Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Strange Bed-fellows: Iran & US

Last week The Guardian newspaper  carried a leader on the prospects of Iran and the US collaborating on peace restoration in the middle east. They declined to publish this response I sent them. It does not surprise me, but does disappoint.
Your second leader (“ Iran and America: strange bedfellows,” 18 June ) opened opining “If anybody a year ago had said the United States and Iran might today be cooperating in dealing with a major international crisis, they would have been regarded as deranged.”
In fact, along with Dr Gordon Thompson, executive director of  the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts,  where I am also a senior research associate, last August  I offerd a joint article to Guardian Comment is Free making the that Iran should be recognized as a key player in resolving the multiple security problems of the middle east region
Our article was rejected, but was finally published last September by the Asia Times (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-090913.html), The Japan Times (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/09/14/reader-mail/make-use-of-chemical-conventions/#.UiqCdXDn-M8) and The Moscow Times (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/make-the-syria-plan-regional/486097.htm), having been rejected by all UK and US media outlets to which it was offered. Perhaps we were deemed deranged.
In summary, we argued that as Iran  had taken a longstanding  outright opposition to chemical weapons (CW), based on its dreadful experience of Iraq using chemical weapons against its forces in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Iran had a special desire to rid the regionof CW
Iran was robust in its statements at the mulitilateral  review meeting of the Chemical Weapons Convention, ( CWC) in April  2013 . After the collective initiative involving the US, Russia and other, supported by  and Iran last autumn, the Syrian government immediately accepted their proposal and  began the process of acceding to the CWC.
We argued that the framework for destroying chemical weapons in Syria could pave the way for better control of these weapons across the entire Middle East, but conceded the problems to be addressed in a workable agreement were daunting.
Nestling within this daunting challenge is one great opportunity: progress on the control of weapons of mass destruction across the Middle East and globally. Notably, establishing global control of Syria's chemical weapons could improve the climate for confirmation of Iran's non-nuclear status and for progress toward the goal of a Middle East free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
Our proposals of dealing with Syria’s CW weapons without military intervention were dismissed as starry–eyed, as was our suggestion bringing Iran into the diplomatic fold as a positive regional actor.
Maybe this time such proposals will get a better hearing in the Guardian.

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