By Nader Uskowi
Neither UN resolutions, sanctions, threats, computer virus nor even a military attack will stop uranium enrichment in Iran, declared Iran’s ambassador to IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh on the eve of the collapse of the Istanbul talks. Iran has made a national determination to become a nuclear power. It will attend talks and meetings on its nuclear program. It will entertain proposals and submit its own counter-proposals for possible compromises. But at the same time it keeps enriching uranium and improves the efficiency of its nuclear facilities. It has learned a lesson from the North Korean experience and will continue on the same path.
There is a price to be paid for such policy, sanctions and isolation in a global environment increasingly unfavorable for its institutions to operate. But the government, looking at the prospect of $100 oil, and expecting an economic revival induced by its ambitious subsidy reform program, has much less fears than expected under the circumstances. And this is where the similarities with North Korea end. Iran can survive the sanctions and the isolation much easier.
Surviving sanctions and isolation, even in an era of $100 oil, and having the bomb or not, does not mean that the country will be able to achieve its full potentials. In an increasingly shrinking globe, going alone is probably the dumbest strategy for any country. Hence we should expect growing internal debate inside the country, and growing dissatisfaction among the youths, on lack of progress and modernization expected of a country enjoying such vast natural and human resources. It is not matter of survival, it’s matter of what the country could have been.