August 10, 2015

The History of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions (Video Made Five Years Ago)

Obama to Iran: "No Nukes For You!"

An excerpt from, "29 Leading Scientists Back Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal" by Tanya Basu, Time, August 9, 2015:
Twenty-nine of America’s leading scientists—from Nobel Prize winners to nuclear experts—co-signed a letter supporting President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal on Saturday.

“We consider that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements,” the letter said. It went on: “This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework.”
Video Title: The History of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions. Source: Global Policy Forum. Date Published: August 10, 2010. Description:
The debate over Iran's nuclear program has mounted in recent months. In addition to new UN sanctions that were passed in June, the both the United States and the European Union have passed their own, separate sanctions against Iran. Since this issue landed on the Security Council's agenda in 2006, Iran has maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but it has staunchly refused to comply with demands that it show full transparency on the nature of its program. Some observers argue that this situation has become intractable -- the more the United States demands that Iran "come clean", the more vigorously Iran will defend its right to nuclear energy. And as Iran continues to do so, the confidence the world holds in Iran's word will be eroded. In other words, amid all the strong rhetoric on both sides of this debate, it has become very difficult -- at least from a Western perspective -- to determine what Iran's true intentions are.

To clear up some of these questions, Global Policy Forum Associate Salvator Cusimano sat down with Ervand Abrahamian, Distinguished Professor of Iranian and Middle Eastern history and politics at the City University of New York, Baruch College. Dr. Abrahamian has spent years chronicling Iran's history; now, he believes that to make progress with Iran, world leaders must understand the nation's nuclear program in a historical context.

Certainly, the United States does not and should not be fully responsible for resolving this international crisis. Iran, too, has to demonstrate a willingness to seriously engage with the United States, especially since Tehran has rebuffed a number of Barack Obama's expressions of goodwill. However, the United States still can change the direction of the current debate. Dr. Abrahamian showed us that by understanding how Iranians and their government perceive their rights, their security, the United States and the United Nations, we can identify some of the steps that might be taken in the United States to constructively resolve the nuclear issue. This conclusion speaks more generally to the importance of considering a given situation in its historical context, rather than in isolation. For without understanding the past, it is often very difficult to make sense of the present.
Quotes from the video:
On the Iranian public's distrust towards the U.S. government:
"There is very little antagonism to Americans as Americans or American culture, but what you have is a deep distrust of American foreign policy. And even when you have surveys done, sort of telephone surveys from the United States, it's clear that even people who want better relations with the United States and negotiations, if you ask them 'do you trust the United States government' overwhelmingly the response is 'no, we don't trust them.' Why? Its cause historically they've had that experience. The CIA coup is basically what formulates the whole attitude." [11:00 - 11:50].

On the nuclear negotiations:
"I think actually the nuclear issue is resolvable. If the American administration went back to the position it had when this administration came in, which is they're quite willing to see Iran have a nuclear program as long as it doesn't go to the point of nuclear weaponizing, and Iranians would be able to accept that. But the problem I think has been in the last few months the U.S. has stepped back from that more reasonable position to being more intransigent, that Iran should cut back its nuclear program and stop enrichment, a position of course that the Iranian government would never accept. What is dependent on now is the U.S. actually becoming more forthcoming, and if they do that, I think the Iranians would be willing to---not just because of sanctions, just for other economic reasons---make an agreement where they will give guarantees that they are not going to go for weapon programming." [12:17 - 13:40].