Iranian leaders may sound cocky about their nuclear fight with the West and freely indulge in procrastination and other provoking tactics, but DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iranian sources disclose that Tehran’s ruling circles are not really at ease. In fact some of the clerics are jittery, scared that their intransigence may imperil their regime, whether by external military attack or domestic unrest.
But the hardliners around supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the senior nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, see only one way forward: to dig in their heels deeper than ever and not give an inch.
Khameini therefore directed Larijani, who is also head of the national security council, to set out a 15-point blueprint for presentation to a newly-created National Nuclear Strategy Council meeting for the first time early next week in Tehran. They are designed to stiffen backs at the top and build on the North Korea example of braving the world by test-firing seven surface missiles, notwithstanding the international outcry.
Larijani’s points define sharply where Iran stands vis-a-vis Western demands to give up uranium enrichment and signposts future directions of its nuclear strategy.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly has obtained a draft of the bulky Larijani blueprint and summarizes its highlights:
Point One: Iran should continue along its double track: public assertions that the attainment of a nuclear bomb would be detrimental to its deterrent strength and no use for fending off an external military assault, while on the quiet pushing full steam ahead to develop its potential for producing a bomb as a military deterrent, an instrument for interfering in the affairs of regional states, and seizing the lead role in the Muslim world and as insurance against Western aspirations to topple the regime.
Point Two: The government must unite the nation in a concerted demand for a military nuclear option as a counter to international pressure.
Point Three: Continue the campaign to win round the non-nuclear Third World nations to support Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb as the vanguard under the motto: If we can do it, so can you. This line has gained much support in the 77-nation International Islamic Conference.
Point Four: To keep on reiterating that the Iranian nuclear device will not be its exclusive property but put at the disposal of the entire Islamic world to help advance its interests. This will chip away at Muslim support for US-European steps against Iran. It must also be stressed that Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear device would provide a counterweight to Israel’s nuclear might and enable the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims to vanquish or even destroy the Jewish state in a military clash.
Point Five: Persevere in driving a wedge between world powers, a stratagem which has succeeded in preventing the permanent members of the UN Security Council from getting together on sanctions.
Point Six: Expand Tehran’s regional levers of power, such as extending its clandestine support for Sunni and Shiite terrorists in Iraq, massive backing for Syria, strengthening Hizballah in Lebanon, and unreservedly supporting the Hamas Palestinian government and the Jihad Islami. A large contingent of Revolutionary Guards troops must be transferred to Gaza, together with missiles and rockets of longer range, through Egyptian Sinai or any other route. These weapons and trained men must be moved into the West Bank to expand the military confrontation with Israel. Escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis will reduce Western pressure on Tehran.
Point Seven: Expand the group of nations engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran beyond the UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany. A larger group will water down consensual opposition to Iran’s nuclear program.
Point Eight: Continued insistence on a whole range of economic, security, strategic, national and scientific compulsions as the rationale for letting Iranian nuclear research run ahead.
Point Nine: To stand by the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s chapter and verse which affirms every signatory’s right to develop a uranium enrichment capability as long as it is not for military purposes.
Point Ten: Iran’s commitment to its international undertakings is predicated on its rights being accepted by other parties.
Point Eleven: Iran will maintain its membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA only as long as the UN watchdog is able to guard the interests of all members without political bias affecting its professional standards.
Point Twelve: Iran cherishes its ability to enrich uranium as a matter of national honor and pride which cannot be measured in material terms or bartered for some “incentives package.” The West resists Iran’s nuclear advances as part of a systematic policy to keep the Islamic Republic backward in its technological, economic and security development.
Point Thirteen: Iran will persist in promoting its nuclear program in every conceivable circumstance. No diplomatic terms, material incentive or substitutes will stop enrichment going forward. If Iran can keep going for another five or six years in the face of international pressure, it will reach a point in its nuclear program which the West can no longer ignore. That being the case, the West has nothing to offer Iran in the way of substitutes.
Point Fourteen: Iran will not bargain away resources already attained. The past belongs to the past and cannot be altered. The only negotiations possible are on the future pace of its program and the degree of international control. Until six months ago, a battery of 164 centrifuge machines was operating at Natanz. This number has trebled to 492 and by December will reach 3,000. Therefore time is on Iran’s side.
Point Fifteen: This clause advocates the use of terrorism as a political weapon. Iran will continue to pursue every non-violent means for solving its nuclear case, including negotiations with all nations. However, if this track proves unproductive, Tehran will resort to more costly methods, such as activating its terrorist networks in the region and the world at large, blockading oil traffic, violence in Iraq and other means.
The document is rounded off by a simple equation: Iran will adhere to diplomacy as long as it is not required to give up uranium enrichment. Its negotiators will withdraw the moment the talks distance Iran from its ultimate goal.