Nuclear Crisis With Iran: Ankara And Brazil Show The Way Out

BY SAHIN ALPAY

TODAY'S ZAMAN - The established order of the world (that is, the order defined primarily by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) supports reducing the number of nuclear weapons and the prevention of their proliferation, while at the same time recognizing all nations' right to build nuclear power plants. Iran claims that its nuclear program is aimed not at developing weapons but at peaceful purposes. There are, however, serious suspicions that it is aiming either at acquiring nuclear weapons or the capacity to do so. That is why the established world order is in search of a way to deter Iran from pursuing its uranium enrichment program.

There are mainly three ways that are being proposed: One way, considered principally by Israel, is bombing Iran's nuclear facilities. The P5+1 (permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) led by the United States favor economic sanctions to force Iran to stop advancing its nuclear program. Turkey and Brazil, on the other hand, seem to have convinced Iran to sign a deal that may deter Iran from developing the bomb. According to the deal, Iran would send 1,200 kilograms of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 120 kilograms of uranium enriched (in France and Russia) to a higher level for a research reactor that produces isotopes which can be used for medical purposes. The deal meets the conditions put forward by the US in October 2009, but Washington, believing that Tehran has gone further in the uranium enrichment process since then, does not find the deal acceptable and insists on implementing sanctions.

There are mainly two views on the deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil: One view dismisses it as an initiative enabling Iran to derail a new round of United Nations sanctions against it. The opposing view sees it as considerably reducing the risk of Iran producing a bomb, while recognizing its right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. I subscribe to the latter view, and consider the Turkish-Brazilian initiative a highly commendable effort toward reaching a negotiated solution to the nuclear crisis with Iran.

I strongly support Ankara's policy of zero problems with neighbors, irrespective of their regimes. Increasing economic interdependence with Iran is not only in line with Turkey's economic and security interests but also helps Iran's engagement with the world.

I do not disregard the suspicions that Iran may be aiming at the acquisition of nuclear weapons. I believe, however, that if it is to be deterred from doing so, it can only be achieved through a policy of engagement and dialogue with it, instead of a policy aimed at isolating it and threatening it with `regime change.'

As regards Israel, I am convinced that no amount of nuclear weapons it possesses can guarantee its security. The only way Israel can achieve lasting security is by concluding a just peace with the Palestinian people. If Iran is really after acquiring nuclear weapons, I have no doubt that the nuclear arsenal of Israel is the main reason behind it. If Israel wants to avoid nuclear proliferation in the region, it should consider getting rid of its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Copyright © 2010