Will Iran be stopped from becoming the biggest threat to our civilization?
In the past few days, Iran announced the resumption of its nuclear fuel research, and later failed to show up at a meeting at the IAIE (International Atomic Energy Agency), where it was supposed to explain its move. No one should be really surprised, given Iran’s long history of nuclear deception, exemplified by the discovery of facilities that were either kept secret or are suspected of hosting activities not permitted by international agreements. Broken promises, hidden information, illegal import of nuclear technology are unfortunately the foundations of a supposedly peaceful program. But why should we lie to ourselves? Iran does not need any peaceful nuclear energy.
Iran has the world's second largest natural gas reserves (after Russia) and the third largest oil reserves in the world. In addition, its yearly domestic oil consumption represents less than 0.4% of its reserves and its oil exports represent around 0.6% of its reserves. In other words, Iran proved reserves would fulfill close to 100 years of domestic consumption and oil exports. If Iran does need so desperately nuclear energy for its domestic use, then any other nations would need it even more desperately.
So why is Iran so vehement about building a”peaceful” nuclear energy program? Let us assume for a minute that this is really what they want to achieve. Given the fact that it’s perceived as an aggressive dictatorship, sponsoring terrorism, and sitting on most of the world oil and gas reserves, Iran knows that the peacefulness of its program is likely to be challenged. So why would they hide from the IAIE so many elements which, when discovered, would dramatically increase the suspicion that its real goal is nuclear weapons?
At the end of the day, it’s clear what Iran really wants. What is not clear is whether we are going to stop it and who will do it.
Bush, dealing with an Iraq situation far from being resolved, and a public well aware of his unfounded claim of Iraq full of weapons of mass destructions, is going to have a tough time convincing the American public that the US should lead the charge on Iran.
With its charismatic and visionary leader struggling between life and death, Israel, the only nation that has ever used military means to stop a dictatorship from building a nuclear bomb (bombing of Iraq’s nuclear facilities in 1981), is unlikely to make a move in the short term. After suffering many years of Iranian lies and deception, major Europeans powers have yet to show any strong response.
Other major nations, such as China and Russia, are so closely benefiting from Iran’s energy and/or wealth, that not they are not stopping Iran but are even worsening the problem by threatening to veto any future resolutions against Iran at the Security council, by building nuclear facilities in Iran and by providing Iran with sophisticated defensive and offensive military capabilities.
As a columnist at the Toronto Sun, wrote recently: “The world seems to be similarly situated as it was in the 1930s. Then Hitler, like Ahmadinejad today, made public his views of what he intended to do, and European powers took him to be a clown -- only to discover the clown was lethal”. It’s unfortunate to see how little we learn from history, as we seem to be always making the same mistakes. This time around, we are talking about a mistake that could, in a matter of hours, provoke more destruction that any of the 20th century wars… And one may wonder, in a world where a world body such as the UN is so ineffective, whether our democracies can really cope with such existential threats before the effects of their destructive powers becomes a reality.