Iran Policy Logic

Examine the logic of the U.S. stance toward Iran in the context of the dynamics of U.S.-Iranian interactions. It makes no sense: it is a policy designed to fail.

The dynamics of the U.S.-Iranian nuclear conflict are well known – the U.S. pushes aggressively for concessions in response to which Iran continues to enhance its nuclear technology and self-reliance. The logic of U.S. policy is seldom analyzed in the context of this dynamic. U.S. policy focuses on pressure and threats to compel Iran to accept nuclear discrimination. The most prominent form of U.S. pressure is economic war to wreck the Iranian economy, followed closely by efforts to cut Iran off from access to nuclear supplies and technology from the rest of the world. Iran responds by enhancing its self-reliance–learning to build its own technical components and discovering new domestic sources of uranium. A specific example is the enrichment of medical-grade uranium. In response to U.S. pressure on Iran to compel it to forego not only refinement to military-grade but also medical grade, Iran is expanding its medical-grade refinement capabilities as fast as it can, an entirely reasonable response to sanctions but one that also serves to lay the groundwork for precisely what the U.S. claims it most wishes to avoid: military nuclear breakout. A second example is nuclear generation of electricity. Here again, with the U.S. undermining Iran’s energy security (e.g., by pressuring other countries to forego oil imports), Iran responds by enhancing its domestic nuclear energy generation capacity, once again  behaving in an entirely rational and peaceful manner but simultaneously enhancingits national security and independence. The more the U.S. relies on pressure, threats, sanctions, and marginalization, the stronger, more secure, and more independent Iran becomes.

The U.S. has always had a choice. It could have chosen to weave a complicated web of trade ties that would have made Iran ever more dependent on foreign sources of energy and finances, simultaneously making it ever more difficult politically for Iran to defy the U.S. Instead, the U.S. is in the process of forcing Iran to become exactly what it most wishes to avoid: an independent regional power reliant upon its own technology and its own energy production, including a vast peaceful nuclear establishment with increasing capacity for a military breakout. In political terms as well, the U.S. is achieving counter-productive results – justifying Iran’s insistence upon self-reliance by denying Iran the option of relying upon the rest of the world for security, medical-grade uranium, or energy. The  U.S. option of integrating Iran into the world economy, effectively buying Iran’s acceptance of the U.S.-centric global political system is rapidly fading away. The U.S. is, with its current policy, achieving something that Iran could most likely never have achieved by itself: transforming Iran into a significant symbol of resistance to that U.S.-centric system.

 

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