BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 26 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari of Iraq today endorsed the right of Iran to pursue the “technological and scientific capabilities” needed to create nuclear power for peaceful purposes, in the first high-level meeting between officials from the new Iraqi government and its eastern neighbor.
But Mr. Zebari’s statement, made at a news conference after a meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, appeared deliberately ambiguous and reflected the complex position of Iraq between the United States, which wants Iran to abandon efforts to enrich uranium, and Iran, which says it needs enrichment to create fuel for nuclear reactors.
The meetings in Baghdad were the first opportunity for the new government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to tackle what is sure to be one of the most divisive issues facing his government: the relationship and influence that Iran wields in Iraq, which was a bitter enemy of Iran when Saddam Hussein was in power but whose new government contains many Shiite leaders who want close ties to Tehran.
Sure, deliberately ambiguous, but we all know where this one is going. We’ve seen this movie before. And frankly, I envision a world where nearly every country is going to have nuclear energy. Not because they want to destroy each other, but because it’s the only way they’ll be able to survive. There has to be a common sense way to monitor all of Iran’s nuclear activity, and I thought that’s what Bush had proposed several months ago anyway.
However, this step by Iraq definitely goes one step further and speaks to a debate that we’re going to have to have over nuclear energy, and soon. Countries realize that without nuclear energy, they’re simply not going to be competitive in the next century, and it’s going to become increasingly more and more difficult for the United States to deny a country access to cheap and clean energy when we’re fast approaching the the peak oil point.
And yet we’re asking Iran to drop all research in exchange for enhanced incentives. Now, I don’t honestly know what the incentives are, but if you were Iran, would you drop your research for what’s behind door number 3? The United States and Britain aren’t really fooling anybody. The whole world knows that the Iraq war has seriously hobbled their credibility and that Iran could very quickly alter both countries economic situation if they turn off the oil tap.