Science - April 27, 2006

Post/ War on Iran

Enhancing human dignity, equality and fairness is a great foundation for democracy in developed western countries. Pro-humanitarian and anti-violation mentalities are blessed products of such democratic systems. In many political crises at the global level it has been shown that a deliberative approach with appropriate practical tools, such as communication, dialogue and coming to a compromise is the best approach to avoid violations and wars. I believe that using military interventions – resulting in many deaths and casualties – to fulfil one aspect of democracy or citizens’ rights (e.g. security) adversely affects the other basis of a democratic system and strongly violates the other fundamental principles of democracy and citizens’ rights. Unfortunately, there are many indications from the recent Iranian nuclear crisis that this is going to happen between Iran and the United States.

Despite the long period of negotiations between the EU and Iran as well as efforts by the Russians and Chinese, a compromise has not been achieved and the two main counterparts (Iran and US) are approaching to a non-reversible confrontation. In last two weeks many articles have appeared on the issue of using the military option – developed by the Pentagon – to stop Iranian nuclear ambitions. Some even talk about using a nuclear-weapon option to destroy Iranian underground-nuclear facilities, something that Mr Bush has not denied. On the other side Iran, led by its elected president Mr Ahmadinejad, insists on its right to develop peaceful nuclear facilities and enrich uranium up to the level needed for civilian purposes. In response to the United States, the Iranian government also has been flexing its muscles, organising military manoeuvres and demonstrations. Fortunately, last month the Iranian supreme leader – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – agreed to direct talks with the US on the issues concerning Iraq. Given the historical relationships of the two countries, this is a wonderful moment for both sides to sit down around the table. It can be considered as a good opportunity to apply a more deliberative approach on the nuclear issue as well. This might prevent a new war in the region, which has experienced two wars in recent years.

After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – which have had huge economic and human costs – even thinking about a new war and its negative consequences is horrible. Some years after these wars these countries have still not returned to normality and people are suffering from insecurity and instability. These examples show that democracy cannot be imported to any society by force. We think bringing democracy by means of military force is a modern excuse to invade a country, exploit it and take control over its resources. Killing innocent people and destroying the infrastructure of the country under invasion are inevitable in such a harsh procedure. Thus it is definitely against the fundamental elements of a democracy and contradicts valuable concepts such as human rights that have grown in an atmosphere of democracy.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that Iran and the United States must try and examine all the possible and feasible approaches to resolve this problem in order to prevent a new war. A war on Iran will not lead to peace, neither for Iranians nor for Americans. Therefore I feel it is time again for scientists and academicians to take the initiative, shed light on this issue and warn the politicians and also public opinion about the irreversible and devastating consequences of a new war for all citizens around the globe. As an Iranian student in Europe, this short paper is a brief announcement of my anti-war opinion.

Bouda Vosough Ahmadi, PhD student, Business Economics Group, Wageningen University

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