Finally, a chain reaction
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Finally, a chain reaction

Oil, nationalism tinged with religious zealotry and non-proliferation are the incendiary mix that make the task of dealing with Iran?s clandestine nuclear activities so difficult.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 01:39 IST

Oil, nationalism tinged with religious zealotry and non-proliferationare the incendiary mix that make the task of dealing with Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities so difficult. Fortunately,those leading the charge — the EU and the US — have been madeaware of this by other international actors like India, Russia and China and are moving carefully, though with determination, tocorral Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency governing body’s decision to refer Iran to the UN Security Council by a vote of 27 to 3 bespeaks of the increasing suspicion around the world over Iran’s nuclear activities. In September 2005, when the last vote took place, China, Russiaand Pakistan abstained. This time, all three voted with the majority, which included India then, as well as on Saturday. Fortunately, New Delhi did not heed Left pressure to vote against the resolution because that would have found us with unsavoury regimes like Cuba, Syria and Venezuela — hardly the kind of company a putative member of the UN Security Council ought to keep.

The resolution spells out the international consensus that Iran needs to suspend enrichment, ‘reconsider’ the construction of a heavy water research reactor, ratify and implement the stringent Additional Protocol inspection regime and provide a full copy of a document relating to fabricating nuclear weapon cores. It has also bluntly told Teheran that it must “understand that there is a lack of confidence in Iran’s intentions in seeking to develop a fissile material production capability”.

At first sight this is precisely what Teheran does not want to do. It has refused to accept either the letter or spirit of the resolution, and has declared that it will move towards full-scale uranium enrichment and limit IAEA access to its nuclear facilities. However, Teheran’s initial reaction is not likely to be its final one. The negotiations around the IAEA vote have ensured that the US, which so wilfully ignored the world community’s views in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, is firmly on board the current process. As of now, the IAEA chief, Mohammed El Baradei, has said we are in a “critical phase”, but not a crisis. Whether or not we reach there depends on the choices that Teheran now makes.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 01:39 IST