January 10, 2007


Iran takes another look at nuclear treaty (Kimia Sanati , 1/11/07, Asia Times)

"The voice of reason coming from the opposition, especially in the light of the considerable success of reformists in recent elections, is beginning to become more audible as the crisis is deepening," an observer in Tehran said, asking not to be named. "Ordinary people, already having to shoulder the burden of ever rising prices and unemployment well above 10%, are also wearied by what at first sounded only too easy if they backed their statesmen.

"Iranians are often shown in the world media chanting, 'Nuclear energy is our unquestionable right.' But doubts seem to be surfacing about exercising the right at a cost that may prove too high for the nation, as it seems to be the case now," he said.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), a major reformist party, issued a statement this week calling on the system to open up the sphere for public discussion and to let the people be informed of the depth and scope of the costs and benefits of gaining nuclear technology.

Protesting against the "unfair and hegemonistic" approach of the United States and other big powers and criticizing the nuclear policies of the Ahmadinejad government, the IIPF is demanding a return to the policies followed by the former nuclear negotiating team under the reformist government.

"Iranians have other unquestionable rights that cannot be sacrificed to 'one unquestionable right'," the statement released by the IIPF says.

A statement by a group of prominent intellectuals, collectively known as the "Nationalist-Religious", voiced similar concern. "Adherence to democracy and respect for human rights is a precondition to having our right to possess nuclear energy realized," the signatories said, adding that the nation also had a right to welfare, to balanced development, and not to want war.

The IIPF has further called for holding talks with "all UN Security Council members, especially the US", and refraining from policies that could intensify the crisis. But the call to negotiate with the US has greatly angered the ruling hardliners and conservatives.

A hardline member of Parliament, Mehdi Kouchakzadeh, reacted to the statement by claiming the IIPF wanted to instill fear into the hearts of the people. "They want to get it into people's minds that they should surrender to the irrational demands of the UN Security Council or face military action," he was quoted by the Alef portal as saying.

Ahmadinejad had himself earlier claimed that one of the aims of the resolution was providing an opportunity for "certain people domestically to scare the nation and create disunion", to which a former reformist parliamentarian, Mohammad Kianoushrad, reacted by saying, "The government better try to reduce the costs imposed [on the nation] instead of tagging labels on others."

The electorate is scared of Mahmoud, not the UN.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2007 8:10 AM
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