An Iranian Nuclear Bluff

In his recent article “FIVE OPTIONS FOR IRAN’S NEW PRESIDENTDr Hossein Mousavian, has described one of the options being available to president Rouhani to be the following:

Withdraw from the NPT and all WMD treaties. Iran can substitute the treaties with the supreme leader’s religious fatwa banning all WMDs. In this option, the West’s policy of “only obligations and no rights” would force Iran to change its posture on WMD conventions. This move will relieve Iran of its treaty obligations, which have been used by the West to place further sanctions on Tehran.

This is an option which has been addressed before by the Iranian government. Mousavian mentions this in his article.

In all likelihood, the only time Iran is likely to take this option is if its attacked military. This is in fact one of the supporting arguments for those who are against a military attack against Iran’s nuclear installations. Attacking Iran unilaterally while negotiations are taking place could give Iran the justification to leave the NPT.

But to leave the NPT under the current circumstances while the negotiations are taking place? And more importantly while Iran’s economy is suffering under unprecedented pressure?

Very unlikely.

The Iranian regime would like to portray to the West that sanctions have not had an impact on the recent election of Rouhani. However a close look at the attacks against Khamenei’s nuclear policy (represented by Jalili) during the election debates present a different picture. The reason why Khamenei’s  nuclear policies were being challenged by half of the candidates is precisely because they have had negative consequences, with sanctions being chief among them . Rouhani referred  to the disproportionate economic price being paid for Iran’s current nuclear policy himself while campaigning:

It’s very nice that centrifuges spin, but as long as the country is functioning. If centrifuges are turning, but the country is dormant , then we don’t choose this. If the arrangement is for one factory in Natanz to work but 100 other factories close because of sanctions and shortage of primary material or they only work at 20% of their capacity, then this is unacceptable”

And Rouhani is going to bring the country’s economy to the point of collapse by following the North Korean model of leaving the NPT? One of the reasons (among many) why Iran can’t follow the North Korean model is because its economy is far more vulnerable than than that of North Korea.

Unless Iran is attacked militarily, leaving the NPT under the current circumstances sounds like a bluff. Sorry, but not buying it.

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