By Chupina Maria
The managing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency is meeting in Vienna on the 17th and 18th of November to discuss a high-profile report by Director General Yukiya Amano claiming that Iran is carrying out a program to produce weapons of mass destruction. Tehran responded by promising to submit a “substantiated answer” and inform all international agencies concerned about it. A statement to this effect was made by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
The IAEA report worsened tensions surrounding Iran. Being impregnated with vague statements suggesting that Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program and that there are grounds to deem this information as trustworthy, it produced a bombshell effect. Even though excerpts from the report had been published before, all together they set the West and Israel on tenterhooks. Both began to say with renewed vigor that Iran posed a danger to the rest of the world and that sanctions were needed against it. In its turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry reacted by saying that the IAEA report all but manipulated the facts, was biased and provided no proof as to the military nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
Andrei Volodin of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations shares this position:
“Russia is right to believe that there is no alternative to talks. The West is stuck in Libya and is facing a similar deadlock in Syria. The West will crack under such a burden if it has to handle yet another conflict. By intervening in Iran, the United States wants to demonstrate to its conservative-minded voters that it is concerned about the Iranian nuclear program, nuclear non-proliferation and the security of Israel. However, the issue goes beyond Iran. The Libyan crisis has largely reduced chances of guaranteeing nuclear proliferation. As for Iran proper, it is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Any pressure on it could be counter-productive and cause still greater isolation of Israel in the Middle East.”
Nevertheless, the IAEA report set the US, EU and Israel talking the need to step up pressure on Tehran or even introduce new sanctions against it. Germany and France, the EU’s mighty powers, exclude using force. But judging by reports in the Israeli press, some Israeli leaders find such a scenario possible. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns that the current anti-Iranian campaign is designed to fuel tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and overthrow its current regime.
Shortly before the IAEA meeting, the western press published a number of scenarios for a “blitz” war against Iran. Alexander Pasechnik of the National Energy Security Foundation, comments:
“The so-called “lightning war” scenario was devised mainly by the US, Britain and Israel. Some high-ranking politicians in the West believe that Iran is putting its nuclear program on a military track. But there is no direct account of this in the IAEA report.”
Strategists in the West and Israel alike tend to forget about the so-called “boomerang” effect. Pressured on all sides, Tehran may well choose to produce nuclear weapons in order to protect itself against threats coming from the West. Dubbed bad, one tends to live up to the name. The Iranian authorities are surely contemplating the possibility of plunging in the same chaos as Iraq and Libya. Tehran has made its position crystal clear saying that it doesn’t plan aggression against other countries but will respond to aggression against it with a “crushing blow”. Iranian leaders don’t rule out talks either. But the western “political and bureaucratic machine” might let the situation deteriorate to a point beyond which talks are out of the question. Recent history recorded plenty of cases like that. Given the situation, the assessment of the IAEA report by the Agency’s managing board in Vienna is crucial in avoiding or encouraging more tensions concerning Iran.