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Why Iran Will Continue to Say No

Tehran ‘s Nuclear Challenge [1]

By Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (for Safe Democracy)

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam describes three reasons that would explain why the international community should not be surprised that Iran continues to say no when it comes to any compromise of its rights under the NPT. First, Iran‘s grand strategic preferences accentuate radical independence, both political and economic. In the second place, Iran‘s foreign policy elites are deeply suspicious of the international community in general and the Western block organised around the United States in particular. The third reason is related to the modified strategic context in West Asia after the demise of Saddam Hussein and the invasion of Lebanon. Adib-Moghaddam writes that the international community in general and the United Nations in particular have thus created their own weakness vis-à-vis Iran and unless the latter does not emancipate itself from the dogma of a new Middle East it will continue to fail in its mission.


Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is the author of “The International Politics of the Persian Gulf: A Cultural Genealogy” (Routledge). Educated at Hamburg, American and Cambridge Universities, he teaches International Relations at Oxford University.

AS I UNDERSTAND IT THE STAKEHOLDERS IN THE NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR ENERGY PROGRAMME should not be surprised that Iran continues to say no when it comes to any compromise of its rights under the NPT.

THE FIRST REASON
First, Iran’s grand strategic preferences accentuate radical independence, both political and economic. The slogan Neither East nor West Only the Islamic Republic which was chanted by millions of demonstrators during the heydays of the Islamic revolution between 1978 and 1979 has been institutionalised as a major foreign policy precept after the inception of the Islamic Republic and continues to constitute a major foreign policy ideal guiding the country’s political elites.

Hence Iran’s abandonment of Cold War institutions such as the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and its denunciations of the Soviet Union and the United States as the greater evils and South Africa and Israel as the lesser evils in international affairs immediately after the revolution. Hence also Iran’s support for the Non-Alignment-Movement (NAM), the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and leftists governments in Latin America and elsewhere. The costs of these policies were- and continue to be accepted, even if it means that the country would be isolated.

[2]THE SECOND REASON
In the second place, Iran’s foreign policy elites are deeply suspicious of the international community in general and the Western block organised around the United States in particular. This suspicion is due to the imperial legacy that some of these countries left behind, of course (the CIA engineered coup d’