APPEAL TO KOFI ANNAN
Threatening War against Iran
For a Moratorium and UN Mediation Commission in the Iran Nuclear Conflict to Prevent Escalation
[This appeal to Kofi Annan, Secretary general of the UN, is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.friedenskooperative.de.]
Since the middle of January 2006, the conflict between Iran and the West has intensified alarmingly. Threats and counter-threats get worse. The confrontation can soon go off course and lead to sanctions and violence with grave consequences for world peace. To prevent further escalation, a moratorium must be inserted in the conflict to give the antagonistic parties time for careful reflection on their goals and behavior patterns and develop new proposals and procedures. To achieve this, we propose the UN Secretary use his right to call a UN commission at any time.
We ask the UN Secretary General to convene an international UN mediation commission of personalities with lofty reputations as soon as possible. Under his chairmanship, the commission should work out proposals for a peaceful solution of the conflict and spread this to the world public within a half year.
The commission should be filled with experienced statesmen without official functions and personalities with great moral authority. We name several personalities who in our view could be appointed to this commission:
· Martti Ahtisaari (former president of Finland)
· Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Norwegian prime minister)
· Bill Clinton (former president of the United States)
· Michael Gorbatschow (former president of the Soviet Union)
· Mohammad Khatami (former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
· Nelson Mandela (former president of South Africa)
· Avi Primor (former Israeli ambassador to Germany)
· Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland)
· Gerhard Schroeder (former chancellor of Germany)
· Ayatollah Sistani (Shiite leader in Iraq)
During the consultations, the commission will ask the Iranian government to suspend the enrichment of uranium for more research studies on nuclear technology. All parties to the conflict are called to end all threats against each other.
The proposal of a moratorium and a high-ranking mediation commission should be acceptable to all sides. No additional threats should arise in this time.
Our proposal is impelled by the hope that more than a peaceful solution for the Iran nuclear conflict should be worked out through this process. Multinational consultations going beyond the present nuclear conflict should be opened up for the whole region of the Middle East and the Near East.
In this sense, the signatories ask UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to take the initiative for a moratorium and a mediation commission.
[Andreas Buro and Mohssen Massarrat formulated this text on the basis of discussions at the strategy conference of cooperation for peace in Hanover. International organizations are urged to support this appeal that will be delivered to Kofi Annan in New York in the middle of February 2006]
LETTER TO THE KOLN STADTANZEIGER
By Bernd Hahnfeld
[This letter on the problem of one-sided reporting on the nuclear conflict with Iran was published in the Kolner Stadtanzeiger ( http://www.ksta.de) and is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.friedenskooperative.de. Bernd Hahnfeld is an attorney in Koln, Germany.]
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your reporting on the nuclear conflict with Iran misses important aspects of the problem. Any new nuclear weapon state is a danger for peace and international security. This is especially true for Iran whose government appears verbally very aggressive. However nuclear weapons in the hands of other states are not less dangerous.
For these reasons, the nuclear weapon states and many other states signed a treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons ("Non-Proliferation Treaty" - NPT) on 7/1/ 1968. In this treaty, non-nuclear weapon states agreed to neither produce nor acquire nuclear weapons and other nuclear warheads (Art. II). This treaty is the foundation for the worldwide criticism of Iran's conduct.
The NPT guarantees that all parties to the agreement research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes (Art. IV). This guarantee for peaceful use was a fundamental precondition for the non-proliferation regime created by the NPT. Iran now appeals to this right. The international dilemma is that the nuclear weapon states and their allies demand something from Iran that they are not ready to observe themselves, namely the NPT. In 1968, the nuclear weapon states committed themselves in Art. VI of the NPT to honestly conduct negotiations on nuclear disarmament and sign a treaty on universal and complete nuclear disarmament under effective international control. The International Tribunal in the Haag unanimously emphasized this obligation in its legal opinion of 7/8/1996 adopted by the UN General Assembly.
An international law obligation enjoins honestly conducting and concluding negotiations that lead to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. Since 1968, the nuclear weapon states and their allies have refused to conduct negotiations on total nuclear disarmament. Rather they repeatedly declared that nuclear weapons are indispensable. Even the first use of these weapons prohibited by the International tribunal is not excluded.
Jurists know that the offense of one cannot justify the offense of another. One's own legal violation actually makes the demand for observing the NPT completely incredible. From the view of the non-nuclear weapon states, gaining the power position of a nuclear weapon. His power position would secure a state better than any non-aggression pact.
Reporting should not one-sidedly emphasize only the obligation of Iran but also the corresponding obligation of the nuclear weapon states. This is the backside of the coin and a necessary part of the problem solution.
Otherwise the danger exists that war may be stressed and possibilities of non-military conflict settlement disregarded.
A DECISIVE STEP ON THE WAY TO ESCALATION
By Michael Lueders
[This article published in: Frankfurt Rundschau 1/5/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.friedenskooperative.de. Michael Lueders is a Middle East expert.]
The disputing parties, Teheran and Washington, do not give anything in the conflict around Iran's nuclear program. Europe tried in vain to de-activate the situation. Who will resort to weapons first?
There is no magic formula in dealing with Teheran's nuclear ambitions. However the decision to discuss the Iranian nuclear program in the Security Council of the United Nations is a decisive step toward escalation. The next step may be the threat or imposition of sanctions against Iran joined with the warning Teheran is only "a few months" away from building nuclear bombs according to the German news service. Most likely the call for a military option will become ever louder.
The Iranian leadership with its imprudent policy has an important share in this development. The anti-Semitic invectives of president Mahmoud Ahmadinedschad and his threats against Israel have strengthened the West's impression of incalculability, hostility and malevolence - notwithstanding the fact that both Washington and Jerusalem were presumably very thankful for this folly. Ahmadinedschad could not have provided a better argument against the Islamic republic.
The fact is that for a long time there has been no evidence of the building of an Iranian nuclear bomb. That no one believes the Iranian leadership is only interested in the peaceful use of atomic energy is also a fact. This is true for Arab governments allied in this question in a rare unity with the US and Europe. Saudi Arabia, Iran's perennial rival in the struggle for supremacy in the Islamic world, fears Teheran's increase of power. The Arabs do not want to be drawn into a conflict between Israel and Iran.
The government in Washington is also jointly responsible for the escalation of the crisis. They have learned nothing from the mistakes in Iraq. Pragmatism is lacking to them. (This is also true for the hardly diplomatic words to Teheran from German chancellor Merkel in the beginning of February 2006). Teheran supported US policy after September 11, 2001 both in Afghanistan and in Iraq and presented itself as an alliance partner. With the help of Swiss negotiators, the Iranian foreign ministry sent the US government a detailed plan for normalizing political relations in the spring of 2003. Willingness to stop supporting Hamas and Hisbollah was part of this plan. Washington bluntly rejected the proposal. The influence of the anti-Iranian lobby was obviously too strong.
In October 2003, the EU (European Union) successfully moved Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment. The goal was to negotiate strategic and nuclear questions in a total package seeking normalizing relations to Washington. The government under US president George W. Bush refused and let the negotiations break down.
In 2002, Bush included the Islamic republic in the "axis of evil." Washington openly strives for a regime change in Teheran. US troops are in nearly all Iran's neighboring countries. Iran formulates its security interests on this background. To keep Teheran from building nuclear bombs, a clear security guarantee is needed - Washington's commitment not to attack Iran. The Bush government will definitely not give this guarantee. This means the points are set in the direction of "preventive military strike."
But Iran is not Iraq. The populist Ahmadinedschad knows very well how he can exploit the anti-western mood from Morocco to Indonesia. He sees himself as the Islamic Robin Hood who resolutely opposes western arrogance. In fact, the relations between the West and the Islamic world were never so strained as the violent escalation in the caricature dispute demonstrates again. Seen this way, time is in no way working against the Iranian president.