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The Iranian Security Dilemma and US-European Warmongering

by Mohssen Massarrat Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006 at 1:57 PM

Preventing a potential nuclear power like Iran is conceivable if Israel simulaniously makes concessions.


The Middle East- and Energy Expert Mohssen Massarrat on the Iranian Security Dilemma and European Diplomacy serving American War Delusions

[This interview published in: Freitag 03, 1/20/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

FREITAG: The EU-3 declared the nuclear negotiations with Teheran failed. Did they have reason for that?

MOHSSEN MASSARRAT: Yes, because they failed themselves. For two years the EU-3 did not offer any compromise to deal with the opposing side and take seriously Iran’s demands for security guarantees. The negotiations had to fail some time or other since the EU-3 remained with their hard, uncompromising and politically motivated positions that are not supported by international law. Needless to say, they did in fact fail.

Q: Was it wise for the EU to let two states, France and Great Britain, negotiate that are themselves nuclear powers?

MASSARRAT: The European side should have honestly oriented itself in disarmament and détente both in the Middle East and Europe. That would have meant saying: If Iran foregoes uranium enrichment and every possibility of developing nuclear weapons, then Europe would take its own steps of disarmament and no longer ignore the Israeli potentials. Europe had the historic chance of kicking off a Euro-Asian disarmament process that would have been a good idea because it would have served a multilateral pluralist world. The strategic arsenals of European powers are trash because they don’t have any military function any more.

Q: As honorable as this view may be, isn’t it completely unrealistic?

MASSARRAT: whatever involves disarmament always seems unrealistic. However some possibilities are feasible. Preventing a potential nuclear power like Iran is conceivable if Israel simultaneously makes concessions. The EU could advance this if Israel would firstly grant security guarantees and secondly if Europe would put its own nuclear weapons up for discussion. In this way, the beginning of disarmament would be realistic.

Q: Kofi Annan speaks very moderately and seeks continued negotiations with Teheran. Should France, Germany and Great Britain sit on the other side of the table?

MASSARRAT: negotiations will only succeed if the EU gradually understands that its policy could foster intimidating American gestures threatening Iran with sanctions and even war. If the Europeans continue with their past policy, Kofi Annan’s efforts will at best postpone an intensification of the conflict without bringing about a solution.

Q: Could the UN Security Council automatically trigger an escalation dynamic leading to a military strike?

MASSARRAT: that is even planned. For one and a half years, the American tactic has been to bring the potential adversary to the diplomatic dance floor by possible military strikes and make no concessions to Teheran so all diplomacy was condemned to fail. The World public should be convinced that the West had done everything and that the West always governs reasonably whole Iran breaks international law and seeks nuclear weapons. In my opinion, the Americans masterfully orchestrate this mood.

Q: Were Europeans useful idiots in this dangerous game?

MASSARRAT: Yes, useful idiots. They feel they are real actors. That is what is sad when one hears the aggressive rhetoric of figures like Steinmeyer and Straw. It is really a tragedy that without noticing the EU has fallen to be an instrument of the Americans.

Q: Is that also a reason why the EU has now hastily resolved to bring the Iran question before the UN Security Council and announce this by its foreign ambassador Solana?

MASSARRAT: For me there are two explanations. Either the EU wants to give Am3ericans control although it is clear the Americans have no concepts in the Middle East and Iraq question. Why should a delaying tactic be followed toward Teheran without advancing the negotiations at all? The other explanation assumes that the EU already agreed internally to sanctions and as a consequence to a war of Americans against Iran. In this case, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France and Germany would be potential allies practicing a kind of psychological war preparation with their aggressive polemics. All this reminds me of the situation before the 1999 Kosovo war. Public opinion should be manipulated so that a military action against Iran seems unavoidable.

Q: Could not Teheran use the Security Council to take the offensive diplomatically?

MASSARRAT: this question could certainly be raised. I cannot understand why the Iran leadership remains defensive without setting the decisive problem – its own security dilemma and the Israeli nuclear potential – on the agenda. Instead what is said indirectly through a propaganda offensive becomes the theme – like questioning the holocaust and an anti-Israeli polemic. This process lacks all political reason and manipulates the world public to acquiesce to US needs. Why does the government in Teheran avoid making a nexus between peaceful nuclear energy and its own security risks? People have always declared that technological nuclear capabilities are largely appropriated within the possibilities granted by the nuclear test ban treaty. This position loses all meaning when the world public believes Teheran wants nuclear weapons. If the Iranian leadership would substantiate its own security situation, there could be a chance of inducing Americans and Europeans to finally speak about the structures of conflict existing in the Middle East.

If Iran resumes its nuclear research, that would not violate the nuclear test ban treaty. One should only ask why was this step taken now? Because the president is under internal pressure – the pressure of over 4000 scientists and engineers working in nuclear research and zealous about keeping their jobs. Ahmadinejad is also under the pressure of his followers. He told them they would not suffer discrimination and be told to renounce on uranium enrichment since they a right to that. The Iranian leadership is playing a power game to become a regional nuclear power. Deeds must follow words. This is logical from Ahmadinejad’s power perspective.

Q: This logic was true for president Khatami and now for president Ahmadinejad. Only Ahmadinejad now sees himself forced to act since Europeans offered nothing to Iranians that does justice to their security interests.

Q: Would Moscow’s offer to process Iranian fuel rods in Russia be a way out?

MASSARRAT: I regard that as impossible. If Iranians remain faithful to themselves and their arguments (there is also a competition in parliament and between the parliament and the government), they have a right to be independent in the long-term from every state regarding the delivery of nuclear fuel rods. If one wants to overcome dependence on one’s own fossil resources, replacing these resources with dependence on other states makes no sense. The Russian blackmailing of the Ukraine actually confirms Iran’s approach. Russia also allows itself to be instrumentalized by Bush. Bush was the first to congratulate Putin when the proposal of uranium enrichment in Russia was on the table because it was very clear that Teheran would refuse. Russia could declare at the end that it would turn to the confrontational line of the Americans if nothing were agreed. From my view, this was part of US war preparation.

Mohssen Massarrat, born in Iran, is a professor of political science at the University of Osnabruck. Active for years in the peace movement, he was a co-founder of the “Coalition for Life and Peace.” Mohssen Massarrat has written many books on international economic relations, the Middle East and peace and conflict research.

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