…at least, they’re not _that_ f*cking stupid.
Warren Hoge and David Sanger “write”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/03/international/middleeast/03npt.html in the New York _Times_ “there is considerable concern” that Iran will withdraw from the NPT.
Perhaps. But there’s some evidence that the Iranians realize they’d be painting a target on themselves if they took such a drastic step.
Hassan Rowhani, secretary of Iranâ€™s Supreme National Security Council, discussed the matter 11 February before an audience of university students. According to ISNA:
Talking about the legal and political consequences of Iran leaving the NPT, Rowhani said: The consequences will be of a political and legal nature. From a legal point of view any country for the sake of its national security and interests, can leave the NPT providing that it gives 90 days notice to the UN. However, from a political viewpoint, it means that it is preparing to build nuclear bombs.
He added: Americans were trying to prove that Iran was after nuclear bombs and they would have been proved right, if we had left the NPT.
Rowhani stated: Currently we are not in a normal situation. Americans are levelling accusations against us and if we decide to leave the NPT, then Americans will be proved right and the initial outcome of such action will be the referring of our dossier to the UN Security Council.
Indeed, it is worth pointing out that Iran has some less-drastic options. For example, Tehran can:
* Stop adhering to its IAEA additional protocol and revert back to its original safeguards agreement. The additional protocol hasn’t yet been ratified, so Tehran may argue that it’s not doing anyting illegal.
* End the suspension of its enrichment program. Iran’s not legally obligated to continue the suspension and may believe that it will not face strong penalties for doing so.
Obviously, Iran would be violating its November 2004 agreement with the EU3 and could be referred to the UNSC. But Tehran may ultimately risk it, especially if things are bad enough for Iran to contemplate withdrawing from the NPT. If the international community doesn’t think that the Iranians have any _current_ nuclear activities that violate their safeguards agreement, Tehran may emerge relatively unscathed from any UNSC proceedings.
It is, therefore, imperative to convince Iran that it will be better off reaching an agreement with the EU3 than not.