Attacking Iran Would Be Counterproductive
The leading concern that is running in the headlines around the world these days is the issue of Iran developing its nuclear power. The fear is not that Iran is developing nuclear power solely for the civilian energy need of the country, as it claims. The fear is whether the regime is secretly opting to build nuclear weapons on the pretext of a "peaceful nuclear program."
Besides the question whether Iran is heading towards developing nuclear weapons, there is also fear that whether there will be a U.S. strike against Iran sooner or later, as U.S. officials have refused to rule out the "military option." As the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- France, Russia, and China -- have even resisted American proposals for economic sanctions against Iran, opting for diplomatic talks instead, the "military option" is not something that these countries would support, at least for the time being.
The U.S., with the help of its allies, could have already sanctions against the Islamic Republic if it weren't for this opposition. But the refusal of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions to Iran without looking for every bit of diplomatic way out seems to have made the U.S. isolated in considering preemptive measures against Iran.
The Bush administration demanded the imposition of economic sanctions against Iran after the Iranian regime failed to abide by the U.N. deadline of Aug. 31 to halt its uranium enrichment program. But the time limit passed without any visible change in the international policy towards Iran. At the U.N. general assembly held recently, President Bush once again accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear arms under the pretext of a peaceful nuclear power program. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his assertion, saying, "All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful, and under the watchful eyes of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors."
Underneath all these accusations and denials lies the question waiting for a concrete answer -- is Iran really trying to develop nuclear weapons? So far, there is no evidence that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered a weapons program from Iran's uranium enrichment. However, some analysts still claim that there could be some sections of the ruling class in Iran who have an interest in building a nuclear artillery. On the other side, the Iranian supreme religious and spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has allegedly issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons, according to reports.
The Bush administration has declared Iran's regime as part of the "axis of evil," and some others also claim that a nuclear Iran would be equivalent to putting nuclear weapons in the hands of "terrorists." Opponents, however, claim that Bush wants to "change the regime" in Iran, and for that he could go to the extent of militarily invasion, as he did in Iraq.
The speculation that the U.S. could invade Iran is countered by the view that the Bush administration is already overstretched by its actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and therefore could afford less to project its power in Iran. Some also say that it would be harder to pursue military action in Iran, because the country is three times the size of Iraq, with a population of about 70 million.
Iran's claim of its nuclear program being designed to generate electricity might contradict with the reality that Iran is one of the largest producers of oil in the world. Being highly rich in oil, Iran may not need to develop nuclear power as an alternative source of energy, according to some analysts.
But still, the international community opposes a U.S. military offensive in Iran. The U.S. had accused Saddam Hussein's regime of developing WMD before the invasion, but it proved to be false later on. And many argue that it could be no different with Iran, if the U.S. opted for the military option rather than a political solution.
Meanwhile, though there are some reports suggesting that Bush is determined to invade Iran on "false pretenses." Let's hope that the Bush administration looks back towards what happened in Iraq and makes a decision more according to international norms and opinions while dealing with Iran. We already have got a proof from the Iraq War that military is less effective in terms of fighting terror or reforming a nation. One could easily imagine that the fate of the Iraqi citizens would be repeated with the Iranians. So it would be humanely sane and politically bold to stick with peaceful means to tackle the Iranian nuclear crisis, rather than making another mistake of a forceful military invasion.
Besides the bitter atmosphere of distrust and confrontation, there is some positive signs for solving the issue through diplomatic negotiation. While the U.S. government had been cold-shouldering any negotiation proposals by Iran in the past, its posture seems to have loosened a little, considering President Bush's recent remarks that he has no objection to truly peaceful nuclear power use by Iran. He also hinted that "there could be the day when America and Iran can be good friends and close partners in the cause of peace." While President Ahmadinejad also expressed his willingness to negotiate, it would be a positive step if Iran fairly and openly allows its nuclear program to be scrutinized by the international inspectors, as this would also be significant to deter any military action based on the suspicion of the "hidden military threat" of Iran's nuclear development program.