Monday, 1 October 2012

Western Double Speak: Nuclear Iran v Environment Protection

Nicodemus Minde
October 1, 2012: Iran has always provided us with interesting foreign policy perspectives. The phases of Iran foreign policy have witnessed a different treatise ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This defining moment in their history has continued to shape their politics and relations with other nations. It is difficult to argue that there is a consistent foreign policy behavior in any state. The only consistent factor in defining foreign policy behavior has always been consistent national interests. States, in the realist tradition will always pursue policies consistent to their national interests, which in most occasions are state survival, security and prosperity. The Islamic theocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini was modeled on anti-imperialism establishment and a return to Islamic values which had been eroded by the ousted Western backed Shah of Iran. Contemporary Iran was labeled ‘axis of evil’ by the former US president George Bush on the pretext sponsoring terrorism. Further deluge has been generated by Iran’s nuclear ambition. Iran has consistently said that they seek to enrich uranium for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. My preposition is that Iran should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be subjected to pernicious economic sanctions. 
Iran is a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a key player of the International Atomic Energy agency (IAEA). The NPT which is built on three pillars of ‘Non-proliferation’, ‘disarmament’, and ‘peaceful use’ is the principle international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. Israel, the ardent critic of nuclear Iran is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons and to be the sixth country in the world to develop them. It is one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea. Israel maintains a policy known as "nuclear ambiguity" (also known as "nuclear opacity"). Yet it has always questioned the intentions of Iran, which subscribes to the dictates of the NPT and the IAEA. The other ardent critic of Iran nuclear process is the US. The US has gone on to draft sanction policies to Iran due to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear program for peaceful energy purposes. The same countries slapping these sanctions have not been cooperative to the environmental treaties that call for the minimizing of poisonous gases that cause global warming and climate change. 

The Kyoto protocol and many other subsequent climate conferences such as the Copenhagen and Durban have been a failure mainly due to frustrating efforts by the same Western powers that see Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power as wrong. States that advocate for environmental protection should also do the noble task of punishing those who don’t conform to international environment treaties the same manner they are ‘dealing’ with Iran.   

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