PERSIA AND ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAMME: THE ALTERNATIVES
GATINEAU, Quebec (Reuters) - The world's leading industrial nations called on Tuesday for stronger action against Iran over its nuclear program and the United States said it was confident China would agree on the need for sanctions.
Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations urged the international community to take "appropriate and strong steps" to show its resolve over the nuclear program, which Tehran insists is purely peaceful.
Western members of the U.N. Security Council are pushing for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, which many nations suspect is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
China -- which, as a permanent council member, can veto the move -- has traditionally been cool to the idea of punishing Iran further. Diplomats say Beijing is slowly losing patience but still favors a diplomatic solution.
"I believe we are making progress ... We see a growing awareness on the part of many countries, including China, as to the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the end of the meeting in Gatineau, Quebec, just outside Ottawa.
Noting that sanctions were a part of diplomacy, she said Iran had repeatedly shown an unwillingness to fulfill its international obligations over the last 15 months.
"That's the basis on which I express my optimism that we're going to have a consensus reached in the Security Council," Clinton told a news conference.
Turkey, a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, said on Monday it did not favor sanctions. Brazil, which also has a revolving seat on the council, wants a diplomatic solution.
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking in Washington. said he wanted new U.N. sanctions in place within weeks.
In Beijing on Tuesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said his government opposed Iran acquiring nuclear weapons but stopped short of backing new sanctions.
"At present, we hope that all sides will make substantive efforts and demonstrate flexibility over the Iran nuclear issue," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the idea that the G8 had to convince China to agree to sanctions, saying Beijing would make up its mind independently.
In their final communique, the G8 ministers said they wanted Iran to comply with demands from the Security Council and co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Ministers agreed to remain open to dialogue and also reaffirmed the need to take appropriate and strong steps to demonstrate international resolve to uphold the international nuclear nonproliferation regime," the communique said.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that while the offer of dialogue remained on the table "the parallel track ... is one of pressure".
"G8 Increases pressure on Iran [Persia] over its Nuclear Programme," 30 March 2010 in www.reuters.com.
"It is possible that Israel will carry out a strike against Iranian Nuclear Facilities, if the U.S. does not, with the objective of either destroying the program or delaying it for some years. The success of the Strike Mission will be measured by how much of the Enrichment program has it destroyed, or the number of years it has delayed Iranian acquisition of enough Uranium or Plutonium from the Arak reactor to build a nuclear bomb.
• We conclude that a military strike by Israel against Iranian Nuclear Facilities is possible and the optimum route would be along the Syrian-Turkish border then over a small portion of Iraq then into Iran, and back the same route. However, the
number of aircraft required, refueling along the way and getting to the targets without being detected or intercepted would be complex and high risk and would lack any assurances that the overall mission will have a high success rate.
• The U.S. would certainly be perceived as being a part of the conspiracy and having assisted and given Israel the green light, whether it did or had no part in it whatsoever. This would undermine the U.S. objectives in increasing stability in the region and bringing about a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It will also harm for a very long period of time relations between the U.S. and its close regional allies.
• Another scenario is in using Low Yield Earth Penetrating Nuclear Weapons as a substitute for conventional weapons to attack deeply buried nuclear facilities in Iran. Some believe that these are the only weapons that can destroy targets deep
underground or in tunnels.
• The Israeli Sea Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM), Popeye Turbo, with a range of 1,500km launched from the German built Dolphin-class submarine, is capable of carrying these nuclear warheads. Israel is reported to possess a 200kg nuclear
warhead containing 6 kg of weapons grade Plutonium that could be mounted on the Sea Launched Cruise Missiles and producing a Yield of 20KT....
•It is doubtful that an Israeli strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities would bring Syria into a direct conflict with Israel.
Syria knows very well that alone its military forces are no match to Israel. However, proxy actors such as
Hezbollah would engage Israel in anti-symmetric attacks, with Syrian and Iranian assistance.
• A strike by Israel on Iran will give rise to regional instability and conflict as well as terrorism. The regional security consequences will be catastrophic....
Anthony Cordesman & Abdullah Toukan, "Options to deal with Iran's Nuclear Program," 26 March 2010, in www.csis.org.
If one compares the story from Reuters concerning the meeting of the G8 Foreign Ministers with the study done by Anthony Cordesman, one can only draw the following conclusion: that Persia is on the road to acquiring nuclear weapons and that there is pretty much, very little that anyone can or will do to stop it. Those who have a will to do so (Israel), lack the capacity to do a through job. Indeed, as per Cordesman, the only way that Israel could possibly insure that a series of strikes would have the intended result would be for it to use: 'low yield earth penetrating nuclear weapons'.Which to my mind, is almost the same thing as stating that Israel will not in fact do anything due to a lack of capacity in conventional forces. And, the only power which does have the capacity (the USA), is under its current regime, frightened out of its wits, at even the possibility of using force against Persia. As for the imposing a 'fourth round of sanctions', on Teheran, this is again, almost the same thing as useless, if not completely futile. Unless, sanctions were to involve refined oil and gas, which in turn would require something akin to a naval blockade of the Persian coast, the fact of the matter is that any economic sanctions imposed would not in the least deter Persia from its path in acquiring nuclear weapons. And, of course oil and gas sanctions are not up for discussions in the United Nations Security Council. Much less, a naval blockade. And, for those who have some panglossian idea, that the mere fact of negotiations with Persia will yield some acceptable modus vivendi, are being completely naive. As Cordesman notes in his study, in order for Persia to give-up its nuclear weapons programme, would necessitate among other quid pro quos the following:
- Guarantee and Security Assurances that Israel does not strike Iran.
- Put a stop to the Israeli threats to the survival of the Iranian regime.
- Disarming Israel from its Nuclear Weapons capability and its long range Ballistic Missiles.
- The Muslim Arab world to recognize the importance of Iran as a regional power and the key role it plays in the security and stability of the region, and to be treated as such.
- US and Europe to support the construction of Oil and Gas pipeline from the Caspian region through Iran into Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
- To have access to all developments of Science and Technology in the West.
- To rebuild its conventional armed forces.
- For the U.S. to help in structurally upgrading its oil fields, and guarantee a Nuclear Power program.
One does not have to be of a pessimistic nature to be aware of the fact that Israel, will never, repeat never, give up its nuclear weapons. Certainly, not in the absence of a complete change of regime in Persia (and perhaps Syria as well). The upshot of the above desiderata, is that the chances of negotiating a plausible solution to Persia's quest for nuclear weapons is pretty much nil. Which means that in a very short order, the West needs to make a major decision: accept the fact of Persia's nuclear existence and come up with a plausible policy to counter the perceived consequences of this unfortunate fact, or follow a policy of pure coercion, including the use of substantial forces in order to forestall Persia acquiring nuclear weapons.