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Nuclear Deal, Nuclear Imperialism or Nuclear Apartheid?

By Dr. M. Mohibul Haque

13 January, 2014

The worst violence is that which is committed in the name of peace. It seems that we are living in the era of paradoxes and contradictions. Wars are fought in the name of peace, weapons of mass destruction are developed in the name of security, and unjust treaties are signed in the name of justice. The much publicized nuclear deal between the isolated and under-pressure (domestic as well as international)Iran and the global nuclear hegemons once again establishes the fact that decisions in the international arena are taken on the governing principle of ‘might is right’.

Our present global order is marked by gross inequality and injustice. It is controlled, regulated and dominated by a handful of countries designated as major powers of the world. The existing system of global management does not respect the principle of sovereign equality of all states forming the international community. Instead the world is largely divided between global haves and have-nots which is reflected in the unfolding of events in the international arena. The recent deal signed between Iran and six major powers (USA, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) to prevent Tehran from acquiring or developing capacity to produce nuclear bomb is a pointer to the fact. The deal is a classic example of success of the coercive diplomacy cleverly and shamelessly used by the global hegemons. The Islamic Republic of Iran, in exchange for a limited and conditional relief in sanctions was coerced to take substantial measures to curb its nuclear ambitions. Now under the agreement reached upon, the Islamic Republic has to provide access to IAEA to centrifuge assembly facilities at its important nuclear sites. It is important to mention here that the IAEA operates under the control of the Security Council of the United Nations. The Security Council itself is a body in which the five major powers who are incidentally the victors of the Second World War enjoy the privilege of veto. Besides, there are other points of agreement that substantially put a cub on the enrichment of uranium by Iran. These measures will indeed adversely affect the Iran’s much needed efforts to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The signing of the deal was widely reported in the international media as a very significant event. After all, the self-claimed representatives of the international community headed by the headman of the ‘global village’ had made sincere efforts towards saving the world from the projected eventual nuclear holocaust. President Barack Obama expressed his happiness over the deal with Iran and described it as an important first step toward addressing the global concerns over Iran’s disputed nuclear program. The most pertinent question remains unanswered that why the US president should certify a sovereign country whether its nuclear program is disputed or undisputed. If the Islamic Republic allegedly has nuclear ambitions, it is a threat to global security but the militarist and expansionist Israel in the same region with a considerably large stockpile of nuclear weapons does not pose any threat to its adversaries. Moreover, the sinners should not teach the virtues of chastity. The Unites States is the only country to have used the dreaded bombs against a country that did not possess it. Anti-nuclear weapons activist and scholar Achin Vanaik’s observations are worth recalling here as he argues that “it is the NWS, above all the US (which is currently orchestrating the fight against “nuclear terrorism”), that has the worst record of repeated attempts at nuclear blackmail and is the only country to have used nuclear weapons and – to this day – has majority domestic support for these two acts of nuclear terrorism in 1945. Since then it is not only the US and Russia that have come close to actually launching such weapons. Israel in 1973 came close to using such weapons against non-nuclear adversaries… ” Interestingly, the Prime Minister of Israel (an undeclared nuclear power) Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the deal with Iran and called it a “historic mistake”. He also reiterated that “Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability." The foreign minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman added: "Obviously when you look at the smiles of the Iranians over there in Geneva, you realize that this is the Iranians' greatest victory, maybe since the Khomeini revolution, and it doesn't really change the situation within Iran."

The politics of maintaining monopoly over the nuclear weapons and other WMDs by the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) is characterized by double standards and is counterproductive for nuclear weapons free-world. The fact is that the presence of large number of dreaded nuclear weapons in a turbulent world is a serious threat to the very existence of living creatures on our planet. Although, the exact number of nuclear weapons possessed by the NWS is not known yet reports suggest that there are around 18000 nuclear weapons in the global arsenal. According to the reports published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Russia and the US together estimate for 16200 nuclear weapons (Russia 8500 and USA 7700). Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists estimate: France 300, China 250, United Kingdom 225, Pakistan 120, India 110, Israel 80, and North Korea 10 account for 1095 nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons seem to be the currency of power and perhaps they enhance the prestige and influence of the nations that possess them. Many nations aspiring to acquire the technology of making nuclear bombs justify their intentions on the basis of the theory of nuclear deterrence. They argue that the fear of mutual destruction creates balance of terror which eventually ensures enduring peace. On the other hand the NWS, in their nefarious design of maintaining their own arsenals prefer to talk of nuclear non-proliferation rather than dismantling all nuclear weapons posing really grave threat to the signs of life on our planet.

Events in our recent past must awake us to seriously consider terrorism as a threat to our existence. Now after 9/11 we cannot afford to deny the possibility or probability of terrorists getting access to nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Presence of a large number of the so-called rogue states with their grievances with major powers of the world further compounds this problem. It is important to note that terrorists or disgruntled elements or the so-called rogue states do not need to take trouble of acquiring technology and materials to make nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The fact that these weapons are available in large quantity in several states of the world itself is enough to alarm us. The terrorists attacking WTC and Pentagon on September 11 with an innovative technique of turning passenger aircrafts into deadly weapons must convince us that threat of nuclear terrorism is a real one. Therefore, it is high time that rather than celebrating an insignificant event i.e. the recent nuclear deal reflecting the policy of nuclear imperialism and nuclear apartheid, the international community sincerely aspires and works for a world completely free from the threat of nuclear weapons.

Dr. M. Mohibul Haque, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, AMU Aligarh


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