Iran awaits UNSC reaction to Korea

In a first reaction to North Korea conducting nuclear tests, Iran has said that the best way to stop proliferation was for the big powers to begin disarmament themselves.

“The best solution to combat nuclear weapons is for the big powers to start by destroying them themselves,” government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency last Tuesday. But the country’s Supreme National Security Council, the main body dealing with the nuclear issue, is yet to make a pronouncement regarding the North Korean tests. “Officials will be talking generalities for the time being. They’ll be waiting to see what measures the UN Security Council will adopt against North Korea,” a political analyst in Tehran, said.

The North Korean tests come at the start of a week when the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany were to discuss sanctions against this country for failing to halt its own nuclear programme. Tehran has rejected allegations that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability and has repeatedly said that it is only interested in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. “Iran is against any use of weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear weapons in particular,” said Elham, as reported by the Iranian Students’ News Agency.

But the political analyst said these statements were only to be expected: “At the moment what you are likely to hear is mostly condemnation of non-peaceful use of nuclear energy in general and putting the blame on the West for driving North Korea to the point of having to test a nuclear bomb to gain a better standing against the West.” IRIB, the state-run TV network gave full coverage of Pyongyang’s nuclear test and aired a commentary last Monday.

“North Korea appeals to put an end to sanctions and US threats didn’t lead anywhere, thus it had no other choice than advancing towards non-peaceful use of nuclear energy,” the news commentary said. “The North Korean nuclear test is a warning to the UN Security Council to face international problems wisely, to put an end to sanctions against North Korea and to pave the way for universal disarmament through implementation of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty),” it said.

“The North Korean nuclear test will not make things easier for Iran. North Korea will not gain much itself as its nuclear test will not help solve its many economic problems. This can be quite discouraging to Iran. The West on the other hand will exert more pressure on Iran because they think that without that Iran will not give up its nuclear programme. The West knows that if it gives in to North Korea’s demands, it will be setting a bad example for other countries in

the world who would

want to start their own nuclear programmes to use it as their bargaining chip with the West,” a political analyst said.

“Just like North Korea, Iran is seeking security guarantees from the US. If the latter doesn’t get them even with a bomb, then Iran can be sure it won’t either with an enrichment programme,” he said.

“A tough reaction to North Korea would lead the Islamic Republic leaders to think twice about their defiant behaviour, whereas a compromising reaction with concessions to North Korea would only embolden Iran.” — IPS