Harvard & other impulses for unlocking the U.S./Iran nuclear gridlock

Dear colleagues,

This is to commend you on your imaginative search for a "Way Out of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis" ("Harvard Researchers Propose Plan to Resolve Iranian Nuclear Crisis", Abbas Maleki and Matthew Bunn, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, March 2006).  President Sadat's gridlock-busting historical trip to Jerusalem is, of course, for any statesman a difficult act to follow. Yet, a trip to Teheran would at least match the gesture of the Iranian President. Meanwhile, we have to play the cards already in our hands.

Interestingly, your contribution  is seen to confirm and strengthen the analysis underlying the proposal made by some Swiss lawmakers (www.solami.com/nptmotion.htm ¦ .../3103.htm)
a)    to call for an urgent comprehensive review of the developments related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, e.g. by way of a follow-up meeting to the 1968 Non-Nuclear Weapon States Conference (until whose termination, Iran might agree to suspend its uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes) and, in the event,
b)    to facilitate the operation, for peaceful purposes, of the said-to-be-critical nuclear facilities in Iran, with full Iranian participation but under foreign, e.g. Russian sovereignty (drawing inspiration from the Swiss-US nuclear cooperation agreement of 1955: .../NPT.htm#3388 ¦ .../Saphir.tif), as earlier proposed to the UN Secretary General (.../iranmail.htm ¦ .../landler.htm).

I have just returned from a brief visit to Washington where I had an opportunity to take the temperature for the above-outlined principled ideas among policy advisers and decision-makers on the Hill, at Foggy Bottom and on K Street. To my dismay, I found the temperature already uncomfortably hot and rapidly rising (as publicly summarized e.g. by Seymour M. Hersh in "THE IRAN PLANS", The New Yorker, April 17, 2006, and Akeel Shah in "More Dark Clouds Gathering Over Iran?", blogcritics.org, May 10, 2006). And I got a bit alarmed by the locally dominant mood and mindset which is seen to reflect an increasingly generalized saturation, compliance mode and inability/unwillingness to lean back. Long gone is the time when good advice was given in Richard Nixon's 1969 Inaugural Address, namely to "lower your voice" in order to be able to listen to weaker external and internal voices who may also have something helpful to tell each one of us - in as much as nobody has a monopoly for good ideas.

Not surprisingly then, the Iranian President's initiative to overcome persistent communication hurdles by way of an unusual roots-oriented letter to his American counterpart (www.president.ir ¦ www.solami.com/irancredo.htm), initially at least, struck few sympathetic cords on the Western side of the debate. And though this initiative may have been inspired by such astounding ancient military/diplomatic feats as the 1229 Jaffa Peace Treaty on Jerusalem (.../jaffa.htm), it may not, on its own, produce the mutually helpful timely effects for avoiding the looming disaster which risks to extend far beyond Iran.

Accordingly, we thus herewith submit for consideration a brief outline of lesser-known related circumstances. They are seen to have a bearing on the hopefully non-military resolution of the nuclear gridlock between the U.S. and Iran, two countries some observers consider to be unsuspecting "natural allies", just as the Palestinians and the Israelis have yet to rediscover their true family roots:

1.    The "intolerable existential danger" that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would be posing to Israel's physical existence in the minds of her closest supporters is seen to be real.  By the same token, mutual misunderstandings bred by a persistent lack of dialogue, ignorance of historical facts, and erroneous interpretations of incomplete records continue to cloud the spirits and debates on related matters. To be sure, there is no real substitute for political clear-sightedness, courage and corresponding principled measures. And while assymetric and otherwise deficient bureaucratic band-aides may hold back the tide for some time, the dangers thus piling up out of sight may make matters even worse for the next generation. Not surprisingly then, the basic structure and content of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT: .../NPT.htm ¦ .../holygrail.htm) have proven to be woefully inadequate for dealing responsibly, reliably and effectively with either the legitimate aspirations of sovereign nations or such perceived-to-be existential dangers. The urgent call submitted by Swiss lawmakers for a follow-up stock-taking and brain-storming to the 1968 Non-Nuclear Weapon States Conference (.../3103.htm ¦ .../nptmotion.htm#Swiss)appears thus timely and worth considering.

2.    Both as a statesman and a teacher, the Iranian President rightly points to, and draws inspiration from Persia's eternal cultural values, notably its traditions for righteousness and tolerance, as well as for good thoughts, good words and good deeds. And if he were to pursue this path still further, and follow Al-Azhar's guidance on the proposal to study the "roots of Islam, particularly those preceding Judean and Christian traditions" (.../slm.htm ¦ .../a1.htm), he too might enlighten his students on the "phenomenon of Israel", Senegal, etc. as being yet-to-be recognized outgrowths of Akhenaton's Egypt (Jan Assmann, "Moses the Egyptian - The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism", Harvard University Press Cambridge, 1998; Ahmed Osman, "Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus", 2002; "The Dawn of Monotheism Revisited", Corum Netquery, 2000; Theophile Osenga, "Origine commune de l'Egyptien ancien, du copte et des langues négro-africaines modernes", Harmattan, 1993).
    With that, of course, the Iranian President, and many others, might also find pause in the heated debate over the true origins and legitimate place of the people which has emerged from the Babylonian exile. And which is seen as having an even more obligeing past than commonly recognized, as Israeli and other archeologists are suggesting (Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, "The Bible Unearthed", Touchstone, 2002). A vastly increased dialogue on "Political Islam and the West", commenced in 1997 in Cyprus, is thus called for. And enlightened politicians in Iran and elsewhere might further advance the needed dialogue by helping to bring about a volontary, mutually fruitful and generally gridlock-unlocking exile experience for their Palestinian friends - a search for the unmasked truth and an experience which could prove no less unifying, fortifying and enriching as that which their estranged "Jewish" brethren had experienced in Babylon (.../deadlock.htm ¦ .../pal.htm ¦ .../mvciht.htm ¦ .../babylon2.htm).

3.     On numerous occasions in- and outside of the UN Human Rights Commission meetings, our Representatives had the opportunity to testify not only of the plight of religious, cultural and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, including on the expulsed Hamas leaders in Lebanon and the Yezidi in Iraq (.../a33e.htm#MVRC-ICRC ¦ .../ICESC.htm#Daud Baghistani). But on August 14, 1995, we also availed our NGO facilities to the Very Reverend Father Nshan Ara Garabed Topouzian who authoritatively reported to this UN Commission on the "Christians as a Religious Minority in Iran".  At first, Father Topouzian's favorable report was received - not atypically - with utter disbelief and strong objections by another of our Representatives, David Littman who, ten days earlier, had presented his visionary paper "Towards a United States of Abraham in the Middle East". And two days later, under the sponsorship of our NGO, the Algerian FIS had its fiercely resisted but in the end well received first presentation at the UN through its delegate Said Lahlali, who testified in French on the subject: "Towards real enjoyment of the economic, social and cultural rights by Algier's youth" (Vers une véritable jouissance des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, notamment par la jeunesse Algérienne).
    To be sure, none of these contributions brought about the resolution of any of the conflicts concerned. Yet - just as we all trust it to be the case with the Iranian President's letter - all of them eventually made their dent. For they were inspired by their authors' principled positions, openness, and willingness to contribute their own share for unlocking gridlock by listening to others and by re-evaluating their own position in light of new insights. These authors, too drew strength and guidance from deeply felt roots in their monotheistic Judean, Christian or Muslim beliefs. Moreover, inside and among the leadership of our NGO, these contributions had a profound effect on our subsequent work. We took sort of a sabbatical leave from our "normal" UN activities (.../ICESC.htm), focussing instead on the religious, cultural and ethnic common dominators of the regional conflicts (Vivant Sequentes ¦ .../salve.htm ¦ .../opinion.htm). God willing, and with the support of the powers that be in Arbil and other capitals, the SLM Foundation for the study of the roots of monotheism prior to the Judean, Christian and Muslim traditions (.../slm.htm)may thus be created shortly, contribute in time its grain to the transformation of conflicts, and deploy its stabilizing and regenerative effects in the cradle of civilization and beyond.

Accordingly, your own and the above-outlined proposals are expected to facilitate the all-too-long suspended, yet indispensable dialogue between the interested parties. We thus look forward to an early opportunity to study related comments and, in the event, to be of assistance to the authorities concerned. With best regards

Philip Wainwright, Main I.C.E.S.C. Representative to the UN in New York
Anton Keller, I.C.E.S.C. Representative
International Committee for European Security and Cooperation (I.C.E.S.C.)
cp 2580    -    1211 Geneva 2    -    +4122-7400362    -   swissbit@solami.com

PS:  We'd appreciate your notifying us of related contributions which might advance the debate, enlighten and assist the decision-makers here and there, and which thus should be added to the list of "more recent contributions" in our main site "Armament, Sovereignty & Laws - Contributions on War & Peace, Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc."(.../NPT.htm).

May 16, 2006    (url: www.solami.com/iranmail2.htm)