So the so-called “Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear programme” will be held once more, Leading to more Nuclear dictatorship.
Good! It is necessary for people to talk and find solutions to the problems created by their own foolishness. To put it in a nutshell, the West is seeking out a guarantee that Iran does not develop dangerous weapons that the West cannot control. For a long time, Iran has sworn that her nuclear programme is a civil one and wants her word to be believed; except that she has tested some missiles, Sejjil, in September 2013. For some decades now, a range of international sanctions has taken Iran by the throat. The latest international embargo on banking transactions has made it clear to the Islamic Republic: in order to survive, it must put on an acceptable face to the outside world. Over and done with are the aggressive soliloquies of Ahmadinejâd and his look of has-been revolutionary. The new jester in Tehran, President Rouhani smiles cheerfully and has an air of a dashing and pampered ayatollah. In the mid-October negotiations in Geneva, all participants put on a show of “feel good”. The Islamic Republic reheated once more its packet soup, ASH GHALAMKAR, and served it this time beaming and jolly. The EU had finally found an occupation with media exposure for Mrs Ashton; Americans were there to regain the credit they have lost in the Middle East. On the side, the Russians and the Chinese kept to themselves, observing. The former sell nuclear facilities to Iran, while the latter barter their products that savvy countries have banned for import, against Iranian oil.
The Swiss Factor
Geneva again saw itself as an international host and the master of ceremonies. It was difficult to believe that the little Swiss, poor in natural resources, would have discussed with Iran, 40 times their size and an oil-producing country, the reasons for the abandonment of nuclear power stations in their Confederation; it would have been a lack of etiquette. Iranians, gracious, did not want to embarrass their Swiss host by senseless questions, such as why does the Iranian buy only 0.0000359766 Swiss francs with one rial (or pay 123,216 rials for a soda on a terrace in Geneva)? Or why have the Swiss not executed a single prisoner since 1942?
The West: Desperate
Let’s move on. On 7-8 November, another appointment in Geneva between Iran and the P5 +1 group was kept. However, despite all the cheery babble by high-level ministers rushed to Geneva, the negotiations ended abruptly. Was there something more on the table that displeased the negotiators? Did Syria’s issue loom in the background? The negotiations are to be held once more later in November. Perhaps, all options will still be on the table for all parties. Perhaps not. There is no real sign of change in Tehran, except what the West wants to see with rosy glasses.
The Islamic Republic is losing in its venomous politics in the Middle East: Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, etc… Domestically, the economy is getting worse and worse, the racketeers and other profiteers drive luxury SUVs in Tehran while Mr and Mrs Everybody, average citizens, hardly, if ever, finish the month with a penny left. The population grumbles, and the Iranians yearn less and less to chant: “Atomic energy is our absolute right”. Today, the Iranians need hope for a better life. To maintain the sacred agreement and soothe people, the Islamic Republic needs money fast. Paris was worth a Mass for the future Henry IV of France; a few letters of credit might be worth the presence of nuclear inspectors in Iran. The Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, will decide in favour of the lesser evil for him and his loyal minions, the Bassidjis and the Pasdaran.
To accredit the seriousness of his charm undertakings in Geneva, the Islamic Republic made some small cosmetic retouches of opening or change, in Tehran. It was even suggested that Khamenei did not agree with the slogan “Death to America”. Too big a lie to be even half believed, the Islamic Republic backpedalled. However, the waves of censorship continue in the country and if some disgruntled citizens were released from jail, others have taken their place since.
The Nuclear Dictatorship
The babble of “all the options on the table” is just a wraith and does not alter three facts:
- Iran’s Velayat-e Faqih is a sneaky but so well-oiled dictatorship.
- Some 15 to 17 nuclear facilities are present in Iran; we could haggle for a long time to know if they produce electricity for the local orphanages, or if they enrich uranium for agricultural or medical purposes(!) or if some ounces of uranium are used for a warhead.
- The Iranians’ misplaced pride, Ta’assob, leads them to focus on an imaginary world, filled with enemies, demons and angel rescuers, from where it is harder and harder to escape, and get back to a realistic world. Emotions in politics are bad advisors.
Since it started, the Iranian nuclear programme is an assurance for the survival of the Islamic Republic. When the story came to light, the Islamic Republic built a national cause round it, aided by the blunders and myopia of the West, and also the Ta’assob, the misplaced nationalist pride of Iranians. Censorship and propaganda of the Islamic Republic have made the nuclear miracle a solution for the country’s ills. “Nuclear energy is our absolute right!” was a favourite chant for Iranians inside and outside the country. Today, the heart is not there anymore. What is needed is a descent life, not pieces of yellow-cake going around.
No! Nuclear energy is NOT our absolute right. The absolute right of every citizen is to be able to grow up in her/his country, trust her/his future, make a living and to die in peace. The absolute right of every Iranian is to live without fear of capricious decisions by despots and be protected by the government. He/she should not be eliminated by the hezbollahi villains in Tabriz, Sanandaj, Abadan, Zahedan, the very same scoundrels who killed in Vienna, Coppet, Geneva, Paris, London, Berlin…with complete impunity thanks to the complicity of the European governments.
We Iranians are practising denial of reality; we love the weirdest of conspiracy theories. We avoid like the plague positive dialogue among ourselves. Not to lose face, we conclude that what happens in our country is the fault of others; our political regimes are imposed by the great world powers for the organised theft of our country, its oil and its various wealth; nuclear energy will frighten our enemies, and, swiftly, we will be feared and respected…and the litany goes on and on.
A strong country is one in which its free inhabitants live in peace without fear of tomorrow.
Those who cry out that nuclear energy is our absolute right want to ignore some questions on the nuclear issue.
Do we need nuclear power plants in Iran? Certainly yes is the official answer of the Islamic Republic, for the day when we have no more fossil fuel to produce electricity. To this question, friends and enemies of the Islamic Republic say in unison: “The British and Americans have nuclear energy – why not us?” Envy, emulation, TCHESHM-HAMTCHEMI, often replace healthy pragmatism in Iran.
I do not care that Great Britain and the USA have “nuclear energy”. Why not envy and emulate their universities, libraries, their concerts, and especially the freedom and confidence of their citizens? And what if, in today’s Iran, we concerned ourselves on the colossal losses of energy in the electricity network (30-40%), and the indecent waste by the users? Moreover, when there will be more gas or oil to sell, with what revenue will we pay the maintenance of nuclear facilities?
Iran is located on a seismic fault. In 2013 alone, three earthquakes rocked Iran, and we said nothing about Bam in 2003. According to the CNRS, in Iran, “where the habitat is not suitable to potential earthquakes, and where earthquakes cause the deaths of an average of 5,000 people per year, new studies on earthquake resistance standards would be required.”
Instead of thinking of earthquake resistance standards, we build nuclear facilities. In less than a hundred kilometres from Boucher and his plant, the earthquake was 6.3 on the Richter scale in April 2013. Japan, an industrialised country, organised and disciplined, it was thought, to be the country best prepared for a nuclear disaster, still faces the consequences of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The outcomes are appalling in terms of human lives and financial costs. Do we have a credible scenario facing a civil nuclear disaster in Iran? Do we have the resources, human or financial, for our nuclear megalomania? It frightens our neighbouring countries and rightly so. The impact of a nuclear disaster does not stop at the border. In 2006, during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the Iranian media did not say a word; it was taboo in the land of the ayatollahs. One wonders if the defenders of our absolute right to nuclear would know how to find Chernobyl, Sellafield or Three Mile Island on a map of the world.
Even if we escaped a nuclear disaster, what do we do with waste that will accumulate over the years? Will it disappear by the magic of the Friday prayer? Will it be stored in a hurry, far from Tehran, pending the arrival of Mehdi?
And then after that? Our foolish and vain economy is based on the sale of crude oil. We are importing adulterated gasoline; since the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, our refineries have been in a pathetic state. We have no industry: a few insolvent assembly plants do not create national wealth. The service sector does not exist: whom from abroad, in their right mind, would bend to the constraints of life imposed by the Iranian theocracy, unless the dream of huge profits which would not necessary benefit Mr and Mrs Everybody? Even the most naive Iranian diaspora, after a ten day holiday in Tehran, return home disgusted. We import 50-70% of our food and 80% of our goods. When oil and gas dry up, who will pay for the decommissioning of decaying nuclear sites in 20-30 years? We will need billions in solid foreign currencies and not in the peanut’s pod, the rial.
The nuclear prattle will go on; all and sundry shall haggle over commas. The display of “feel good” and simpers will, perhaps, play their share in Geneva. Good! When and if the Westerners shall satisfy themselves with the good intentions of the Islamic Republic, they shall move on to something else; Iran would get, maybe, a little opening in the mass of sanctions and embargoes. Letters of credit would be used to pepper the Pasdaran and other profiteers with hard currency. Nepotism is the driving force of Islamic Republic, without it, the ayatollahs will not survive political dispute.
In Iran, we continue to slumber in a polluted environment, propaganda and censorship, living day to day, or worse, from hour to hour. If it can be afforded, we will certainly send our young people to the West for a better life: a rough estimate of 15,000 permanent departures per year, legal or illegal, is realistic. The Islamic Republic is refusing to find solutions to the unchecked inflation and widespread unemployment. Its prolific opponents squabble over the merits of an ode or two; where are credible, pragmatic and organised opponents? The minority communities of the country will continue to shut up, just to survive. The abolition of the death penalty is not for 2014.
All this is grotesque and sinister. As is the nature of the Islamic Republic and its plebs.
To wipe out this nature, we should have the courage to speak out and find the strength to shout loudly: “Gom Show – get lost” whenever a mullah or a bearded Islamist crosses our path.
To exist, we must rebel, build the future. Though, faced with so much apathy, we must be really naive to believe in it.