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  • India and the US: Squaring the Circle on Iran

    Attempts by India and the US to square the circle on the nature of India’s energy cooperation with Iran have hit high gear in the aftermath of Clinton’s visit.

    May 10, 2012

    Ajai Vir asked - How do you view the nuclear stance of Iran and North Korea? Is it similar in the context of geopolitics?

    S. Samuel C. Rajiv replies: Iran and North Korea have presented significant challenges to the international non-proliferation regime. Both countries face difficult regional security situations. However, there are differences in the two cases which make their respective nuclear stances also different.

    Iran is a regional power in its own right – a huge country (Robert Kaplan calls Iran ‘the greater Middle East’s universal joint’), significant population, massive natural resources, among other strengths. The only claim to fame for North Korea is its dubious nuclear status. While Iran is a theocracy with democratic elections, the other is an authoritarian state based on a personality cult.

    As regards their interactions with the non-proliferation regime, North Korea is no longer part of the NPT, while Iran had threatened in the past that it will quit the treaty if pushed to the wall. However, all of Iran’s ‘declared’ nuclear activities continue to come under NPT/IAEA safeguards. While Iran has not followed through on IAEA/UNSC resolutions since September 2005 urging it to stop its uranium enrichment activities among other requirements, North Korea has indulged in a series of nuclear and missile brinkmanship and has been unpredictable in its nuclear stance.

    Khamenei Strikes Back

    Khamenei may view this election as a means to restore his authority and reassure his followers that he is still firmly in control and will continue to safeguard the ideology of the Islamic Revolution.

    April 13, 2012

    To Stop Iran Getting the Bomb, Must We Learn to Live with Its Nuclear Capability?

    The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme, released on November 8, 2011, has effectively raised the global threat level. The agency faced the daunting challenge of making a judgement on how far Iran's nuclear programme has advanced and its potential for weaponisation on the basis of suggestive but dated, inconclusive and possibly fake evidence (hundreds of pages of evidence have been sourced to one laptop of unproven provenance given to the IAEA by a Western intelligence agency).

    March 2012

    Iran in the Israeli Calculus

    Israel is likely to calculate that it would better to wait and use diplomacy to push the major global and regional powers towards some kind of a joint venture against the much feared nuclear designs of Iran.

    March 13, 2012

    Tougher US Sanctions against Iran: Global Reactions and Implications

    US President Barak Obama recently signed a tougher sanctions law against Iran in a continuing bid to coerce Tehran into abandoning its nuclear programme. This Backgrounder discusses the reactions of the emerging powers to the new sanctions and their implications.

    February 28, 2012

    India and West Asian Political Tensions

    There is a real danger that India’s strategic space in West Asia could be further constricted due to the rising political tensions on account of the Iranian nuclear imbroglio.

    February 16, 2012

    Sectarian Strife Looms In The Middle-East

    By bringing the Syrian question to the UN Security Council on the basis of proposals formulated by the Arab League, led principally by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the western powers ran the risk of not only facing a combined Russia-China veto but of inflaming sectarian opinion.

    February 11, 2012

    Going Beyond the Public Statement on Iranian Oil

    Having rejected the western demand for oil sanctions, the real test for the Indian government lies in whether it can implement its public pronouncement.

    February 09, 2012

    Velayat-e-Faqih (Supreme Leader) and Iranian Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis

    There has been an increasing assertion of the velayat-e-faqih in Iranian politics in recent years. This has led to tensions between them and the presidential office in Iran. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to analyse the constitutional position of the velayat-e-faqih and how it has interacted with other institutions to shape Iranian foreign policy. The article critically analyses the relationship between the velayat-e-faqih and different popularly elected presidents.

    January 2012

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