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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Drawing A Red Line With Iran

Published Saturday, August 2, 2008

          The Bush administration's decision to open direct contacts with Iran is to be welcomed, but precisely because it marks such a break with previous U.S. policy, it also carries a great danger. This is that hard-liners in the American and Israeli governments will treat this Western proposal as a last chance for the Iranians, to be followed by an attack if Tehran fails to accept it.

          Meanwhile, it is already clear that much of the Iranian establishment interprets the latest Western conditions not as a final red line, but as yet another pink line, a vague basis for further negotiations. In consequence, it is unlikely that the Iranians will agree to a complete suspension of uranium enrichment within the six-week deadline set by the West.

          Apart from anything else, Iranian leaders know that as long as they stop short of weaponization, neither the Europeans nor much of the U.S. uniformed military will approve an attack on Iran, with all its potentially devastating consequences for Western security. An attack will open up disastrous splits not only between the United States and Europe, but possibly within the U.S. security establishment itself.

The West must set a genuine red line that the Iranians can recognize clearly as such

          If we in the West are to set a genuine red line that the Iranians can recognize as such, two interlinked things are necessary. This line needs to be rooted in international rules that the Iranians themselves have formally recognized, and it needs to have the full support not only of the Europeans, but of the Russians, Chinese and Indians as well.

          In other words, our red line must be strict, verifiable adherence to the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NTP, accompanied by a list of detailed, concrete and severe sanctions that leading members of the international community undertake to impose if Iran breaks the treaty and moves to weaponization. The nonproliferation treaty - with all its flaws - must therefore be treated by the West as an asset rather than a burden.

          According to Hans Blix, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the idea that Iran's past violations and secretiveness has canceled out its right to uranium enrichment under the treaty is a "thin legal argument." Even officials of the U.S. State Department are privately beginning to admit Iran's right to enrichment, and the dead end into which the current strategy has led the West.

          On the other hand, the nonproliferation treaty does provide the West with a very strong legal ground to pursue what should be our red line: to place a verifiable cap on Iranian enrichment and other nuclear capabilities well short of weaponization.

          This is a red line that all states of the UN Security Council agree on, and which Iran itself has always said that it accepts. Through the NPT, Tehran can be held to its own oft-repeated position that it does not want weapons and that its program is for peaceful purposes only.

Security Council-2
The United Nations Security Council must urge all UN members to strictly conform to its decisions about the Islamic Republic of Iran.

          Russia, China and India all strongly dislike being forced to support what they regard as unilateral and illegal American pressure on Iran, but equally, strongly oppose Iran developing nuclear weapons.

          The NPT therefore gives the West a strong basis on which to go to these countries and say: We will go back to the letter of the nonproliferation treaty and allow strictly limited and inspected Iranian enrichment if you will sign a binding international agreement setting out in public, in detail and in advance the sanctions that you and the other signatory nations will impose if Iran moves toward weaponization.

          These threats should include removing Iran from all international organizations, ending outside investment, imposing a full trade embargo, ending - as far as possible - all international flights to Iran, and inspecting all transport headed to that country.

          By way of an additional incentive, Russia or China might be allowed to appear to take the diplomatic lead in this mater, boosting their regime's international status and domestic prestige.

          On the other hand, Russia in particular should be clearly warned that if Iran did weaponize and Moscow failed to impose the sanctions that they had promised, the results would be an increase in anti-Russian policies by the West across the entire spectrum of our relations.

These threats should include removing Iran from all international organizations, ending outside investment, imposing a full trade embargo etc...

          Such a deal is the best that we can realistically hope for. The Iranian establishment has talked itself into a position where it would be virtually impossible for Tehran to abandon enrichment altogether.

          As for an attack on Iran, this would at best only delay the Iranian program, while catastrophically undermining American efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and indeed the entire U.S. position in the Muslim world. A settlement along these lines, on the other hand, would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and open the way for a resumption of the aid that Tehran provided in 2001 against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, which we badly need and which the Bush administration spurned. ENDS RED LINE FOR IRAN 2808

Editor’s note: Anatol Lieven is a professor at King's College London and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington. He is co-author, with John Hulsman, of "Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World."  Trita Parsi is the author of "Treacherous Alliance -- The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the U.S.", a Silver Medal Recipient of the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Book Award, the most significant award for a book on foreign affairs.

This article was carried out by the International Herald Tribune on 28 July 2008

Highlights are by IPS






4 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Sunday, August 3, 2008 01:52 [ 1 ]

What was the Western reaction while the Israelis openly constructed a nuclear reactor? What was the Western reaction when various intelligence services discovered that the Israelis were building nuclear warheads? There wasn't any reaction. Not a word. So it's all very simple really. If the United States gave a tacit okay while the Israelis were manufacturing nuclear warheads that precedent precludes western governments and the Israeli government from whinging about the Iranian nuclear programme.

Monday, August 4, 2008 09:19 [ 2 ]

Mr. westergaard

There is a foundamental difference between the regimes in Israel and Iran. Did you think it was That simple?

you disgusting, hateful, anti-jew , hypocrite white trash.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 20:19 [ 3 ]

The United States, UK, Israeil and allies' stratigc plan in the past 35 years has been the creation of the Islamic Fundementalist Terrorists in the Middle East and around for the purpose of diverting, curtailing and finally killing the nations democratic movement.

In order to do that for example: they created a reactionary Shiia Amal in Lebonon againest Palestinian People and now Hamas. Chechan Rebels aginest Russian, Taliban and The CIA Agent Osama in Afghanistan againest National democratic movement of Afghani people, And Off course the big fat Mullas in Iran.

Go back to the World War 2 and research it with an open mind, you see a Jewish Blood Hitler is installed in Germany with the help of the International Zionist, from Rutchild bank of England to President Bush's grandfather " Prescotte Bush " who was a banker in NY.

They helped and financed Hitler for invasion of the entire Europe to stop the democratic and the genuine revolutionary movement of the people. 140 Million innocent people died, entire European Countris' Infrastructure and Economy were ruined and now who is screaming today round the clock! Why other nations are not copensated or named for Hitler's attrocity?

Those behind the seen who created the W W 2 ordered Hitler not to attack Switzarland so they can profit from it and keep their money in Swiss Bank. Every valuable things was stolen from people ended up in NY USA.

When Facism finally ended in Europe by the Russian People Sacrifice, they established their crimes in S Africa in the form of Apartied. Ironically, the Jews and specially Israeli come to assist and make a Nuclear Bomb for the FACIST APARTIED REGIME.

The main reason the Iranian Regime survives is because the the International Zionists want it to. I do not know why most Iranians do not understand that. Shah of Iran was toppled by the order of Zionists. The chractristic of this regime is is benefisial for them.

The Islamic Republic of Mullahs is: Millitaristic, they are buying military equipment. Hegemonious, they are treathening the neighbours.
Religious Fundementalist, they supress intellectuals and ethnic people. Facist, in every aspect of governing. Antidemocratic, they suppress any other Ideas. Capitalist, of a very extreme kind. Tensious, has to do with the psychology of the regime. Totalitarian, everybody felt that one. Destructive, they are ruining every element of a civilized society. Invaders, the ideologue of this regime ars actually Islamic Invaders.

I could be wrong but the facts are: The United State and Israeil will not attack Iran and that is only a game they are playing to confuse us and push the Arabs to buy more weopens. But also demonize Iranians for justification of their military machines.

The United State and Israeil will not change the Iranian Regime because Iran posesses all the above charectristics that they want.

All in all, this regime is destroying Iran viciously, there is no need for other parties to get involved the regime is vulentarily doing it for them. They will wait untill after the Iran's death so they come as vultures to finish what remains. Are Iranian opposition awaken enough to realise their status quo and put their diffrences aside and at least at this stage unite under the National Democratic Banner and claim their identity as a nation? and change the regime themselves?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 23:06 [ 4 ]

Its very interesting that idiots like mahtub think that anyone who questions israel is an anti semite, you are a traitor, its a shame you are not in Iran because then they could haul you in front of a judge and try you for the yellow bellied coward tratior that you are, and just so you know, treason is a hanging offense!

Now, I think that whenever Israel, a "nation" that has routinely killed, assisinated, and invaded its neighobrs and enemies, does not have the right to nuclear weapons.

If and when Iran develops nuclear weapons, then the only thing that will happen is that Iran will be safe from an attack from Israel.

Iranians are entitled to live in peace and harmony as well you bigot.

Comments on this page are closed.

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Nuclear installations
Iranian leaders must be clearly told that they would not be allowed nuclear weapons.

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