Iran – Will America do it or would it not?


Global polity during the month was engaged in assessing possibilities of two seminal events related to Iran. The possibility of Iran capping its nuclear program was reviewed in tandem with America’s intent of striking at Tehran’s nuclear infra structure. Massing of a large number of United States naval ships in the Gulf including two aircraft carrier groups, many batteries of Patriot anti missile rockets, mine sweepers and submarine carrying cruise missiles indicated strong intent of using force against Tehran. The possibility of an attack using nuclear bunker buster ammunition was contemplated as Washington was determined to stop Iranian proliferation by use of force if required.

As the dead line for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 calling Iran for suspension of uranium enrichment on 21 February came closer, there was increased tension with expectations of Iran categorically defying UN. This indicated likelihood of increase in level of sanctions being imposed on Iran. But Iran maintained that while it will continue to enrich Uranium, it will not develop atomic weapons. (Indian Express Report. 22 February 2007). The International Atomic Energy Agency on the other hand reported that Iran had not suspended nuclear enrichment related activities which was in line with expectations given the indications of the past few months. The report also denoted that Tehran continued to set up hundreds of uranium spinning centrifuges in an underground hall and was bringing 9 tons of gaseous feedstock for enrichment. The nuclear program is also said to include heavy water and heavy water production.

Iran, on the other hand, remained defiant with celebrations of 28th Anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution overshadowed by the country’s new found determination for the, “historical achievement for Iran and the Iranian people to strongly defend their nuclear right with strength” (Manoj Joshi. Hindustan Times. 11 February 2007). The rally denoted popular support for hard line policies of the President Ahmadinejad. Iran’s arguments for possession of a nuclear weapon are being legitimatized by the principle of denial of sovereign rights by machinations of the West. The rhetoric is hyphenated with frequent references to sacrifices for achieving great nationhood.

The Iranian structure for nuclear decision making comprises of a large number of inter locking agencies such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the Supreme National Security Council, the Foreign Ministry and the President. This provides some inherent guarantees as group think may delay the process of nuclearisation, though at the same will result in greater stridency in dealing with the West.

Rahul K. Bhonsle is a Strategic Risk and Knowledge Management Consultant and writer with specific focus on defence and security, especially in South Asia.