ISLAMABAD: The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) held a two day Bilateral Dialogue between May 8-9, 2008. The second day of the session covered Iran’s Nuclear Programme and Proliferation issues. Mr, Lukasz Kulesa, a research analyst at Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw (PISM) in his presentation on the perspective of Poland and concerns of EU on Iran’s Nuclear Programme and its Regional Dynamics. He said that it is suspected that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons in the wake of Iran-Iraq war of 1980s as the former was deserted by its allies during the course of war.
He said that since the emergence of evidence, in 2003 that Iran has concealed part of its programme in the advancements of centrifuge programme from IAEA, there has been an impasse over Iranian nuclear programme though there had been negotiations between EU and Iran to overcome the deadlock. But there has been little progress. Iran has been able to withstand diplomatic pressures and sanctions resulting from UN Security Council resolutions.
He pointed out that the main concern for US and some of its allies like Poland is regarding Iranian security and foreign policies such as Iran’s view of Israel; however some EU member states are sceptical of these concerns. He also pointed out that Russia and China too have concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear issue but have a lenient perspective. He said that it seems that there is a cold war like confrontation between US and Iran clouded with uncertainties for the future. Dr. Shireen Mazari, Director General of the ISSI, spoke on proliferation issues but in a larger framework. She highlighted that the issue of non-proliferation has altered in the post 9/11 era, especially in the US and its allies.
The result has been to move away from non-proliferation per se to the nuclear programmes of certain states and to the much hyped up issue of non-state actors; specifically terrorist groups acquiring nuclear materials. She said that nuclear weapons are difficult to manage so the question of non-state actors acquiring nuclear weapons may have such a devastating effect that the end for which they were to be used would be destroyed. So, the hype about non-state actors acquiring nuclear weapons is a strategy of US to victimize particular states, seen as untrustworthy in terms of loyalty to US and its interests. She said that the command and control structure and nuclear safety problems were not in South Asia but in the West especially US as there was this horrifying revelation in August 2007 that a US B-52 bomber flew across US carrying six nuclear armed cruise missiles, which led to a
bent spear alert- a code for an incident involving live nuclear weapons. She pointed out that the real issue in the context of non-proliferation is the discriminatory principle. This is reflected in the Indo-US nuclear deal which focuses on country specific safeguards and Nuclear Supplier Group regulations. US is altering internationally agreed parameters in this regard.
This would be having repercussions for the region. So, countries like Pakistan and Iran should suggest non-discriminatory principles to strengthen the presumption against non-proliferation. The increasingly discriminatory approach that seems to be set in motion by US also requires serious attention and a serious need to move away from. In this regard country specific accommodations will undermine the IAEA safeguards provisions as well as the NSG guidelines. She also said that adopting different approaches towards North Korea and Iran will not only undermine non-proliferation but also international security.-SANA