Iran and nuclear: which future for the region?

Tehran: a nuclear power? On February 9, 2010, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has announced the setting up of a dozen uranium enrichment sites at 20%. Iran is already producing low enriched uranium (between 3 and 5%) which is used as fuel in nuclear power plants. To make a nuclear weapon would require uranium enriched product is 90%. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency had previously condemned the Islamic Republic after that Iran had hidden the existence of the construction of a uranium enrichment site, Fordow near Qom.

In Iran, the nuclear issue makes the Western World and Israel anxious. The compromise is not topical. According to Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, it is the end of a diplomatic way and there would be no solution apart from the establishment of new sanctions. (New sanctions will not stop Iran’s nuclear proliferation; GulfNews, 9/02/2010)

If today the international community expresses its readiness to punish Iran, it is remains that this community is divided. China and Russia are more conservatives to the idea of adopting a form of punishment against Tehran. China and Russia are more reluctant to adopt sanctions against Iran with whom they maintain economic cooperation. Only Israel is directly threatened by Tehran, condemns it and underlines the role of the international community. Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to world society. (Netanyahu: Crippling Iran sanctions needed now, Haaretz, 10/02/2010).

But what do the Arab countries think?

Even if the United States and Europe, especially France, rebelled against the increased production of Iran’s uranium enriched to 20%, we do not hear what Arab countries, Iran’s neighbors, think about it and what are their official positions.

Through diplomatic way, Iran’s ambassador to Kuwait said that there is no reason for neighboring countries to become alarmed. Moreover, according to Ali Jannati, the U.S. cannot afford to use force, because of the situation in Afghanistan. Therefore, Gulf States would not to worry even if three of the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) host important U.S. military bases: Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. (U.S. ‘incapable’ of launching military attack against Iran, Kuwaittimes, 09/02/2010).

For Iraq, the State has no objection against to building of nuclear sites by the Islamic Republic, near the border between the two countries. The Iraqi government asks for the condition:  these sites have to respect safety standards and must not be a danger for the population. The Iraqi National Commission on Nuclear Energy and promises to monitor nuclear activities and expects the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to do the same. (Iraq asks Iran for information on 10 nuclear sites, Azzaman, January 15, 2010)

Today, the statement is that penalties against Iran are not effective. The threat of Western powers does not scare the Islamic Republic, particularly because these powers are not unanimously agree on the position to adopt.

Indeed, Russia and China are still timid and Iran is aware that the U.S. cannot (currently?) use force. Alain Frachon, World, highlights the non-cohesion of the international community and Europe about « condemnation » of the Islamic Republic, which thus opens the path of unilateral sanctions. (Iran : pourquoi la politique des sanctions marche aussi mal, Le Monde, 09/02/2010).

How far Iran wills he ignore the claims of the international community and the extent to which Europe and the United States is willing to cooperate with Tehran?

The question of intervention by the United States is not on the agenda even if the Iranian authorities have already expressed their opinions and do not think the United States can intervene.

Tehran does not seem ready to renounce to its activities despite of the sanctions. The dialogue between the West and Iran is not constructive, even if the Iran said to be open to proposals. The negotiation’s dynamic must be reopened and a factor could be the withdrawal of support from China and Russia to the Islamic Republic. Indeed, if France, the United States, Germany, Great Britain, China and Russia unite against Iran, this would influence the decision of President Ahmadinejad.


Sophia Vignard