Ahram Online, Elizabeth Iskander , Tuesday 16 Oct 2012
While a war with Iran would be disastrous, it is also naive to keep relying on the same old ‘carrot and/or stick’ diplomacy to pressure Iran to concede the right to continue its nuclear programme. For Iran, it is not only a case of ‘will not’ but also of ‘cannot’ compromise. Its programme is not only about acquiring a nuclear capability, regardless of whether that is for peaceful or military purposes. Holding onto the programme and taking it forward to success is rooted in the Iranian national project.
The programme, and its success or failure, have come to represent another battle between the ‘just’ and the ‘unjust’, which is a dynamic that was manifested in the 1979 Islamic revolution and in the speech of the Iranian government ever since. Iran considers itself a revolutionary state, pioneering a vision at odds with the powers that dominate the international political system.
As such, Tehran expects to face opposition to its revolutionary system and ideas. Chief among these enduring enemies, as we know, are America and Israel. The opposition of America and Israel to Iran’s nuclear programme simply confirms Iran’s expectations and sets up the dispute as a confirmation of Iran’s belief in its role of defending the marginalized (mostaz’ afin) against the ‘arrogant forces’ (mostakberin). Consequently, threats reinforce the Iranian government’s worldview, while appeasement is seized on as weakness, which for Iran is but further evidence of the success and ‘rightness’ of that same worldview.