Thursday, 18 December 2008

Breaking the Nuclear Deadlock: Weak Economy is Iran's Achilles' Heel EMBARGOED UNTIL 17 DECEMBER 00.01 GMT'…..we have not exhausted our non-military options in confronting this threat; in many ways, we have yet to try them.'Barack Obama Iran's economic and political weaknesses could provide the catalyst for a breakthrough in the nuclear dispute, says a new Chatham House report compiled by the former UK ambassador to Iran, Sir Richard Dalton.Iran's domestic politics, its energy industry and its regional power may not be strong enough for the Iranian leadership to resist international demands for a serious negotiation over its nuclear programme. Despite the triumphalist rhetoric, the economy remains Iran's Achilles' heel.Sanctions have their place, but will be limited in their effects. Both the United States and Iran should recognize that they will not achieve what they want through the policies they have adopted so far. However, Iran may be closer to reviewing its strategy than is commonly understood.Iran: Breaking the Nuclear Deadlock grapples with how negotiations might be conducted and concludes that a breakthrough starting in 2009 is possible.The report also cautions that the debate about military action against Iran has not weighed sufficiently what behaviour by Iran would constitute an unacceptable threat. Any military intervention which was not necessary to respond to the threat of an imminent attack by Iran would be contrary to international law.Richard Dalton says:'It is clear that no strategy, including attacking known nuclear facilities in Iran or a comprehensive agreement, can deliver a guarantee that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon. 'It is not clear yet whether there is any offer Iran will be prepared to accept in return for transparency, acceptance of intrusive monitoring in the future, and long-term international involvement in its nuclear affairs.'All the available options are about managing risk and providing degrees of assurance against anticipated dangers'.