Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Iran: Nuclear Decision Making Undergoes

RadioFarda/RadioLibertyby Bill Samii....Where To Now?
Ali Larijani has been openly critical of his country's diplomatic contacts with European negotiators, saying they have given away too much in exchange for very little. President Ahmadinejad struck a similar tone in his 6 August inaugural address. He accused "some governments" of "trying to deprive our nation of its inalienable rights," state television reported. "I don't know why some [governments] don't want to understand the fact that the Iranian nation will not be bullied."

The prospective foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, has accused the United States of trying to deprive Iran of its perceived right to use nuclear energy. He told the IAEA's board of governors in September 2003 that, "If cooperation has been slow at times...if there have been [a] few incidents of discrepancies...it is all out of one and only one concern: The U.S. intention behind this saga is nothing but to make this deprivation final and eternal," "The Wall Street Journal" reported on 18 March 2005. And when the legislature passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to resume developing nuclear fuel, Salehi was quoted as saying, "We need security of supply," "The New York Times" reported on 16 May. "We would like to get energy from all possible sources."

These new players in the policy process -- particularly Ahmadinejad -- are likely to be more nationalistically driven than individuals with more longstanding involvement. The discrete nature of policy setting and decision making in Iran suggests that if any dramatic changes do occur, they will not be revealed to the public in the near future. Furthermore, the existence of disagreements is not likely to see the light of day, given restrictions on the media. Therefore, tracking public statements by top officials could be the only way to discern possible changes in Iran's nuclear stance.


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