Teheran’s Initiative

Teheran is speaking up. Keeping in view the September deadline, for addressing concerns over its nuclear programme, given by the Group of Eight countries, Iran is now looking beyond the prism. By proposing a worldwide ban on attacking nuclear installations, Teheran wants to address two issues with a single approach. It goes without saying that though Iran fears an Israeli attack on its nuclear installations, it is at the same time committed to further its clandestine nuclear programme to its logical conclusion.

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Published: Fri 14 Aug 2009, 10:10 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:28 AM

Through moves such as the these, Teheran is making an effort to muster public opinion, which can not only help subside increasing pressure on its nuclear programme but also ensure a congenial environment.

Iran is eyeing the forthcoming 150-nation International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Geneva as a venue to articulate its doctrine of non-attack on sensitive installations. The September meet can, at the same time, also provide Teheran with an opportunity to do some plain talking as it explains its nuclear ambitions to the world at large. Keeping in view the domestic downslide, in the wake of unrest following the impugned June 12 presidential election, one hopes Teheran will be more interested in clinching a deal, which can go a long way in rehabilitating its stature at home and abroad. But that won’t be an easy task given the fluid nature of geo-politics. Moreover, the synopsis of restraint on the nuclear format has always been political in context, and the right to exercise the option is purely a sovereign matter. Thus, Teheran cannot just bank on the fine-tuning of language in any declaration or resolution, and should keep its fingers crossed as it negotiates its nuclear strategy.

Doing away with nuclear weapons and, for that matter, putting in place a mechanism to desist from first-strike option has been there for long. Yet, disarmament has proved hard to come. The United States and Russia, which together hold 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear warheads, are locked in an unending debate of how to begin. Similarly, the new military trends in Europe and the talk of a missile defence shield had almost derailed the process of cutting down on intercontinental missiles. And, on the other side of the Pacific Rim, a reclusive North Korean leadership holds the final say as it off and on sends missiles across the shores.

Last but not the least, an uneasy peace on the subcontinent, as Pakistan and India celebrate their 62nd Independence anniversary, is fraught with concerns. To make headway in such a polarised and chaotic geo-political environment demands leadership and firm commitment to peace and security. Teheran by proposing the ban has, indeed, initiated a debate that will certainly see some push and pull. But the threat is real, and merely a resolution cannot put that off. Iran, perhaps, realises that even as it tends to buy more time for itself.

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