By Saadat Hassan, Weekly Pulse Magazine, September 23, 2013
Book Name: Iran &the Bomb-Nuclear Club Busted
Written by GhaniJafar and Shams-uz-Zaman
GhaniJafar is one of the distinguished researchers on Iranian nuclear program who has produced a unique piece of scholarly work on this subject along with its academic worth at the same time. He has explained in detail the evolution of Iranian nuclear program and Tehran’s sustained stance on its legitimate right to purse nuclear know-how for peaceful use and its abhorrence of nuclear weapon.
This book dispassionately analyzes the Iranian nuclear program and its implications in great length, along with an exhaustive study of the Western, Israeli and other regional countries’ concerns. Currently, the Middle East has become the focal point in global politics for another important issue and that is the Iranian nuclear program. The concerns about the Iranian nuclear program are, however, not restricted to the United States, Israel and the West, but are also shared by some of the other regional countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Kuwait.
Some analysts in Pakistan also fear that a nuclear Iran would become a dominant power in the Middle East thus significantly compromising Pakistani position and interests in the region. Others argue that a nuclear Iran would immediately take nuclear pressure off Pakistan and may also add to the latter’s stability.
His diction is simple. His research methodology is uncomplicated. He has rightly pointed out the double standard and selectivity prevailing in the international nuclear order. Iran’s relentless pursuit of its nuclear program has come to pose the single most potent challenge to not just the international non-proliferation order but, by the same token, to the entire global post-war system as formalized in the structure of the United Nations. For, in a word, the permanent, veto-wielding membership of the Security Council of the Big Five on the one hand, and their legitimized monopoly over the possession of nuclear arsenals on the other, are, all said and done, the opposite sides of the same coin representing their more-equal-than-the-others status.
This book is not just about Iran’s nuclear program, it covers the whole gambit geo-politics affecting the region. It is, basically, this dichotomy that Tehran has been successful in bringing home to the international community as also the global audience at large through its unflinching resolve to proceed with the development of its nuclear program, backed by adroit diplomacy on the issue, ever since the question was made controversial by the United States in terms of its scope, nature and intent some eleven years ago.
The unfairness of global nuclear non-proliferation regime and particularly the contradiction inherent in the American approach to nuclear non-proliferation becomes ever more apparent as the discussion progresses chapter by chapter. Iran has, of course, continued to maintain throughout this period that its nuclear program is geared to the peaceful purpose of power generation instead of developing the weapons capability; a right Tehran cannot quite clearly be denied in terms of the overall non-proliferation framework of the international system. The problem, on the other hand, lies in the Western – particularly American – distrust of the post-Revolution governing system in Iran and its policy posture toward regional and global issues; especially its unmitigated antipathy for Israel.
The prevailing international climate is not conducive to alternative explanations and perspectives. The writer has given an alternative perspective in this book. It is thus that, even as the long-drawn-out process of numerous inspections of the Iranian nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has failed to detect anything to belie the Iranian claims of peaceful intent, doubts continue to be expressed by the country’s detractors in this regard. The issue, therefore, is in its essence more of a political nature than purely technical. The book contains impressive details about the CIA unearthing of AQ Khan Network with the assistance of Swiss Tinnrers family, and Iran clandestine nuclear activities. In addition, the detail about the al Qaeda operatives’ detention in Iran is also covered by the author.
Many details about Iran’s nuclear program have never been told before in profundity or with inclusiveness and balance when I went through the book and took a look at various facets of the question as it has unfolded ever since the inception of the Iranian nuclear program in the late 1950s – that is, in the heyday of the Shah’s rule in the country. As would be necessary while treating any developing story for the purpose of analysis, a cut-off date in terms of relevant developments and views has to be marked for the present study as well. That, in the given case, is mid-January 2012.
Saadat Hassan, PhD scholar school of politics & International Relations. QAU, Islamabad.