Dimitris Rapidis

The debate over Iran’s nuclear weapon is something policymakers like to deal with. Until now what we have seen has to do with vast sanctions and the implementation of sea embargo by the US. But what if we try see things from another prism?

Israel and the the United States are most concenred in case Iran reaches the level to use its breakthrough capability to create a nuclear weapon rather than keep it for civilian purposes. Both do not take into account that as it is happening worldwide, the Iranian regime might want to satifsy the domestic political needs by building a belligerent rhetoric and assuring hard-liners that they can enjoy all the benefits of having a bomb. Yet in real policy, Iran is possibly not preparing its nuclear weaponry in order to strike Israel, but instead to safeguard and strengthen its defensive mechanism and regard itself as a nuclear state, just like Japan, US, Pakistan, India, and Israel.

In other words, what I want to say is that Iran is consistently referred as rogue state by Western media and this notion is so deeply-rooted that reversing Iran’s image in the non-Mulsim world is something hard to think. According to this, there are three major facts for further consideration:

1. In 1991, the historical rivals India and Pakistan signed a treaty agreeing not to target each other’s nuclear facilities. Since then even in the face of high tensions and risky provocations, the two countries have kept peace. In this respect, even if Iran gets the bomb it will be for deterrence against Israel and more stability in the Middle East and not for striking Israel. A possible strike would stir up a a devastating American and Israeli response that would destroy everything in Iran.

2. Coping with the crisis in Middle East, it is Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly -which has been proved remarkably durable for the past four decades- that has long fueled instability in the region. It is Israel’s nuclear arsenal that has contributed most to the current crisis, as his proven ability to strike potential nuclear rivals with impunity has been enemies desperately willing to develop a deterrence mechanism. Leaving Iran develop its nuclear weaponry would be better for regional stability in Middle East as balance of military power would be restored.

3. Interference in Iran’s domestic issues (i.e. corrupted elections, restrained democratic freedoms) is another fact pressing Tehran to secure its own preservation. Although it is impossible to be certain of Iran’s intentions, communication lines have to remain open and current sanctions can be dropped as they primarily harm the Iranian citizens and not the regime leadership.

And one recommendation: The European Union needs to alter its stance and stop following what the US is proposing. EU and US are strong and traditional allies, but this does not mean that there is always a mutual perpsective. If EU wants to strengthen its diplomatic position and geopolitical power, it has to be more result-oriented, discussive and transformative in its foreign policy.

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