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The Iranian Nuclear Crisis

The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir

SEYED HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 612
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wpk0r
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  • Book Info
    The Iranian Nuclear Crisis
    Book Description:

    The first detailed Iranian account of the diplomatic struggle between Iran and the international community,The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoiropens in 2002, as news of Iran's clandestine uranium enrichment and plutonium production facilities emerge. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, previously the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and spokesman for Tehran's nuclear negotiating team, brings the reader into Tehran's private deliberations as its leaders wrestle with internal and external adversaries.

    Mousavian provides readers with intimate knowledge of Iran's interactions with the International Atomic Energy Agency and global powers. His personal story comes alive as he vividly recounts his arrest and interrogations on charges of espionage. Dramatic episodes of diplomatic missions tell much about the author and the swirling dynamics of Iranian politics and diplomacy -undercurrents that must be understood now more than ever.

    As intense debate continues over the direction of Iran's nuclear program, Mousavian weighs the likely effects of military strikes, covert action, sanctions, and diplomatic engagement, considering their potential to resolve the nuclear crisis.

    Contents

    1. The Origin and Development of Iran's Nuclear Program

    2. The First Crisis

    3. From Tehran to Paris

    4. From the Paris Agreement to the 2005 Presidential Election

    5. The Larijani Period

    6. To the Security Council

    7. Back to the Security Council and a New Domestic Situation

    8. Iran Alone: The Jalili Period

    9. U.S. Engagement

    10. The Crisis Worsens

    11. Conclusion

    eISBN: 978-0-87003-302-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    George Perkovich

    Dr. Seyed Hossein Mousavian has written a unique book, a hybrid of four genres.

    As a contemporary history,The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoiris the first detailed Iranian account of the diplomatic struggle between Iran and its interlocutors during the nuclear crisis that began in 2002 when news emerged that Tehran was secretly constructing facilities to enrich uranium and produce plutonium. Drawing on extensive research and first-hand knowledge, Mousavian’s narrative adds much-needed Iranian material to the historical record. It is a treasure trove for scholars, journalists, and policy analysts.

    The Iranian Nuclear Crisisis also a memoir. From 1997...

  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-38)

    Iran’s nuclear crisis began in earnest in the summer of 2003, when a report from the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) triggered a resolution from the agency’s Board of Governors that laid out major points of dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities, some of which remain unresolved to this day. The case has had many ups and downs in the past few years and has intertwined with many domestic and international developments. The case has already engaged two presidents and three secretaries of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and has posed a challenge to world powers and...

  6. CHAPTER ONE THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
    (pp. 39-56)

    Iran’s nuclear activities far predate the current crisis and even Iran’s Islamic Republic. Understanding the history of Iran’s atomic program and the role of the West in its founding is important for any analysis of both the political and technical disputes of the current crisis. Indeed, Iran’s accusations in recent years of double standards and discrimination by the United States and international community are rooted in the support that the West lent to the Iranian monarchy but then withdrew after the Islamic Revolution,¹ helping to spur Iran’s drive for nuclear self-sufficiency that continues to this day.

    With Iran’s strategic location...

  7. CHAPTER TWO THE FIRST CRISIS
    (pp. 57-96)

    President Rafsanjani and his successor, Muhammad Khatami, followed a policy of international engagement to reduce tensions with the West, and particularly the United States, that had erupted after the Islamic Revolution. Hand in hand with Rafsanjani’s postwar reconstruction agenda, his government sought to improve economic ties with the West, as well as neighbors such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Arab states. What Rafsanjani established in 1990 as a policy of “dialogue” was promoted in Khatami’s reformist administration to “dialogue of civilizations” to reach a lasting understanding with the West.¹

    The Iranian government condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11,...

  8. CHAPTER THREE FROM TEHRAN TO PARIS
    (pp. 97-156)

    Hassan Rouhani was appointed to the newly created post of Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator by general consensus in a meeting of high-ranking officials on October 1, 2003. Rouhani told me, “I declined to take on this responsibility but then changed my mind following a private meeting with the Leader on October 5, where he told me, ‘This is a responsibility on my shoulders, relieve me of it and take on the responsibility.’” Rouhani and his team then set out to design a framework for a new strategy in dealing with the nuclear issue.¹ The members of this team had been...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR FROM THE PARIS AGREEMENT TO THE 2005 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
    (pp. 157-184)

    Iran faced a long and difficult process after the conclusion of the Paris Agreement. This process can be divided into short-term and long-term phases. The former included measures to guarantee EU compliance with the agreement. Tehran maintained that dropping the nuclear case from the provisional agenda of the November session, along with Iran’s immediate membership in the multilateral nuclear approaches committee, would be early signs of Europe’s good faith. One of the EU3 negotiators told me that it was simply impossible because the IAEA director general had been requested by the Board of Governors to report on Iran in November...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE THE LARIJANI PERIOD
    (pp. 185-224)

    The ninth government came to power at a time when there was potential for an agreement between Iran and the EU3 for launching uranium enrichment in the pilot facility at Natanz and restarting activities at the Isfahan uranium conversion facility.¹ At the beginning of the Ahmadinejad period, the difficulties faced when the crisis first began in late 2002 were less intensive. The EU3 was replaced by the P5+1, which brought Washington, Beijing, and Moscow to the negotiation table. With Ahmadinejad in power, the nuclear policy became aligned with the supreme leader’s real intentions. For the first time in the history...

  11. CHAPTER SIX TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL
    (pp. 225-258)

    On January 30, 2006, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany agreed on a statement requiring the IAEA to report Iran’s case to the Security Council. The statement, which was also endorsed by the European Union foreign policy chief and issued in London, noted that the ministers agreed that the Board of Governors should make a decision in its extraordinary meeting to compel Iran to take necessary steps.¹ In the statement, the P5+1 emphasized that the UN Security Council should wait for ElBaradei’s March report before making a final decision. The statement also noted that the...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN BACK TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND A NEW DOMESTIC SITUATION
    (pp. 259-288)

    On December 23, 2006, the UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1737 against Iran. The resolution urged Iran to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment that could lead to production of fuel for a nuclear power plant or the building of an atomic bomb.

    The following points are noteworthy about Resolution 1737:

    The resolution relied on Article 41 of the UN Charter, which made it binding but excluded military action.

    All countries were called upon to prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of items that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing, or heavy-water-related activities, or to the development of...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT IRAN ALONE: THE JALILI PERIOD
    (pp. 289-320)

    Other developments occurred in Iran’s nuclear case in 2007 beyond Larijani’s resignation. One of the most important achievements was an agreement between Iran and the IAEA known as the “modality agreement,” or “work plan.” Put forth as a “Plan of Action” in summer 2007, it was developed by Larijani’s team and the IAEA to resolve all of the IAEA’s remaining ambiguities, including the “alleged weaponization studies.” The director general and Larijani devised the modality/work plan focusing on plutonium, P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, the source of uranium contamination in the University of Tehran’s Faculty of Technology, metal hemispheres, plutonium-210, and the...

  14. CHAPTER NINE U.S. ENGAGEMENT
    (pp. 321-370)

    From September 27, 2008, when the Security Council voted to issue Resolution 1835 against the Islamic Republic, until approximately twenty months later, that is, June 9, 2010, when Resolution 1929 was issued, the file on Iran’s nuclear activities for a variety of reasons fell into a kind of diplomatic, political, and even security slump.

    Before Resolution 1835, the UN Security Council and the P5+1 group had issued a statement and four resolutions (1696, 1737, 1747, 1803) against Iran and had adopted sanctions against it. With this in mind, some predicted, based on comparative models, especially North Korea, that the pace...

  15. CHAPTER TEN THE CRISIS WORSENS
    (pp. 371-430)

    On February 18, 2010, Yukiya Amano’s first report on Iran to the IAEA Board of Governors was published. It consisted of ten pages and 51 paragraphs and followed up on the Western world’s sharp criticism of Tehran. Some of its requests were similar to those in Mohamed ElBaradei’s reports, though Yukiya Amano’s requests were considered more explicit and forceful. The new director general showed that unlike his predecessor, he had no intention of issuing equivocal reports. Amano showed more determination to obtain answers to questions about the goals and nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

    In my view, this report was...

  16. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 431-470)

    This section analyzes the challenges, approaches, and achievements of Mohammad Khatami’s nuclear negotiation team, as well as those of its successors under the Ahmadinejad administration. In short, Khatami’s interactive diplomacy, which was a continuation of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s “détente” policy, was highly successful in achieving its goals, given the circumstances facing Iran after the August 2002 revelations that Iran was building an underground uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

    The Khatami administration was successful in its primary goal of preventing economic or political sanctions and indeed the referral of the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council as a threat to...

  17. NOTES
    (pp. 471-552)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 553-596)
  19. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 597-597)
  20. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    (pp. 598-598)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 599-599)