Day two in Tehran
I woke up with PressTV, and the first thing I saw was my own face in an interview. In response to the question “can nuclear weapons really be abolished” I answered the usual things such as “We must abolish them before they abolish us” etc. They must have liked it as they asked me for a second interview today, and so did a couple of other TV companies. So hopefully I gave some arguments to those in the country who do not want nuclear weapons – at this time probably a great majority. I have not been able to record this video.
Nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East
Yesterday I wrote that I did not understand the interest in the hoped-for conference next year on a Nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. I thought it to be an impossible dream. Today I have turned around a few degrees: We shall pretend to be optimists. Maybe it will succeed. I am here particularly influenced by a presentation by Paul Ingram, BASIC:
- The 1995 NPT indefinite prolongation is dependent on a NWFZME. If that is not negotiated, some NAM states will demand an abrogation of the NPT.
- Israel has a strong interest in a continuing NPT, which keeps its neighbors from obtaining nukes.
- Israel realizes that many European countries and some supporting groups in the US are getting fed up with the intransigence. Israel risks losing both status and trade.
But we must avoid Israel-bashing. If Israel feels unfairly attacked, they will turn away and find ways to blame other parties.
Israel can, if they accept entering into the conference, then decide to leave the table and find someone to blame. This may become necessary for domestic reasons. Or they may try to hang in there, without accepting any compromises, hoping for better days, and better coalition partners in the Gov’t.
From a rational point it is easy: Israel has had no use of its nukes, will never be able to use them, and should give them up just for better relations with some countries. But Israel has a lot of paranoia. And fear. And when you are afraid, you do not want to take risks, to try anything new.
Iran and the relations to West
Iran could accept the present situation and give in to the demands. And then get the green light from the US, for trade etc? But terms will probably be very unfavorable, maybe a demand for regime change. But there could be regime change first, a development of the Arab Spring?
Or Iran could choose defiance. The economy would suffer even more. The reputation of the country would decrease in the west. Security of the country would be endangered – the risk of an Israeli attack is probably small, but difficult to calculate. In the long run a violent conflict with Israel and/or USA is not unlikely?
A meeting for a NWFZME in 2012 is an opportunity. Iran should seek alliances, but be very careful not to challenge West. Try to find items where compromise if possible. Important that Iran does not get blame for a failure of the procedure
The presentations and discussions during the day were of a variable quality, but conducted in an amiable atmosphere. As I had expected my presentation was not on the program. It was not last year either, but at that time I suddenly was asked to present in a workshop. This year there was no slot for me. I can be blamed to some extent, I had not sent in the 15 page manuscript they had asked for, partly because it should have been sent two weeks before I received the invitation. On the other hand, I got a good chance on the first day, when everybody was still there.
Unfortunately, at the end came the Deputy of the Secretary of National Security Council (there are so many Councils!) H.E. Dr Bagheri. He gave an inflammatory speech, attacking in long tirades “ the modern dictatorship” driving “nuclear deception and hypocrisy”. If men like him are allowed on the international stage, no agreement on anything is possible. His audience was of course the domestic public reached through the many TV cameras there, but that audience would be injected with hate and resent against the USA and “The Zionist state”.
The leader of the conference tried to apply a soothing salve, talking about a wonderful world free from nuclear weapons.
A long conference summary was accepted. There was of course a lack of balance, and some statements were too pointed. However, there was nothing really offensive – as far as we could understand, we heard the documents read, did not read – and better leave it as it was.