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Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Assoc. Prof. MUSTAFA KIBAROGLU International Relations Department Bilkent University Ankara - Turkey 02 November.

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Presentation on theme: "Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Assoc. Prof. MUSTAFA KIBAROGLU International Relations Department Bilkent University Ankara - Turkey 02 November."— Presentation transcript:

1 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Assoc. Prof. MUSTAFA KIBAROGLU International Relations Department Bilkent University Ankara - Turkey 02 November 2006 NATO School Oberammergau – Germany

2 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 2 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Background The Puzzle Actors in the Puzzle Iran United States European Union RussiaIsraelIAEA An Emerging Crisis? Actors’ perspectives in the crisis Problems Prospects

3 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 3 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Background Iran is acquainted with nuclear technology in the mid 1950s after the “atoms for peace” initiative European countries like Germany and France, in the first place, as well as the United States have encouraged Iran in the 1960s and 70s to embark upon a large scale nuclear technology transfer With the influx of huge revenues due to oil exports Iran set an ambitious goal of 20,000 MWe nuclear energy capacity to be operational by mid 1990s Islamic revolution in 1979 and the war with Iraq in the 1980s halted the construction of facilities

4 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 4 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Background (cont’d) Iran and Russia signed an Agreement in 1995 for cooperation in the nuclear field including the construction of two 1,000 MWe LWR in Bushehr 30 Doctoral and Masters students are sent to Russian institutes every year. To date, some 250 Iranians received their Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Nuclear Physics from Russia Iran developed (both through technology transfer and indigenously) a complete nuclear fuel cycle including uranium milling, conversion, enrichment and reactor fuel production facilities as well as plutonium reprocessing at laboratory scale

5 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 5 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? The Puzzle Iran is a State Party to the NPT and it has the right to develop these capabilities, indigenously or by way of transfers, provided that they are not intended to be diverted from peaceful to military purposes Iran’s intentions are not clear due to the nature of the policies followed by the clerics who administer the country since the Islamic revolution Yet, some Iranians claim to have “the capability to detonate a nuclear device, but not the political decision at the moment” and add by saying that “[they] want to be admitted to the Nuclear Club”

6 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 6 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle The US sees Iran’s capability as a threat and wants Iran to permanently halt uranium enrichment The EU agreed with the US on that, but disagreed on the ways and means of dealing with Iran Russia disagreed with the requests of both the US and the EU, and supported Iran’s rights under the NPT Israel does not rule out military attack on facilities The IAEA cannot verify allegations of Iran’s clandestine work on nuclear weapons design

7 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 7 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: Iran Iranian leaders say that “[they] will never agree to a permanent cessation of enrichment” on the grounds of their Article IV rights under the NPT They also say “[they] will end cooperation with the IAEA if sanctions are imposed on Iran”. Implicit in their statements is that Iran may withdraw from the NPT Iran tries to mount pressure on the US by getting the support of Muslim countries, Arab populations, the Non-Aligned Movement countries, and also the moderate Europeans who emphasize “legitimacy”

8 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 8 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: Iran (cont’d) Anti-Americanism and Anti-Israel feelings play into the hands of Iran to get worldwide support NAM countries and Islamic states don’t want Iran to give in to the US pressures so as not to set a bad precedent for “selective (mis)treatement”. They also see Iran as a potential “nuclear supplier state” who can sell them technologies that are denied to them by the US and the Europeans Iran signed the Additional Protocol and suspended uranium enrichment to show its “good intentions”

9 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 9 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: USA Iran constitutes a potential threat to US interests in the Gulf region and a direct threat to Israel The US pursues “stick only” policy toward Iran and and does not discount possibility of military action The US has limited economic and diplomatic leverages and faces difficulties dealing with Iran Iran is different than Iraq by all accounts, with its four times bigger territory, powerful armed forces and 70 million population who support the nuclear (weapons) program, including those in opposition

10 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 10 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: EU Europeans encouraged Iran to invest in nuclear energy and provided education and training to Iranian students and scientists in 1960s and 70s They ceased cooperation with Iran in the 1980s under the influence of the US, but resumed in the second half of 1990s by signing trade contracts There are deep divergences of views between the US and the EU on the ways and means of dealing with international security problems EU countries prefer economic and diplomatic incentives over coercive policies or use of force

11 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 11 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: Russia Russia cut a deal with Iran when it needed hard currency to keep up its nuclear industry even though the “Nunn-Lugar” initiative poured billions of US dollars to Russia, but also raised sensitivities Russia’s cooperation in the context of “cooperative threat reduction” initiatives is essential for the US, and thus Russia cannot be pressurized beyond a certain limit to stop its cooperation with Iran With the nuclear deal, Russia gained leverage in its relations with Iran to control its ambitions to export revolution to Muslim Central Asia republics

12 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 12 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: Israel Iran is seen by Israel as a credible threat to its survival as a sovereign state in the territories where it is now It is essential for Israel that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons and their delivery capability Carrying out a limited military strike to selected Iranian facilities is among the options for Israel Apparently, Israel has less concerns with the consequences of a military strike than the US, and the Israeli population is less divided on this issue

13 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 13 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: IAEA Established in 1957 to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy among less developed countries Its Statute did not perfectly envisage the task of “timely detection of conversion of significant quantities of fissile material from peaceful to military purposes” as required by NPT later on IAEA has no enforcement capability and must be impartial and objective in its dealings with states The composition of the Board of Governors sometimes makes it difficult to reach consensus decisions

14 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 14 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors in the Puzzle: IAEA (cont’d) IAEA is in a much better shape since the initiation of “Program 93+2” which resulted in strengthened safeguards document, namely Additional Portocol IAEA Director General’s initiative in early 2003 to set a deadline (Oct. 31, 2003) for Iran to sign the Additional Protocol was an important step forward The Agency does neither want to become leverage in US policy to pressurize Iran, nor to serve Iran’s purpose to come clean while much is still unknown Both the US and Iran complain: Good sign, indeed

15 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 15 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? An Emerging Crisis? Iran proposed “objective guarantees” including “permament placement of IAEA inspectors and tamper-proof surveillance machines in the nuclear facilities” in return for which it requests “firm guarantees” from the EU Iran wants to avoid military strike to its facilities so as not to lose prestige, and also not to miss commercial opportunities as a potential supplier Iran threatens with “using everything in [its] capability to damage US interest from Afghanistan to Lebanon, and from Gulf to the Mediterranean” if attacked militarily by the US and/or Israel

16 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 16 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors’ perspectives in the crisis: USA There are 125,000 US troops in Iraq who may be targeted by Iran in retaliation to US military strike Intelligence failures in Iraq increased scepticism and decreased support among the Americans US intelligence services may not have accurate information about all of Iran’s nuclear facilities some of which are built around population centers Military strike to selected facilities may result in insignificant damage to Iran’s nuclear program but may cause significant collateral damage

17 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 17 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors’ perspectives in the crisis: EU The EU lacks a full-fledged foreign and security policy, and a viable security and defense identity The European Constitutional Treaty has no clause on “use of force” The EU does not see Iran as a clear threat, as it doesn’t believe Iran to have neither the capability nor the intention to cause damage to its interests The young and vibrant population of Iran and its export of oil and gas to Europe, indeed, makes the EU dependent on Iran, rather than vice versa

18 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 18 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors’ perspectives in the crisis: Russia After the US military presence in Uzbekistan and Georgia, Russia is concerned with further US penetration into the Caucasus and Central Asia, and thus builds partnership with Iran in the region Russia may veto any resolution that may be brought to the UNSC, which may suggest tough sanctions to Iran due to its work on enrichment Supporting Article IV rights of the members of the NPT is deemed important for Russia, who wants the Bushehr nuclear power plant to serve as a showcase for its future nuclear exports

19 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 19 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors’ perspectives in the crisis: Israel Israel may not be convinced to believe that “if Iran becomes a nuclear–weapons-capable state, there will be parity between Israel and Iran that may help defuse the tension in the region” Iran’s nuclearization may trigger other countries in the region, most of them being hostile to Israel There can be no guarantee that Iran will never use its nuclear weapons against Israel in the future For Israel, the cost of “doing nothing” may turn out to be far greater than carrying out a limited military strike against Iran’s selected facilities

20 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 20 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Actors’ perspectives in the crisis: IAEA It is essential and vital for the IAEA that Iran accepts inspections in all nuclear facilities as well as other sensitive sites and facilities that may be potentially related to nuclear weapons production If Iran creates frictions in its cooperation with the Agency or withdraws from the NPT, there may be no way to know about the status of the work done in the facilities related to its nuclear program The IAEA wouldn’t like Iran to become a “pariah state” by closing its doors to the world

21 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 21 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Problems Unsucessful military strike may consolidate Iran’s determination to develop nuclear weapons, may mobilize support from around the world Even a succesful strike may only retard for several years. With its existing indigenous technological and scientific capabilities, Iran may recover soon and elevate itself to a “nuclear-weapons-capable state” or a “de facto nuclear-weapons state” by withdrawing from NPT The divide between the US and the EU may be deepened, and anti-Americanism that fuels, among others, terrorist attacks against the US may rise

22 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 22 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Prospects Iran’s proposal to provide “objective guarantees” may serve as a basis that can be expanded with inclusion of unfettered access and inspections at any location as if Additional Protocol was in force In return for economic incentives, such as normalization of trade relations, as well as improved diplomatic relations within the context of a regional security arrangement, Iran may be allowed to enrich uranium in a MNC only for producing the amount of fuel necessary for its nuclear reactors

23 02 November 2006 Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kibaroglu 23 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? The Way Out All in all, the ultimate goal should be to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone, and eventually, a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, no matter how unrealistic it may seem under the present circumstances All in all, the ultimate goal should be to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone, and eventually, a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, no matter how unrealistic it may seem under the present circumstances

24 Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: An Emerging Crisis? Assoc. Prof. MUSTAFA KIBAROGLU International Relations Department Bilkent University Ankara - Turkey 02 November 2006 NATO School Oberammergau – Germany


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