Accompanied by Iranian officials, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, waves to the media after inaugurating Iran's Fuel Manufacturing Plant, a new facility producing uranium fuel for a planned heavy-water nuclear reactor, just outside Isfahan, Apr. 9, 2009.
"Iran's Nuclear Program: An Opportunity for Dialogue"
Author: Kayhan Barzegar, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/international Security Program, 2007–2010
"While the United States only regards the challenges posed by Iran's nuclear issue, one very important issue must not be ignored and that is how has the course of Iran's nuclear talks revealed the potentials of employing diplomacy for both sides, a reality which provided the grounds for Iran-U.S. détente. A crucial challenge to the process of Iranian nuclear talks has been the lack of sound understanding of the politics of Iran's decision-making process, its foreign policy aims and priorities, and its strategies toward the United States. The process of nuclear talks in different ways have helped a better understanding of Iran's calculus.
At the domestic level, Iran's nuclear program as a source of national power has become an issue of balancing the internal structure of power. This empowers the role of state in the process of development and advancement. Over the past two centuries, the Iranian critics have always blamed the state as the main cause of underdevelopment and failure in acquiring national power and wealth. Today, the nuclear program is simultaneously perceived as a matter of technological advancement, national pride and solidarity, bolstering Iranian identity and status regionally and internationally. For this reason, all political parties in Iran demand pursuing a consistent stance in the process of nuclear talks. In this sense, despite differences of means and diplomatic styles in negotiations over nuclear program and maintaining the enrichment capability, the standard reformist and hardliner policy disagreements dissipate. Such a condition brings political cohesion and popularity for the Iranian government, subsequently reinforcing the position of Iran in nuclear talks...."
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Kayhan Barzegar is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR). The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the CSR.
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