By Jan Oberg
There could have been a deal with Iran today – to the benefit of everybody – if the nuclear issue had been approached in a fair, principled and visionary manner from Day One.
If there will be no deal later, one of the most important possible agreements in contemporary international history will have been lost, the risk of war will increase and the Iranians will suffer. And the United States and the EU (here France and Germany) will move further down in terms of relative global power and up in terms of self-isolation.
On the day of no deal, perhaps the Five Ps + Germany should spend a moment on self-reflection: What could we have done differently?
To the trained conflict- and peace-making eye, 99% of the Western commentators have failed to point out the benefits of a deal and, instead, devoted their creativity to find all kinds of possible negative aspects, details and – of course – on how the West should demand even more. They’ve suggested “red lines” at absurdum.
The fundamental a-symmetry of this whole conflict eludes them – or is conveniently left unmentioned.
At the table sit the five largest nuclear weapons powers which have, de facto and de jure, for decades completely and systematically ignored the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT, and have repeatedly broken international law and conducted wars. They would never allow the type of inspections on their own territory that they demand of Iran. The U.S. issues threats – and plan a war – Iran has never threatened the U.S. And so on and so forth.
Absent from every nuclear discussion is Israel and other nuclear-armed countries which, in contrast to Iran, are not members of the NPT and have a record of warfare and occupation.
Imagine a world in which we had seen negotiations, for real, about reducing the possession of nuclear weapons as a quid pro quo of proliferation – exactly as stated in the NPT.
Imagine that we had required Iran to abstain from getting nuclear weapons as a quid pro quo of a promise by the nuclear “haves” that they would reduce their arsenals. Indeed, imagine that the United States which is Second to None in putting up demands on everybody “or else … and all options remain on the table” had promised the world that it would do something too to further the accepted and UN-based goal of general and complete nuclear disarmament. Imagine the recent NPT Review conference had resulted in something decent in a world order perspective. Indeed, imagine some kind of mutuality, fairness, and equivalence in the whole approach.
The approach was wrong from Day One. It was built on military and structural power, not on intellectual power.
What stands between the parties is Read More »