US, allies to penalise Iran if it insists on taking nuclear road

ABU DHABI — If Iran insists on going down the nuclear road it would be substantially penalised, warned a senior American expert in US foreign policy.

By Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Sun 29 May 2005, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:54 PM

“Nobody wants Iran to become a nuclear weapons state. But if it insisted on going down the nuclear path it will then be substantially penalised by the United States and its allies,” said US Ambassador and President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard N. Haass, in an interview with Khaleej Times.

He, however, said that unlike the case in Iraq, a UN Security Council “go-ahead” would be sought and any strike to deter Iran’s potential nuclear programme will be under the council’s umbrella.

Rejecting allegations that the US has already made up its mind to strike Iran, Ambassador Haass, who was recently on a visit to the UAE to discuss US foreign policy in the Gulf region, said there were several options to deal with the situation, if Iran continued its nuclear programme, one of them being the use of force to deter any such move.

A member of George HW Bush’s National Security Council, Ambassador Haass was, until June 2003, Director of Policy Planning for the Department of States, where he was a principal adviser to the then secretary of state Colin Powell on a broad range of foreign policy concerns.

In 1991, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his contribution to the development and articulation of US policy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

During his visit, Ambassador Haass gave a lecture at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) on the “Challenges and Opportunities in the Middle East: An American Perspective”.

Elaborating on the issue of Iran, he said that if that country turned into a nuclear state, the US would then have to think on how to introduce terms, so that Iran does not use its nuclear weapons, or transfer weapons, technology, or materials to terrorists.

He said he personally preferred a policy that, in one way or another, would prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons.

“The real question is, given that we have limited leverage and the available options would be difficult or expensive, what is to be done about it,” he said in an interview after the lecture.

On the different options to deal with the situation, he said there was talk about diplomacy, military force, and encouraging a regime change in Teheran.

He said the same goes for North Korea. If a nuclear weapons capability cannot be prevented, then one must figure out how to deal with and manage such a scenario. “It is possible we will end up with that, though it would certainly not be desirable,” he added.

Among other issues, Ambassador Haass also spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Iraq, reform, and the UAE’s influential regional role.

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