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Diplomacy not threats, to defuse nuclear crisis

Fri, June 08, 2018 13:18

By the Gazette Editorial Board

At a time when the world community is hoping that the US-North Korean Summit will put an end to the Korean nuclear dispute, the Iranian nuclear file seems to be gearing up to a possible military conflict.

After President Trump decided to walk out of the nuclear deal signed by six world powers with Iran in 2015, the Tehran regime threatened to resume uranium enrichment in response to the unilateral US move and Israel's attempt to rally the rest of the world against Tehran.

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a tour of Germany, France and Britain to convince them to join the US in withdrawing from the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Israel's aim is, not only to have sanctions re-imposed on Tehran to force it to relinquish its nuclear ambitions and suspend its ballistic missile programme, but also to end Iran’s presence in Syria which it claims, threatens the very existence of Israel.

The European powers seem to be having a hard time trying to preserve the nuclear deal so as to protect their economic interests with Tehran, while at the same time proving they are not weak affiliates of Washington. They, especially France, are doing their best
to convince Tehran to abide by the 2015 deal and the Vienna nuclear accord, and not to develop its uranium enrichment capacity.

On Wednesday, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Tehran against increasing its uranium enrichment capacity and said that Iran's declaration was sailing close to the “red line”.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said he had ordered an increase in the uranium enrichment capacity if the nuclear agreement collapsed.

Iran also informed the UN nuclear watchdog of “tentative” plans to produce the feedstock for centrifuges, which are the machines that enrich uranium.

Though this move is still within limits of the Vienna deal, the European powers, especially France, consider it to be a provocative step that puts the entire nuclear deal at risk and could force Europe to follow the US in pulling out of the deal and re-imposing sanctions.

Le Drian made his statement just one day after Netanyahu's visit to Paris during which he urged France to turn its attention to tackling Iran's "regional aggression", saying he no longer needed to convince Paris to quit the deal as economic pressure would kill it anyway.

Israel is not the only country to adopt a hostile stance against Tehran and to fear its growing regional proxy action against its neighbours. Many countries in the Gulf are concerned about Iran’s proxy armed groups that it continues to use to trigger disputes in various Arab countries. So, several countries would welcome any move to contain or even dismantle the Iranian nuclear project.

Now, the question is: Will the policy of fuelling enmity against Iran force the Mullah rule in Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions and political designs in the region? Why don't the powers in the region and the rest of the world follow the example of South Korea and resort to diplomacy to settle the dilemma, instead of driving the Middle East region into needless military conflict or a nuclear arms race?