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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Embargo starts pressuring Iran

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Probably the most heated debate at the World Policy Conference that convened this year in Cannes was on the Middle East. The panel I was moderating and in which I spoke could not come to an end at the designated time and continued at dinner also.

When the panelists were American diplomats, France’s most experienced Iran experts, Israeli parliamentarians and people loaded with intelligence information, the picture is quite different. In fact, the more I listened, the more I was afraid.

I could get the smell of a war about to erupt right next to us.

Iran, right now, is very close to building a nuclear bomb; however, it has not made a resolution yet. This decision will be made by religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

When that decision is taken, Iran will be able to produce the bomb in about six months. All intelligence sources point to next year as the most crucial period.

The embargo against them irritates Iran.
 
According to the latest figures, as a result of the restriction introduced to the oil flow, the country’s monthly loss has reached $3 billion. The market is extremely irritated. If it continues at this tempo, domestic uneasiness will further increase.

The dangerous side of the equation is that the embargo does not deter Iran; it drives them into a corner. In other words, even if they do not have an intention of making the bomb, after this much pressure Tehran will be left with no other choice and will push the button for bomb production.

Aim is to provide own security
Western sources state that behind Iran’s wish to build a nuclear bomb is not the wish to destroy Israel because that would mean destroying all Palestinians and other Arab countries in the region or inflict huge damages on them.

Well, why then does Iran want nuclear weapons?

1- It wants to have a protective umbrella against the U.S. and Israel, like North Korea.

2- In order to protect the Shiite world against giant Sunni countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, to increase deterrence and to balance Israel’s nuclear power.

3- To acquire the prestige brought by the fact that another Muslim country besides Pakistan has a nuclear bomb.

You already know that Iran rejects all of these claims. It says it is not after the bomb and that its only aim is to have nuclear energy.

However, it cannot convince anybody. Because it cannot convince anyone, the smells of war are increasing. We are entering a very dangerous process.

The worst part is that, according to the calculations of the U.S. intelligence organizations and experts, no matter how much Israel or the U.S. hit these nuclear establishments from the air, none of them would entirely stop Iran – if it has an intention of building the bomb – from implementing this program.

Only a delay of two to four years is provided; that’s all. In other words, when compared to the huge damages a war brings, its advantage is not quite significant.

The situation is this complicated.

Depending on Russia and US
Everything turns full circle to a Russia-United States negotiation. If the two capitals agree on a global formula also including the Palestinian issue and assurances are given to Iran for its safety, then the problem may be solved. Otherwise, this way or another, disaster will knock at the door of the region.

We will be paying this bill, though.

December/12/2012

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