Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program
Iran’s nuclear program is among the most polarizing issues in the Middle East, one of the most volatile areas in the world (Sanger, 2012). Even though, this program has been at the core of economic and foreign policy debates for months now, what appears to be uncertain is the precise nature of the threat it might cause. This situation raises many questions concerning the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program. Is the country striving to build nuclear weapons or for nuclear latency? Would Iran deploy the alleged weapons or use them as a way of further strengthening its control in the region? These questions have raised many eyebrows and created fear among many nations and, eventually, led to a conflict between Iran and Israel. This paper analyzes the role of political culture in the conflict between Iran and Israel as a result of the nuclear program.
There have been a chain of assessments on nuclear facilities in Iran for years, and they have registered mixed levels of cooperation and results. Israelite, European and American officials believe that Tehran has plans to build nuclear weapons. On the other hand, Iran’s authority claim that its main goals is generate electric power without dipping into the oil products it “prefers to export, and offer fuel for medical reactors” (Sanger, 2012).
Although Iran, Israel and the West have disagreed over the nuclear program for long, the conflict between started in November 2011. This was following new revelation by international inspectors suggesting that Iran has ventured into manufacture of nuclear weapons. This resulted to severe consequences where Europe and the U.S. imposed sanctions against Iran’s oil exports. Additionally, Israel increased threats to attack the nuclear facilities of Iran if other nations such as the U.S do not take immediate and appropriate measures against Iran.
The political culture of the Middle East has played a highly significant role in the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program. It is necessary to point out that rivalry is one of the characteristics of politics in the Middle East (Levine, 2011). Every nation is fighting for supremacy in the area, and some political analysts link nuclear power with battle for dominance; according to (Sanger, 2012), Iran has ventured into nuclear program to gain recognition and legitimacy on the international level. Scholars explain that the political leadership in Iran feels that the West will not acknowledge Iran without it nuclear intentions (Levine, 2011). For instance, the West treats Pakistan with caution due to its nuclear program and Iran wants to feel the same way. On the other hand, Israel has enjoyed considerable dominance in the area, and it does not lightly take any signs of rivalry from nations such as Iran.
Israel supports a military action against Iran with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister putting pressure on the U.S. administration to set up “red lines” of prejudice form Iran’s nuclear actions. The U.S. has been an Israeli ally for years now, and Israel hopes that the two countries should work together to stop Iran’s nuclear activities (Sanger, 2012). The nature of political corporation between Israel and America has affected the conflict over the nuclear program. Even though, Obama’s administration is unwilling to level attacks against Iran, the U.S. and Israel cooperation may persuade Obama to reconsider his position. This evident by Obama’s sentiments that U.S. would work to “stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons during a speech to the United Nations on 25 September, 2012” (Sanger, 2012). Furthermore, the U.S. has demonstrated worries about the influence of Iran on Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and attaining nuclear power in the region will only strengthen Iran.
To gain political mileage in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s supreme leader has a determination to fight till the end in a bid to protect the Iranians interests. One of the ways to seek the support of the Iranians in the forthcoming presidential elections is to engage Israel, a long term enemy, in a battle. It is unlikely that Iran will win in the event that they go to war with Israel, but taking a sharp stand against such a strong opponent works for Ali Khamenei (Sarkisian, 2011). Following the recent parliamentary elections in Iran, there is a lot of power struggles in the country. Similarly, the country will hold presidential elections in 2013 and Ali Khamenei is unwilling to succumb to any pressure and stop the nuclear program. If the purpose of the program is to provide electricity, it is valid reason that can propel the current political regime back to victory come next year. For this reason, the presidential elections play a significant role in the conflict since the nuclear program is particularly beneficial to the Iranian economy.
Iran has no commitment for bilateral with the U.S. to end the conflict over nuclear program. This is not strange because the political culture of Iran has for many years demonstrated reluctance to engage nations such as Israel and the U.S. in any talks. The latest series of talks in Istanbul has been not successful because Iran rejected the move. The rejection has expressed frustrations among diplomats to finding a solution to this nuclear program issue. Accordingly, Israel believes that the only solution is leveling attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities (Sarkisian, 2011).
In conclusion, political culture has played a significant in the conflict between Israel and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. There is a battle for supremacy in the Middle East with every state fighting to gain international legitimacy and recognition in the region.