Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Iran Nuclear Issue: Draft

The Iran Nuclear Issue:

Chander tells me that he expected me to write a blog on this issue. Its a complex one indeed. Was India right in voting for the resolution to move to the Security Council, the issue of Iran enriching Uranium for power needs? First Glance, my opinion was No, certainly not. From all earlier reports, India always indicated that they were keen on taking a stance that they supported Iran's right to use Nuclear Energy for peaceful purposes, for it was a signatory to the NPT and as long as Iran adhered to the NPT norms, there was no problem at all and all issues were to be handled under the aegis of the IAEA. Yet, India voted in direct contravention to this pre-supposed position that she was supposed to take. Why did India take this position suddenly?

The Left, particularly CPM Gen Sec Prakash Karat was scathing on the government's decision. So was the Hindu's editorial. The basic funda was that India did this as a quid pro quo to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal that was yet to be ratified by the US Congress. Ergo, the statement by Manmohan Singh that it was difficult to go ahead with the Indo-Pak-Iran Gas Deal because it was difficult for financial backers to underwrite such a project. The Left feels that this position of India is tantamount to bending towards imperialism in a shameful manner and a betrayal of Non-Alignment, Third World Solidarity and inclining toward the diktats of the unipolar hegemon, the US.

Editorials of papers who do not regard the presence of imperialism any more tried to give their own spin to the entire issue. They called this a "maturing" of India's foreign policy in consonance with India trying to find a place among the comity of developed nations. The Indian Express, as has been its wont these days, was increasingly harsh on the Left's position. Different Editorials on Karat's essay in the People's Democracy, the Left position on Iran and Iran's internal polity, opinion pieces and reports of how Iran has noted the Left's displeasure and playing to this internal dynamics within India's political alignments, were all part of the Indian Express's take on the issue.

The Hindu on its part published a long Editorial criticizing the Indian Government's policy, followed up by a front page publication of a purported report that Iran was going to cut off the Gas deal with India, which later on was proved to be not the case. Even Sri Lanka, Pakistan and other Third World countries had abstained on this issue, and there was no reason why India couldnt' have abstained themselves. The only country that voted against this resolution was the exceedingly vocal and anti-imperialist regime of Venezuela (which unfortunately was termed "maverick" by bourgeois papers such as the Indian Express).

My take on this issue is a convoluted one. While I agree that the gameplan of the USA is right on the same track that was followed against Iraq not long ago, which resulted in the invasion of Iraq on the flimsiest of reasons, and I also agree that there indeed exists US imperialism in this unipolar hegemonic world, I also suspect the intentions of the Islamic government of Iran. This theocratic regime in its inception was a commeupance of a wide ranging progressive movement led by the Left in Iran, but later being scuttled and crushed by the theocrats, who later established an Islamic regime in this country in the early 1980s. Though this Islamic regime definitely had an anti-imperialist character, it never pursued a largely progressive agenda of governance in the country. The Left disagrees with the type of governance that is prevalent in Iran, but is sensitive to the cause of anti-imperialism and that explains its opinion on India's positioning on this issue.

As regards the other political actors in India, the BJP was not overly critical (it was expected, as largely, the BJP led NDA government was pro-American and pro-unipolar during the NDA rule), while the Congress still keeps on saying that there was no barter of interests between the US and India and what was done by India was probably good for Iran. The Congress logic however sounds very hollow though.

What concerns me more is not India's position on Iran's nuclear energy stance, but the proposed Gas deal. The Gas deal was supposed to make fuel available for travel, making it cheaper and more viable and was to link up Iran, India and Pakistan in a strategic partnership that could have stretched down to China. It however appears that India's adverse positioning has nearly jeopardised this deal. Indian Express however said that there were other alternatives for sourcing Natural Gas, yet, it didn't elaborate further.

Today, in JNU, we have a talk on this by Aijaz Ahmed, Political Scientist and Prabhat Patnaik, Economist on this issue. Both are Marxist theorists who liken the current phase of globalization to neo-liberalism and imperialism.

Prof Ahmad has written yet another incisive piece on the Iran issue in the latest issue of the Frontline. I intend to update the blog with further details from the Talk scheduled for today


Tim said...
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Frankthetrekker said...
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