(By Abdul Majid Zargar)
Tensions between USA & Israel duo on the one hand & Iran on the other have risen alarmingly in recent months. Bellicose statements are emanating regularly from Washington and other Western capitals. Tough unilateral sanctions have already been put in place against Iran. These include new sanctions on the export of Iranian oil and gas. The international banking transactions of Iran are being frozen by taking its banks out of the global banking software “SWIFT” (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) which facilitates international bank transfers & payments. Israel has resorted to its old game of Covert operations & killed at least five Iranian scientists connected with its nuclear programmed. Besides this the duo has used computer bugs to foul up Iranian nuclear software. Meanwhile, the US and the EU have tightened their sanctions, adding travel bans and asset freezes that appear – to judge by Iran’s increasingly indignant response – to be hurting. It is widely believed Iran has responded in cash by targeting Israel’s diplomatic staff in other parts of the world-The latest being in Delhi , Tiblisi & Bangkok.
Being at the centre of a global storm and adversely effected by sanctions, Iran has issued a warning that “not a drop of oil” will flow through the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions are imposed on the Iranian oil sector. This sea passage accounts for 35% of the total global oil flow In the last week of December, the Iranian army carried out 10 days of military drill in the Sea of Oman, located near the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian ships and aircraft dropped mines in the sea as part of the drill. America responded to these threats by deploying two of its warships – the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mobile Bay – towards the strait. The U.S. Defense Department issued a warning that any step to “inhibit freedom of navigation” through the Strait of Hormuz “will not be tolerated.
In the Asian & European region, Iran is left with friends like China & Russia. The former is the biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil and is on record having said that it is “against emotionally charged action” in the region. Russia has warned the West against “cranking up the spiral of tension”, saying that this will be detrimental to the efforts to get Iran back to the negotiating table.The absence of support from these two countries has compelled America to bye-pass the UN route for imposing sanction and instead ganged up with European Countries to impose its will. When the target was Iraq, it used UN. Being a super-cop of the world America is doing what it likes. Saudi Arabia is against Iran going nuclear. Its “cut the snake’s head” remark as exposed by wickileaks has now become a permanent metaphor in the political lexicon of the region. There are reports which suggest that it has also assured America to boost its oil production in case Iran cuts its own as a retaliatory measure. This will indeed be a most unfriendly act & Saudi may have to ultimately repent on it in the long run. India is showing signs of neutrality but if the media reports & views & comments offered by readers is any indication, the overwhelming majority of its public opinion appears to side with Israel than Iran. The support of few others like Turkey & Brazil does not matter much.
Under these trying conditions at home, President Ahmadinejad’s likely to visit Pakistan carries a lot of significance. Many issues such as Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, export of electricity to Pakistan and expansion of bilateral ties in the field of railway and air transportation are likely to be discussed.
But to make the visit more fruitful, Ahmednijad should discuss & strike a nuclear sharing deal with Pakistan. As part of the deal, the two countries should carry out mutual consultations and take common decisions on nuclear weapons policy, maintain technical equipment required for the use of nuclear weapons including warplanes capable of delivering them By dint of this deal, Iran should host sufficient nuclear weapons delivered by Pakistan on its own territory but the command & control structure may remain with Pakistan. This will provide an adequate nuclear shield to Iran. As a quid-pro-quo Iran should help Pakistan with hard currency or may be even free oil which will reduce its aid dependency on America. Given the fact that Pakistan shares a land border with Iran, the agreement is not difficult to put in effect. After all America has done this deal with UK in the past and if that is so why can’t Pakistan & Iran do it? The only question is-Have you gut & a will to stand up and be counted?
I know critics will wag their draggers at me for suggesting violation of worlds accepted behavior on nuclear non-proliferation. But my take is- Let us ignore them. Even God does not help those who do not help themselves.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at firstname.lastname@example.org)