Iran fears U.S. will pursue regime change, regardless
Paul Kerr, a non-proliferation expert for the Arms Control Association in Washington, says any deal worked out by Western countries, Russia and China with Iran would probably have to include a pledge by the United States not to seek regime change in Iran in exchange for Iran's agreement on limiting its nuclear program.
Kerr says Iran has been reluctant to cooperate with the UN Security Council in part due to fears that, regardless of what Iran does on the nuclear question, Washington will use the Council as a vehicle to pursue regime change in Tehran. However, he says Iran is likely to try to insist on keeping its laboratory research in nuclear enrichment, and that might make it impossible for a deal to be achieved. "Iran is willing to reach some sort of agreement on its nuclear program," Kerr says. "Now the Iranians will want to keep at least a research and development centrifuge facility. That's what they've indicated publicly. They seem to be willing to deal on other parts of the program, though, for example, to accept a cap on the degree to which its uranium is enriched."
If you were going to draft the basic outline of an agreement that could be reached, what would it have to include?
Any agreement would have to include a U.S. guarantee that, in the event that
Iran is able to negotiate a satisfactory agreement regarding its nuclear
program, Washington will not attack Iran or try to overthrow its
government. Iran has been reluctant to cooperate with the UN Security
Council partly because Tehran fears that, regardless of what Iran does on
the nuclear question, Washington will use the Council as a vehicle to pursue regime change in Tehran.
Any agreement should also describe, as clearly as possible, the steps that
Iran must take to satisfy international concerns about its nuclear program.
The United States should state clearly that, if Iran complies with these
steps, Washington will definitely support whatever positive incentives are
included in the agreement.
Clearly defining the parameters of Iran's commitments will be important
because the fear that the United States is pursuing a regime-change agenda
has also contributed to Iran's reluctance to undertake commitments that go
beyond its legal requirements under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and the IAEA safeguards agreement. Tehran is wary of participating in a potentially open-ended process that could lead to the same sort of Security Council action (resolutions, inspections, sanctions, military actions, etc.) that was taken against Iraq. Read more