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EXCLUSIVE

Nuclear Iran: War of Words?

 

America changes tactic to dowse Iran’s nuclear lust
SAURABH KUMAR SHAHI | Issue Dated: February 1, 2009
Tags : Serious | flashpoint | West Asia | Palestinian | Territories | Iraq | United States | threatened | conflict | allegations | secretly | planning | chieve | nuclear | strike | power | bitter | experience | Iranian | revolution | regime | National Security Archive | Washington DC | Shah | Iran | West Asia | Mohammad Reza Pahlavi | nuclear | energy | potential | national | rights | weapons | confidential | documents | former | Secretary of State | Henry Kissinger | negotiations | downplaying | proliferation | commercial | transaction | presidents | Ford | Carter | bomb | Office | Assistant Secretary of Defence | International Security Affairs | appeasing |
 
Nuclear Iran: War of Words? The most serious flashpoint in West Asia in the last few years – Occupied Palestinian Territories and Iraq notwithstanding – has been Iran. Its war of words with United States has always threatened to spill over as a full-fledged conflict. The latter’s allegations that Iran is secretly planning to achieve nuclear strike power has made matters worse. America’s bitter experience during the Iranian revolution of 1979 has always hung over, and affected, its ability to have any serious discussion with the Iranian regime.

However, recently declassified document by National Security Archive of Washington DC has revealed some. During the 1970s, the Shah of Iran and US’s blue-eyed boy in West Asia, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, argued, like the present Iranian regime, for a nuclear energy potential on the base of national “rights”, while the US bothered about Iran’s nuclear weapons potential. However, unlike today, the US was willing to negotiate with the then regime of king of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and threats of bombing Iran to Stone Age were never uttered, not even in confidential documents. The papers also nail the lie of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who led the US negotiations in 1974-1976, downplaying the task of proliferation throughout the nuclear discussions with Shah. In a 2005 interview, he reportedly said: “I don't think the issue of proliferation came up. They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction.”

Well, the documents reveal that Americans treated the accord as anything but a “commercial transaction”. They show two US presidents, Ford and Carter, expressed apprehensions over proliferation and the Shah's probable craving to put up a nuclear bomb. They wanted to lure him away by promising him a deal to sell nuclear reactors. The fear has clearly been underlined in a memo sent by Office of Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs to the then Secretary of Defence, which pointed out that if the Shah's tyranny buckled and Iran became wobbly, “domestic dissidents or foreign terrorists might easily be able to seize any special nuclear material stored in Iran for use in bombs”. Moreover, “an aggressive successor to the Shah might consider nuclear weapons the final item needed to establish Iran's complete military dominance of the region”. So, the question arises: if reservations were so profound, why did US allow the Shah to carry on with the programme? Intimidation signs, if there were any, fail to reflect in the official documents. While the Shah had overtly disavowed a nuclear weapons potential, the Iranians affirmed that they had the "right" to a full nuclear fuel cycle, including reprocessing of spent fuel – quiet similar to what Iran says today. While the current American regime’s position on non-proliferation has been similar, its attitude and the way to deal with Iran have changed completely. Threats and intimidation are very well part of current negotiations. So why was America appeasing the Shah?
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017