aid for Iraq” and further calls for a large mobilization campaign: The president must request a substantial increase in ground forces end-strength. This increase is vital to sustaining the morale of the combat forces by ensuring that relief is on the 77

The ISG was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the U.S.-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations. It was led by co-chairs James Baker, III, a former Secretary of State (Republican), and Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Representative (Democrat). In addition to Baker, the panel’s Republican members were Sandra Day O'Connor (former Supreme Court Justice), Lawrence Eagleburger (Baker’s successor as Secretary of State under Bush sr.), Edwin Meese III (former U.S. Attorney General), and Alan K. Simpson (former U.S. Senator from Wyoming). In addition to Hamilton, the panel’s Democratic members were: Vernon Jordan, Jr. (business executive), Leon E. Panetta (former White House Chief of Staff, from 1994-97, under Clinton), William J. Perry (former U.S. Secretary of Defense, from 1994-97, under Clinton), and Charles S. Robb (former Governor and U.S. Senator from Virginia). In order to collect opinions, numerous ISG meetings were held with Iraqi officials, current U.S. Administration officials, members of Congress, foreign officials, as well as foreign experts. Among the latter group are opinion leaders, such as Thomas Friedman (New York Times), Frederick Kagan (The American Enterprise Institute) and William Kristol (The Weekly Standard). 78 Paul Bremer was managing partner of Kissinger Associates. 79 For reports on the so-called Bilderberg Group, see FOSAR, Grazyna & BLUDORF, Franz (n.d.), “Die Bilderberge. Hinter den Kulissen der Macht,” http://www.fosar-bludorf.com/bilderberger/, MEDOSCH, Armin (2000), „Keine Angst vor den globalen Eliten. Die Bilderberg-Konferenzen: Geheime Weltregierung oder seniler Debattierklub?, Telepolis, Nov. 14 [URL], as well as http://www.bilderberg.org. 80 PFC Energy is an energy consulting firm. 81 The cover of the Dec. 7, 2006, Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post depicts the heads of James Baker and Lee Hamilton superimposed onto the bodies of monkeys, with the headline “Surrender Monkeys: Iraq panel urges U.S. to give up.”

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way. The president must issue a personal call for young Americans to volunteer to fight in the decisive conflict of this generation.” (p. 2) As to Iran, the report contradicts the ISG’s recommendations to engage Iraq’s neighbors noting that these “are encouraging the violence, but they cannot stop it.” (p. 2) It further states that “direct support through Iranian advisors” for different U.S. ‘enemy’ groups is likely to dramatically increase when those groups will be attacked by U.S. and allied forces (p. 29). Further Tehran is accused of providing “Shiite groups of all varieties with weapons, expertise, advice, and money,” but at the same time the authors admit: “It will always be difficult for Iraqi Shiites to obey explicit instructions from Iranians for cultural reasons. But, above all, the escalating violence in Iraq results less from Iranian encouragement than from the internal dynamics of Iraq itself.“ (all p. 41) The report concludes by emphasizing: […] failure is neither inevitable nor tolerable, and so the United States must redouble its efforts to succeed. America must adopt a new strategy based more firmly on successful counterinsurgency practices, and the nation must provide its commanders with the troops they need to execute that strategy in the face of a thinking enemy. The enemy has been at war with us for nearly four years. The United States has emphasized restraint and caution. It is time for America to go to war and win. And America can.” (p. 45) It seems that U.S. President Bush has finally been ignored the policy recommendations put forward by the Baker-Hamilton Commission and has instead adopted those AEI policies offered by people close to his administration calling for more troops in Iraq. His ‘new Iraq strategy’ announced in his 2007 State of the Union address seems clearly to prove this by announcing some 21,50082 additional troops for a house-by-house ‘cleaning operation’ in Baghdadi suburbs. It is plausible to suggest that Shi’a groups inside those areas in Iraq, which might be affiliated to Iran, should be contained. All this seems to escalate the war in place, as the AEI report reckons even with an increase of victims for the near future. 83 The emphasis of a political solution going along with a training program for Iraqi security forces as proposed by the ISG has thus surrendered to the combating-focused orientation of the AEI recommendations. It seems that the American military-industrial complex (MIC) in the short run and large U.S. oil companies in the long run are the great profiteers of this allegedly ‘new strategy.’ This seems to strictly follow the so-called Powell Doctrine84 which envisions the necessity of an overwhelming force to ensure a decisive military victory. In this case classical counterinsurgency tactics are intended to be employed (BENJAMIN 2006). For the fiscal year 2008, Bush asked Congress to approve an additional amount of $141.7 billion for America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Meanwhile protest is being felt throughout the 82

Some experts even assume some 50,000 more troops to be sent to Iraq. Both Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) attended the report’s presentation at the AEI headquarters in Washington, D.C., in support of the plan. McCain warned the crowd to expect more casualties, saying that things in Iraq “will get worse before they get better” (BENJAMIN, 2006). 84 Also known as ‘Powell Doctrine of Overwhelming Force,’ outlined in his time as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in POWELL, Colin L. (1992), “U.S. Forces: Challenges Ahead,” Foreign Affairs, Winter 1992/93, Vol. 71, No. 5. 83

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American political spectrum for Bush’s narrow-minded and dangerous Iraq policy (cf. also AFP 2007), warning against a possible widening of the war into Iran. All these efforts of acceleration can be understood as intended to slow down Washington’s gradual decline since the 1970s ( DE WILDE 2002).

c) Apostles and Alliances of War: The War Lobby and its Power Structures Against the background of what we have been already saying, several reasons why Washington is interested in an attack on Iran can be enumerated: From a geostrategic point of view—i.e. according to U.S. vital interests in the 21st century as outlined in both NSS documents and the Cheney Report—it is indispensable to have direct control over Iran’s large gas and oil reserves. This in fact did also apply to the case of Iraq. Due to its outstanding position between the Caspian Sea (the world’s number one source of gas) and the Persian Gulf (the global center for oil), Iran is the main piece of the ‘Greater Middle East.’ An Iran ‘out of control’ would jeopardize the viability of the ‘Free World.’ It seems that the United States’ conquest for the Middle East, with Iran being at its very core, is the sole remaining superpower’s drive to ensure its preponderant position in the international system as the region increasingly is put under U.S. military custody. Therefore great power rivals, such as Russia and China, keep a sensitive eye on the United States’ approach vis-à-vis the Iran crisis as they undoubtedly recognize the pivotal geopolitical as well as geoeconomic dimensions at hand. In addition, as war can be regarded as a means to increase one’s power or at least to preserve it, influential groups are playing a tremendous role in this respect. But who are those and how can we identify them? Power Structure Research (PSR)85 offers a very useful approach to identify those individuals, groups, States, or other networks, which are decisive for considering the international use of force. Through the tools of network-analyses, insider interviews, research of archives and other documents, as well as case studies of political decision processes (cf. KRYSMANSKI 2006: 42-43), a comprehensive picture of powerful networks can be put together. Thus the question of actors is contextualized into a broader realm of transnational power structures. KRYSMANSKI considers PSR as the best means to describe today’s ruling classes, or power élites (2004). All this enables us, briefly put, to identify those who do not want to be identified, at least not in a larger context of power networks affiliated to them. For this ‘power mapping’ could finally lead to the dismantling of those networks in the sense of their transparency and democratization. DOMHOFF proposes four networks of power to be explored: ideological, economic, military, and political as 85

Main representatives of PSR are G. William Domhoff (Research Professor in psychology and sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz) and Val Burris (Professor at the University of Oregon’s Department of Sociology). The Power Elite (1956, New York: Oxford University Press) by the American sociologist C. Wright Mills is widely seen as PSR’s foundational work. The website TheyRule offers the opportunity to create graphical linkages between board members of major U.S. corporations—so-called interlocking directories—for 2004. The Université de Tangente is another project dedicated to the exploration of power structures, publishing comprehensive network tableaus, or cartographies, of the interconnections of powerful bodies at both national and international levels; see its carte du governement mondial for 2004 (submitted in Feb. 2005).

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this ‘IEMP model’—as he calls it—would be “the most useful organizational bases for generating power.” (2004b) He moreover classifies “five substantive areas” of interest being (1) the social upper class, (2) corporations, (3) non-profit organizations such as foundations, think tanks, and policy-discussion groups, (4) political parties and elections, and (5) the ‘state’ or government (2004a). As to the post-9/11 wars, it can be ascertained that all those areas are very important. However, I will limit my brief discussion to the last three ones. The apostles of the afore-mentioned ‘forward strategy’ to shape the U.S. government’s foreign policy and military decisions are political lobbies closely associated with the military’s industrial establishments. The U.S. media landscape is furthermore dominated by neoconservative think-tanks, not seldom advocating a military response to global crises. Thus, the case for war is offered a vast platform to take hold of public opinion. Regarding Iran, neoconservative élites in the U.S. are ever since strong advocates for a confrontational course. Foremost the very influential U.S. think tank The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) considered the first step in America’s ‘long war against radical Islamists led by President Bush’ (KRISTOL 2006b)—i.e. the invasion of Saddam’s Iraq—as a failure. They argued that Iran is the country which is the most essential to American interests and ever since form a collecting basin for all kinds of anti-Iran groups. Besides ominous organizations such as the MEK as well as Iranian monarchs guised in democratic robe, there are lobbies supporting Israel’s aggressive policies in the ME, which altogether form the war-front against Iran. At the latter core of the pro-Israel lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)86—known as the United States’ most effective political and fundraising lobby group, which ever since forcefully propagates a military assault on Iran. As Iran’s immediate rival, there is much at stake for the region’s most powerful state, Israel. From an Israeli perspective any reduction of its military supremacy in the region is unacceptable and even seen—mostly by hardliners—as a threat to its very existence. Powerful pro-Israeli lobby groups inside the U.S., allied with neoconservatives and the fundamentalist religious right (e.g. Christian Zionists)87 have made tremendous efforts to put Iran at the forefront of Washing-

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AIPAC has attracted many political leaders to address their annual conferences. Among them are George W. Bush (current U.S. President), Bill Clinton (former President), Dick Cheney (Vice President), John McCain, Evan Bayh, Susan Collins, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton (all Senators), John Edwards (former Senator), Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House), Steny Hoyer (House Majority Leader), John Boehner (House Minority Leader), Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader), Roy Blunt (House Republican Whip), Dennis Hastert, Newt Gingrich (both former Speakers of the House), Condoleezza Rice (U.S. Secretary of State), as well as all Israeli Prime Ministers. 87 John Hagee is one of the most influential figures among this group. Being the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, an evangelical church with more than 18,000 active members, he is also the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations, and eight networks. The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes. Hagee, who helped found Christians United for Israel in Feb. 2006 as a ‘Christian AIPAC’ lobbying Congress to support Israel, was one of the key speakers at the 2007 AIPAC Policy Conference.

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ton’s foreign policy agenda. Those engagements have indeed yielded fruit, as the Realist analysis of MEARSHEIMER and WALT indicates: One might argue that Israel and the [Israel—A. F.-N.] Lobby have not had much influence on U.S. policy toward Iran, because the United States has its own reasons to keep Iran from going nuclear. This is partly true, but Iran’s nuclear ambitions do not pose an existential threat to the United States. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China, or even a nuclear North Korea, then it can live with a nuclear Iran. And that is why they must keep constant pressure on U.S. politicians to confront Tehran. (2003: 38) Those groups’ state of mind could indeed well develop under an American administration staffed with many sympathizers and blunt supporters. However, the merits for U.S. foreign policy, if following them, are hard to conceive: The Lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the United States to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We do not need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby’s hostility towards these countries makes it especially difficult for Washington to enlist them against al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed. (IBID.: 40) Washington’s ignorance towards Iran’s 2003 extensive offer of dialog is to a highly significant extent due to pro-Israel groups harshly rejecting a possible road for rapprochement. While a strong Iran—even with nuclear capacity—would nullify Tel Aviv’s status as sole regional hegemon, it is conceivable for Washington to live with such a situation. But there are also other powerful groups in the U.S. that support and actively advocate the belligerent path of major think-tanks and political lobbies. The military-industrial complex (MIC), which is a huge player in the country’s foreign policy establishment, can be clearly situated in preference of an armed confrontation. The MIC indeed comprises a gigantic network serving the large Pentagon body.88 Think-tanks, such as the Rand Corporation and Hoover Institution are closely intertwined with the MIC, but also 350 universities are providing Pentagonsponsored research for military equipment (MASSARRAT 2007b)89. Moreover, the MIC unifies ideological and plutocratic power élites in their push for war (cf. KRYSMANSKI 2004: 135-148). It is such an alliance that conceives war—and the related rise of military budgets—as the most lucrative business. According to Chalmers Johnson90, you can reckon with 25% profit rates in the 88

The five largest arms companies are Boeing, Lockhead Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. In addition to their 85,000 private sub-companies, almost three million people are working in the American arms industry. 89 For a superb interdisciplinary investigation on historical, economic, and political dimensions, see HOSSEINZADEH, Ismael (2006), The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism, Basingstoke. See also LIEVEN, Anatol (2002), “The Push for War,” London Review of Books, Vol. 24, No. 19. 90 Johnson is an author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He believes the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. Whereas traditional empires maintained control over subject peoples via colonies, since World War Two the U.S. has developed a vast system of hundreds of military bases around the world where it has strategic interests. The result of this militarism is more terrorism against the US and its allies, the loss of core democratic values at home, and an eventual disaster for the American economy. Cf. his Blowback trilogy Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2000, rev. 2004), The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2004) and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2007) as well as The American Empire Project.

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$750 billion defense budget of the U.S., so that waging more wars is a highly profitable business (Why We Fight 2005) 91. Major financial global players from the U.S. can also be grouped into such an alliance. For the United States is interested in not farther endangering the supremacy of the U.S. dollar, as Iran said to open up a stock market for oil which will be based upon Euro (RUPP 2006; EHLERS 2006). While some identify an Iranian stock market for oil dealing with Euros as overthrowing the preponderance of the U.S. dollar, it is more likely that this would primarily lead to a diversification of national money reserves—nonetheless with wide-ranging results, as Behrooz ABDOLVAND suggests (2006): [i]n the medium and long term the immense American trade deficit, budget deficit, as well as annual accrued interests for debts lead to the devaluation of the dollar. A reform of the dollar-based world economic system, away from the dollar’s monopoly to a world currency basket consisting of different currencies, thereby becomes overdue. Thus politically, the world will ultimately develop from a unipolar world order into a multipolar system.92 (IBID.) The oil stock market based on Euros still remaining to be realized, there are already strong movements away from the U.S. dollar as the world’s dominant currency. Iran’s largest oil customer, the Chinese State-owned oil company Zhuhai Zhenrong, believed to purchase ten percent of Iranian exports, transacts its payments in Euro, with Iran declaring that most of its OPECcustomers pursuing the same way. Japan’s refinery operators are moreover keen to pay in Yen if Iran expressed its wish not to pay in U.S. dollars anymore. Only one fifth of Iran’s foreign currency reserves are in U.S. dollar and it is even intended to reduce this share. (IRAN-REPORT 04/2007: 9 & 15) In short, should one follow the recommendations made by leading neoconservative thinktanks, media, experts, and other institutions during the past decades for U.S. policy in regard to the Middle East, the region would see itself in a quagmire of chaos. Indeed and unfortunately this is nowadays the case. Is the existence of such a chaotic and war-like situation in that region of the world simple coincidence or aimed strategy? For such an immense military power such as the U.S. it is simple exercise to engage in war. A look back into the modern history of the Near and Middle East, roughed up by colonial and now imperial powers, proves that chaos and neverending crises were certainly an adequate means to reach the goals of these non-regional powers, such as unnoticed economic exploitation—due to the lack of democratic control—and the justification of continued military presence, only to name a few (EL ALAOUI 2007; MASSARRAT 2007b). 91

This Eugene Jarecki-directed documentary film, starring Joseph Cirincione, Richard Perle, Chalmers Johnson, and John McCain, won the 2005 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. 92 In the German original, it reads: „Mittel- bis langfristig führen das immense amerikanische Handelsdefizit, das Etatdefizit und die jährlich anfallenden Zinsen der Schulden zur Abwertung des Dollars. Eine Reform des dollarbasierten Weltwirtschaftssystems, weg von der Monopolstellung des Dollars hin zu einem Weltwährungskorb bestehend aus verschiedenen Währungen, wird dadurch fällig. Politisch wird sich die Welt damit endgültig von einer unipolaren Weltordnung zu einem multipolaren System entwickeln.“

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Thus, particularly from an American perspective, all these are very good reasons for going to war and are highly interconnected in their logic: the War on Terror, securing world peace, safeguarding Israel’s position as the region’s number one military power, and geostrategic leverage vis-à-vis emergent and existing rivals.

d) War on the Horizon Despite remaining reservations against a strike on Iran (MURPHY 2007), with its dossier handed over to the UNSC, a SCR embodying measures according to Chapter VII allowing for the use of military force enters the sphere of high probability (cf. MASSARRAT 2006a). Striking plans are on the table since quite long time now (cf. AMWG 2004) and calls for regime change are constantly put forward by U.S. neoconservatives and affiliated powerful groups close to the President (e.g. LEDEEN 2004 & 2006 and KRISTOL 2006a/b). Not enough, Iran is blamed for the United States’ occupational quagmire in Iraq. The military buildup. As the escalation already well put in train can be expected to keep rising with Iran being subject to UNSC demands and sanctions whatsoever as well as Washington’s warning to act unilaterally with a renaissance of a ‘coalition of the willing,’ there is not much ray of hope for avoiding war. It can be sincerely reckoned with that the warmongers sitting in Washington and elsewhere are not going to override the zenith of escalation. The preparations of war have already reached the final stage. In his much acclaimed article in The New Yorker, the investigative journalist Seymour HERSH reveals plans by the U.S. government to use tactical nuclear weapons in a confrontation with Iran (2006a), being in line with its new nuclear weapons policy of the last years. In May 2004 Bush issued an alarmingly National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) No. 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization. Although its content is classified, it is presumed that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in regions characterized by tensions, such as the Middle East war theater, in compliance with CONPLAN 8022 (cf. CHOSSUDOVSKY 2007a). Thus, the utilization of tactical nuclear weapons, in form of B61-11 bombs, in the Persian Gulf region becomes ever more conceivable (LINDORFF 2006). From early October 2006 until late February 2007, three U.S. naval strike groups—the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, and the USS John C. Stennis—were deployed to the Persian Gulf region,93 which even adds to the immense troop concentration already in place: more than 200,000 U.S. troops94 are surrounding Iranian territory (DER SPIEGEL 2006). This marks the first time since 2003 that there have been two aircraft carrier

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Both the USS Stennis and USS Eisenhower are Nimitz-class nuclear-powered Navy supercarriers. The first leads a strike group consisting of nine warships, six destroyers, and two nuclear submarines. The latter comprises eight warships, three destroyers, and one nuclear submarine. 94 The United States has deployed troops in the following Near and Middle East countries: Turkey (1,700), Iraq (150,000), Kuwait (25,000), Bahrain (3,000), Qatar (6,500), United Arab Emirates (1,300), Oman (300), Saudi Arabia (300), Afghanistan (19,000), and Pakistan (400). Moreover, in many Central Asian countries, there are also a significant number of American troops on the ground.

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battle groups in the region; at that time for the assault on Iraq. Moreover extra Patriot missiles have been sent into Southern Iraq as well as more minesweepers. On Sep. 18, 2006, former U.S. air force Colonel Sam Gardiner who has carried out war games with Iran as target (cf. AMWG 2004) announces on CNN that the U.S. has been conducting military operations within Iran for at least 18 months. The strike plans have already been passed over to the White House, where the political leadership is prone to implement them. (CNN 2006) HERSH’s report documents that despite internal opponents a U.S. attack on Iran is likely as the preparations for war have already been completed (2006b). Nearly half a year later, Gardiner expresses certainty over Iran suffering an ‘air operation.’ (MACASKILL 2007) With U.S. troops ordered to escalate war on the Western border of Iran and massive troop build-up, war can break out within a matter of hours (ZUMACH 2007). Such an operation runs under the label Iran Theater Near Term (TIRANNT) among military planners, preparing for a “’Shock and Awe’ Blitzkrieg” against Iran (CHOSSUDOVSKY 2007a). In early March 2007, U.S. House leader Nancy Pelosi opposed a $100 billion military spending bill that would have required Bush to seek Congressional approval for waging a war on Iran (BUCHANAN 2007).95 AIPAC is believed to have conducted very efficient lobbying for pushing the Democrats to back Bush’s hard stance on Iran (MURPHY 2007). At its largest annual Policy Conference ever (March 11-13, 2007) with more than 6,000 attendees, the powerful political lobby expressed approval for the military option to be employed against Iran (LEVEY 2007 & FATHOLLAH-NEJAD 2007a).96

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Already in late-September 2006—i.e. before the November mid-term elections—, the U.S. Senate in a unanimous vote approved the Administration’s request for an additional $70 billion for financing America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 96 Leading persons from Congress, the White House, the State Department, and the National Security Council participated at AIPAC’s 2007 Policy Conference, with speeches held by Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives Tom Lantos. Furthermore the Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attended the conference as well as former CIA director James Woolsey. In addition, Evangelical pastor and Christian Zionist John Hagee, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who spoke live via satellite from Jerusalem), and Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Likud Party Chairman and Leader of the Opposition Benjamin Netanyahu (who both traveled to Washington to address the record crowd). The conference’s program focused on the West’s ‘war on terror’ and with special emphasis on Iran and the Middle East, including panel sessions on issues like ‘Global Impact: Understanding Today’s Middle East’ (with among others Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ephraim Sneh and former CIA Director James Woolsey), ‘Radioactive Revolution: What a Nuclear Iran Would Mean for the World,’ ‘Battle over Beirut: What the Struggle in Lebanon Means for the Middle East,’ ‘The Changing Map of the Middle East: What’s at Stake?’, ‘Capital Punishment: How Financial Sanctions Can Thwart Iran and Other State Sponsors of Terror,’ ‘Jihad 101: Understanding Radical Islam and Its War against the West,’ ‘Tentacles of Terror: The Global Reach of the Terrorist Network,’ ‘Academic Challenge: How AIPAC Student Activists Overcome Campus Hostility’ (an indeed anachronistic view of what is actually happening on U.S. campuses), ‘Continental Drift: The Key Trends Affecting Europe’s Middle East Policy,’ etc. An ‘exclusive lunch session’ featured the new Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). Fore more see AIPAC’s Conference site.

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The ‘Iran Hostage Crisis’ reloaded. Tensions are increasingly on the rise. On March 23, Iran seized British soldiers on its territory on the bordering river to Iraq. In the wake of the UNSC, the route vis-à-vis Tehran clearly failed, this incident indeed seems to be a carefully planned British provocation act (LOYOLA 2007). As Iran denies the British nationals’ release—possibly holding them as pledge regarding its captured citizens weeks ago by U.S. troops in Iraqi Kurdistan—, Blair ominously announces a “different phase.” (USA TODAY 2007) Meanwhile London freezes bilateral relations with Tehran until their soldiers’ release. As a result of worries about a possible outbreak of war, the oil price rises to about $65 per barrel. On March 29, the UNSC presents a Press Statement—besides Resolutions and Presidential Statements one of its tools to express itself— after more than four and a half hours of very controversial debates among its members.97 The whole two-sentence statement reads: Members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the capture by the Revolutionary Guard, and the continuing detention by the Government of Iran, of 15 United Kingdom naval personnel, and appealed to the Government of Iran to allow consular access, in terms of the relevant international laws. Members of the Security Council support calls, including by the Secretary-General in his 29 March meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister, for an early resolution of this problem, including the release of the 15 United Kingdom personnel. (SC/8989) The latter call for release is however quite surprising as the legal framework of Iran’s act is far from being legally undisputed (cf. SILVERMAN 2007). The same day the League of Arab States held a summit in Riyadh. Libya’s President Mu’ammar Qaddhafi did not attend explaining that he would not support a meeting paving the way for war on a specific country—an allusion to Iran.98 In a Declaration at their meeting in Bremen (Germany) on March 30, the EU Foreign Ministers unilaterally claimed a legal interpretation of the case, saying: All evidence clearly indicates that at the time of the seizure, the British Naval personnel were on a routine patrolling mission in Iraqi waters in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1723. The seizure by Iranian Forces therefore constitutes a clear breach of international law. The document further expressed the warning that “[s]hould the UK citizens not be released in the near future, the EU will decide on appropriate measures.” (both EU 2007)99 In the actual legal setting, two aspects seem to be clear: The dense militarization of the Persian Gulf by U.S. and UK troops is highly provocative for Iran. On the other hand, by capturing the soldiers, Tehran demonstrates its multi-layered ability for response in the case of being attacked (cf. also BITTNER 2007). After all, on April 4, Iran’s President announces the release of the captured for that same

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Russia, Indonesia, and South Africa are believed to have tempered the initial draft (IRAN-REPORT 04/2007: 11). From April 2007 on, London will replace Cape Town as rotating UNSC president. 98 The summit was originally scheduled to take place in Cairo, but difficult Saudi-Libyan ties were also a hurdle for Qaddhafi’s participation in Riyadh. 99 However, it is reported that London’s claim that all EU members would also freeze their bilateral ties with Tehran was not adopted (IRAN-REPORT 04/2007: 11).

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day. However, it is to note the Western media all too often spoke of ‘hostages’ taken by Iran, remembering the ‘Iran hostage crisis’ of the early 1980s. The Boston Globe’s columnist H.D.S. GREENWAY is being reminded of the 1968 seizure of U.S. soldiers by Cambodia, “another country of which the United States then disapproved,” while considering the region’s multiple pains (i.e. the American and Khmer Rouge atrocities) as a result of “a disastrous American foreign-policy mistake that had engulfed Indochina.” He goes on saying: and I thought, when it was finally over, that a painful lesson had been learned. I was wrong. Some of the same characters in the American government who later brought us Iraq – Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld high among them – took the wrong lesson away from the Indochina debacle. They thought: Just give us another chance and we'll get it right. (2007) The same concludes: “The Iraq drama will play out to its inevitable end, but if Congress really wants to do some good it should start putting up every possible legal barrier to a war with Iran.” (2007) And the mud-wrestling continues.100 Meanwhile Russian news agencies announce that the war has begun. While this is true and largely ahead of other agencies, Moscow’s cards are good in case of an armed confrontation between its global rival the United States and Iran taking place. An Iran War would open up tremendous strategic opportunities for Russia and it could further fuel Moscow’s arms sales to the ME region, while profiting from higher oil prices (cf. FATHOLLAH-NEJAD 2007b). Therefore ABDOLVAND & FEYZI SHANDI 2007 see the ‘next Vietnam,’ while many predict a third World War.

On April 9, 2007, the fourth anniversary of Saddam’s downfall, hundred thousands of Iraqis went to the streets to demonstrate against the American occupation of their country, while Bush’s ‘surge’ is aggravating the already situation in Iraq (VAN AUKEN 2007).101 On the anniversary of last year’s announcement that Iran completed the nuclear fuel cycle, on April … Ahmadinejâd proclaims that his country has achieved with the help of 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at an industrial scale. While the accuracy of this statement is controversial, the IAEA’s Spokesperson Melissa Fleming believes Iran to be four to six years away from manufacturing a nuclear bomb, so that enough time remains for talks (DLF 2007a). Nonetheless, strong condemnations of the Iranian announcement from Western countries as well as Russia—classifying it a ‘provocation’—speeds up tensions and the probability of U.S. air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. But an objectification of the status quo is all the more needed, bearing in mind that Iran has uninterruptedly allowed international inspections at its controversial Natanz facility with the IAEA having no hints that the country is pursuing a weaponization program (TILGNER 2007).

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This is characteristic for the international anarchic environment we have, says Columbia University Professor Hamid Dabashi in an interview with antiwar.com on April 3, 2007. 101 To that date, almost 3,300 U.S. military personnel were being killed in Iraq with over 26,000 wounded. Iraq’s population had meanwhile to keep bemoan around 100 lives on a daily basis. (VAN AUKEN 2007)

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On April 15, Solana meets Lârijâni in Ankara in an effort to restart the negotiation process on Iran’s nuclear program. The same day, Ruprecht Polenz, chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiger Ausschuss) expresses the wish that the U.S. may normalize its ties with Tehran, as this is the only perceivable step that would tremendously augment the prospect of success regarding the talks with Iran (DLF 2007b). During a campaign appearance in South Carolina on 19 April 2007, Republican presidential contender John McCain was asked by the audience about possible U.S. military action against Iran. “How many times do we have to prove that these people are blowing up people now, never mind if they get a nuclear weapon. When do we send them an airmail message to Tehran?” a man in the crowd asked. In response, McCain said, “That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran,” which elicited laughter from the crowd. McCain then chuckled before briefly singing—to the tune of the chorus of the Beach Boys’ classic Barbara Ann—“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ….” The audience responded with more laughter. 102 (GONYEA 2007) On April 23, the EU’s Foreign Ministers widened sanctions on Iran up to 28 persons involved in its nuclear program. Meanwhile the month of April is characterized by a reviving Cold War atmosphere103 between the U.S. and Russia as the former intends to expand the Western defense missile system unto Russia’s eastern flank. According to Washington, the system is intended for defense purposes against the ‘Iranian nuclear threat,’ while Moscow doubts such an argument fearing that the system is directed against it. While the European Union its disputable 50th anniversary, the world is at a horrendous crossroads. It is as well as that time that Zbigniew BRZEZINSKI puts out his new book Second Chance – Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower in which he grades the Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II Administrations. It is with “strong gut instincts but no knowledge of global complexities and a temperament prone to dogmatic formulations” which defines the current one. For the hyper-power its Empire is at stake: We are facing a very serious crisis regarding the future. Our next twenty months are going to be absolutely decisive. If we surmount the next twenty months without the war in Iraq getting worse and expanding to a war with Iran, I think there is a good chance we’ll recoup. […] But if we do get into that larger conflict, then I’m afraid the era of American global preeminence will prove to be historically very, very short. (2007) 

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For the video, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-zoPgv_nYg. According to a TV news journal report of ARD Tagesthemen, April 23, 2007.

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CONCLUSIONS 1. Deconstructing Dogmatic Discourse through Complexification 2. EU to engage firmly in nuclearfree Middle East 3. Regional StructureBuilding—instead of New Order Fantasies Before making some remarks we will retain the results of the issues raised in the previous chapters. Initially, in Chapter 1, we have asserted the geoeconomic centrality of both Iran and the Middle East in their respective larger geostrategic contexts, which catapulted Iran in the midst of Great Power geopolitics with destructive outcomes in terms of the country’s national and political self-determination. In Chapter 2, we have seen that the focus on the Middle East region is deeply rooted in the most relevant U.S. strategic policy directives and that putting Iran in crosshairs is a consistent culmination of Washington’s hegemonic orientation. The latter put into action with the hegemon holding on the Middle East and surrounding Iran, we have seen Tehran entering the ‘Axis of Evil’ and the preeminence of the neocons’ fervent drive for regime change despite Iran’s détente-oriented behavior and a remarkable effort to achieve a grand bargain with the United States. In Chapter 3, we have seen that Iran’s nuclear program was illegitimately elevated to a matter of concern for international peace and security with Europe’s diplomacy falling into this Washington-orchestrated trap with inadequate means to settle this dispute through mutually benefiting deals. What followed is a foreseeable failure of the negotiation process and an unprecedented spiral of escalation with Iran’s dossier now at the UNSC, where Washington is continuing to push its members to adopt its harsh stance vis-à-vis Iran. However, by tackling the real politico-strategic issues at stake, indeed diplomacy can finally succeed. As has been indicated in Chapter 4, the Iran crisis is a synonym for global fissures shaking the international system as a whole. Although the West can still preserve its sole agency claim in matters affecting the international community due to its power preponderance, objections by the rest of the world—indeed by a clear majority of it—are incessantly on the rise. After all, the crisis erupts in a time where the American Empire is at the edge of losing its global primacy. By exerting control over the world’s centers for fossil energies, the United States will prolong for decades to come its

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worldwide hegemony. But as a look at the terrible consequences of an Iran War indicates, the world is at crossroads with the outcome of the inner-American struggle between Neoconservatives and Realists being decisive. In addition to those conclusions, some general observations resulting from them have to be stressed, which can lead to a gain of insight as to the present and the future constitution of the world. Against the background of deep-rooted, ‘vital’ interests of the United States in the Near and Middle East, the sole remaining superpower’s democratization initiative for that crucial region bears no great deal of credibility. America’s global policy since the turn of the century is essentially shaped by neoconservative plans fervently advocating the violent export of what they proclaim as democracy to a region whose autocratic character is marked by the handwriting of the colonial and imperial past and present. The hawkish élites in Washington proclaimed their endless war on terror at radicals of Islamist couleur, making the case for a global clash of fundamentalisms (ALI 2003a). Also in the looming Iran catastrophe—most probably resulting in a disastrous protracted war—the country’s new president is lifted to such a degree although similar harsh rhetoric has been ignored in favor of profits for such a long time now. Although it remains true that in the case of the ‘global war on terrorism,’ radical élites from every side dominate the escalating discourse, we have to acknowledge what it means that still among these two adversaries power is dispersed in a strongly uneven manner. But the powerful lacks much of reliable morality in its fight for the Good—as America’s 14,000 prisoners in Abu Ghrayb and Guantánamo, one million dead civilians in Iraq as well as two million Iraqi refugees since the country’s occupation (ROBERTS ET AL. 2006; HLP 2007) along with hundreds of daily casualties brutally remind us. That is the most immediate evidence why most of the Near and Middle Eastern peoples cannot be fooled in believing the florid rhetoric of their new rulers—from Bush and Blair to Karzai and Khalilzad—claiming to be democrats, but are no more than colonial clowns. Nor do people in Latin America, where strong opposition towards U.S. imperialism has forcefully erupted. Also the majority of European populations identified the warmongering hawkish rhetorical façades built up to wage a war in Iraq four years ago, while the American people have slowly but surely realized the outrageous and destructive hypocrisy of their administration. However the tale of Iran’s imminent nuclear threat—though refuted without exception among Western intelligence services—has become conventional Western wisdom. The interests at stake can hide behind the monumental image of ‘Islamo-fascist’ mullahs striving for a global theocracy. As was the case in previous wars in Kosovo and Iraq, Hitler makes a sad reappearance. In Europe, non-alarmist and pragmatic steps as to Iran are far from shaping her stance in the Iran conflict. The political class is washing its hands in the enemy’s dirty outbursts. And the embedded media of the Free World reproduces what it has produced. Muted among the bombs’ droppings, those concerned fall in-between. The ‘enemy’ is already stigmatized as a notorious

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liar before even checking the facts. Thus, “[t]he credibility of Europe is being tested” (MASSARRAT 2005b: 37). We have said that the peoples of the Middle East are practiced in unveiling the actual intentions at stake, so are more and more people worldwide. Therefore Europe should be aware of long-term damages caused by double-standards it has exercised with others for so many decades now. Indeed much depends on Europe’s behavior in the current crisis with Iran. Will it keep binding itself in the neocons’ Iran strategy, as it already did in a great part of the ‘talks’ leading to its foreseeable impasse? Or, has the ‘no’ regarding the Iraq War to be taken as a mandate for distancing itself vis-à-vis an American Middle East policy which terrifying daily outcries bury the West’s noble virtues? The Europeans must resign from decades-old U.S. policy prescriptions for their crucial neighboring region. The credibility of an independent Near and Middle East course depends on a clear separation to American endeavors, since any complicity jeopardizes the own credibility. Europe’s emancipation from this devil path is the only perceivable manner out of the dead-end. Devoid of any hypocrisy, it should engage in giving support to democratic aspirations of the particular civil societies in the region. Thus, an overall perspective for the whole region is crucial. But not in the way Washington’s Greater Middle East project heads to. The existential and preliminary need for this highly important region of the world is security accompanied by equal treatment of the States involved. A nuclear-free Near and Middle East region should be the primordial focus of such an agenda. That should foremost imply Israel and Iran as well as should be extended to the two nuclear powers confronting each other in the Kashmir region. A nuclear arms race could thus be prevented. In adapting a process resembling the European example, a Conference on Near and Middle Eastern Security and Cooperation should be put in place with Europe’s serious commitment (cf. PERTHES 2004a; MASSARRAT 2007a). Only in such an institutional framework the ethnic and cultural-religious misunderstandings as well as conflicts centered on border issues, water and oil sources can be placed on politico-legal bases. For this will create best circumstances for democracy to flourish. But in this moment, we are at a very critical stage. For Iran, the calm eye of storm is incrementally narrowing, with worrisome American thunders darkening the horizon. A lot points to the fact that Europe did already fail in the current crisis as it actively provoked a military ‘resolution’ of the conflict with Iran. A clear negation of the ‘military option’ vis-à-vis Iran is of utmost importance if a war with catastrophic outcomes should be avoided. The question whether Europe—remembering its own fate—will be able to prevent any U.S. military strike yet remains to be answered as the countdown for outbreak has started. The very constitution of global political system is under challenge—and with it multilateralism (cf. NEWMAN ET AL. 2006). The world at large is witnessing how the unipolar system risks stumbling. By targeting the world’s fossil cores, the American Empire gives up the principle of 93

divide et empera for the benefit of sink or swim. The world’s giants are dwarfing as aswoon observers of the eagle’s hazardous flight. Or are they, with pleasure, observing the Empire’s ultimate breakdown for the sake of their own reemergence? It is tragic irony that Iran, a proud bridge over precious waters, bearing a high potential to nurse a world-system heavily shaken, is the evil Empire’s last castle to capture. But will the colossus duly realize that it has as much to gain as to loose? The rest, however, should content itself with the latter. Half a year after the Iraq War started, the eminent Kofi ANNAN said: You meet at a moment of great consequence for the international community. The events of the past year have shaken the foundations of collective security, and undermined confidence in the possibility of collective responses to our common problems and challenges. Deep divergences of opinion have come to the fore on the range and nature of the challenges we face, and are likely to face in the future. (2003) Over three years later, he’d be glad to repeat this.







BUT HOPE FOR PEACE STILL REMAINS AS…

A cartoon published in the run-up for the Iraq invasion.

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 OFFICAL DOCUMENTS AL-HAYAT (2004), “G-8 Greater Middle East Partnership Working Paper,” Feb. 13. ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION [ACA] (2003), Iran Proposal, Spring 2003. URL The COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION [CEU] (2006), Council Conclusions on Iran, 2756th External Relations Council meeting, Luxembourg (Oct. 16 – 17), Press Release, Oct. 18, 1 page. URL DIRECTOR OF U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE [DNI] (2007a), Annual Threat Assessment of the Director of National Intelligence for the Senate Armed Services Committee, by the Director of National Intelligence Michael J. McConnell, Feb. 27, 23 pages. URL —— (2007b), Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Annual Threat Assessment, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Feb. 27, 63 pages. URL DOCTRINE FOR JOINT NUCLEAR OPERATIONS (2005), Joint Publication 3-12, Final Coordination (2), March 15. EUROPEAN UNION [EU] (2007), “Declaration of the EU Foreign Ministers at the meeting in Bremen on 30th March,” March 30. URL GERMAN FOREIGN OFFICE [GFO] (2006), Declaration of the Foreign Ministers of the E3/EU, China, Russia and the USA on Iran, London, 30.01.2006, Press Release, Jan. 31, 1 page. URL INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY [IEA] (2006), Key World Energy Statistics 2006, Paris, 82 pag-

es. URL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF PAKISTAN [MOFA] (2007), Press Statement Made by the Foreign Minister, on behalf of the 7-Foreign Ministers of Muslim countries and Secretary General, OIC after their meeting in Islamabad on 25 February, 2007, PR. No.65/2007, Feb. 25. URL NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT [NAM 2006/Doc.1/Rev.3] (2006), Final Document, 14th Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Havana, Cuba, Sept. 16. URL NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT [NAM 2006/Doc.12/Rev.1] (2006), Statement on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Issue, 14th Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Havana, Cuba, Sept. 16. URL NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY DEVELOPMENT GROUP [NEPD] (2001), Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America’s Future, National Energy Policy Report, The White House: Washington, May 16, 170 pages. URL UN SECRETARY-GENERAL [SG/SM/9052] (2003), “Secretary-General stresses importance of stocktaking in message to non-governmental organizations meeting in Geneva,” SG/SM/9052, NGO/522, New York: UN Headquarters, Dec. 5. URL UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL [SC8679] (2006), Security Council, in Presidential Statement, underlines importance of Iran’s re-establishing full, sustained suspension of uranium-enrichment activities. Calls on Iran to Take Steps Required by IAEA Board of Governors; Requests Report from IAEA Director General in 30 Days, March 29. URL

—— [SCR1696] (2006), Resolution 1696, adopted by the Security Council at its 5500th meeting on 31 July 2006, 3 pages. URL —— [SCR1696] (2006), Resolution 1737, adopted by the Security Council at its 5612th meeting, on 23 December 2006, S/Res/1737/2006, 9 pages. URL —— [SCR1747] (2007), Resolution 1747, adopted by the Security Council at its 5647th meeting on 24 March 2007, S/Res/1747 (2007), 9 pages. URL —— [SC8989] (2007), Security Council Press Statement on Iran, SC/8989, March 29. URL UNITED STATES STATE DEPARTMENT [STATE] (2006), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice interviewed by Michele Keleman of National Public Radio, Vienna (Austria), June 2. URL

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The WHITE HOUSE [NSS] (2002), The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, Washington, September, 35 pages. URL —— (2003), President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East, Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., Nov. 6. URL —— [NSS] (2006), The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, Washington, 49 pages. URL ▪▪▪

 IAEA AND RELATED DOCUMENTS DIRECTOR GENERAL’S PRESS STATEMENT [DGPS] (2006), On Iran, IAEA Headquarters Vienna, March 6. URL IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS [GOV/2003/75] (2003), Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Report by the Director General, Nov. 10, 29 pages. URL —— [GOV/2004/83] (2004), Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Report by the Director General, Nov. 15, 32 pages. URL —— [GOV/2005/87] (2005), Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Report by the Director General, Nov. 18, 5 pages. URL —— [GOV/2006/14] (2006) Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Resolution adopted on Feb. 4, 3 pages. URL —— [GOV/2006/15] (2006), Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Report by the Director General, March 8, 11 pages. URL —— [GOV/2006/27] (2006), Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Report by the Director General, April 28, 8 pages. URL INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY [IAEA] (2006a), Developments in the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Agency Verification of Iran’s Suspension of Enrichmentrelated and Reprocessing Activities, Update Brief by the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, Jan. 31, 4 pages. URL —— (2006b), Report on Iran’s Nuclear Programme Sent to UN Security Council, Staff Report, March 8. URL INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY [INFCIRC/637] (2004), Communication dated 26 November 2004 received from the Permanent Representatives of France, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Kingdom concerning the agreement signed in Paris on 15 November 2004, Information Circular, Nov. 26, 4 pages. URL (Paris Agreement) INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY [INFCIRC/666] (2006), Communication dated 2 February 2006 received from the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency, Information Circular, Feb. 3, 5 pages. URL IRAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS [IMFA] (2003), Statement by the Iranian Government and visiting EU Foreign Ministers, Oct. 21. URL (Tehran Agreement) ▪▪▪ ▪▪▪ ▪▪▪

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALI FATHOLLAH-NEJAD (B.A., B.Sc.), b. 1981, studies of Political Science, Sociology, Economics, and Law at the University of Münster (Germany), Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) Lille (France), and the University of Twente (the Netherlands). His main research fields cover international relations (theory), Iran and the Middle East, contemporary France and Germany, as well as political and cultural issues of migration and integration. He can be contacted at [email protected]

 All human beings are in truth akin, All in creation share one origin; When fate allots a member pangs and pain, No ease for other members then remains; If, unperturbed, another’s grief canst scan, Thou are not worthy of the name of man.

 A poem by the Persian poet Saadi (1184 – around 1291) gracing the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the United Nations building in New York City

© Ali Fathollah-Nejad | Germany | 2007 103

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