Expert views Israel’s participation in NPT meeting a success for Iran’s foreign policy

May 11, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Israel’s participation at the NPT review conference in New York is a success for Iran’s foreign policy, a leading political analyst says.

“The very fact that Israel is attending the NPT conference has to be rated as a diplomatic success of Iran’s current foreign policy,” Arshin Adib Moghaddam, chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute, tells the Tehran Times.

Since 1995 Israel had refused to attend NPT conferences.

Adib Moghaddam says by attending the conference the Netanyahu regime finally “conceded to Iran’s diplomatic power”.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What was the reason that Israel after 20 years decided to attend the NPT conference hosted by the United Nations in New York?

A: The government of Netanyahu is clearly nervous about the diplomatic rapprochement between Iran and the United States. The decision to attend the conference has to be seen within that context. As the only country with nuclear weapons in West Asia and North Africa Israel is the true pariah in the region. The mirage of Iranian nuclear weapons that was created was meant to justify Israel’s current arsenal. By making it clear that Iran seeks civilian nuclear energy and by embarking on the diplomatic opening with the United States, Iran as turned the table. It is salutary, of course, that Israeli officials talk about a regional security dialogue. But to that end, any other country in the region would point out, Israel must stop its occupation of Palestinian territories. No Arab state, not even those that are willing to concede to Israel, are in the position to negotiate away Palestinian rights. The preference setting of the civil societies in the region would not allow that. There continues to be immense societal pressure on Arab states to pursue the Palestinian cause. But in principle, diplomacy and the language of regional reconciliation is a good start, but in the past Israeli leaders have failed to demonstrate good will in their actions.

Q: When do you think the Tel Aviv regime will decide to come clean on its nuclear activities? 

A: Not unless there is international pressure to that end. What is needed is a concerted diplomatic effort within the region, aided and abetted by the institutions of international society, to signal to Israel and other non-NPT states such as Pakistan and India that they have to be more transparent about their nuclear weapons programs. At the same time, according to the NPT, the existing nuclear weapons states should make concerted efforts to disarm their own arsenals. Intellectuals, civil society leaders, investigative journalists, etc. should repeatedly point out that a world without nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is desirable and a realistic alternative to the current state of managed anarchy. In West Asia and North Africa we need a permanent organization for security and cooperation under the auspices of the United Nations that would foster regional dialogue and diplomacy. All the other regions of the world, even Latin America, a long standing victim of imperialism, have managed to get their house in order. Here we are lamenting that there is sectarian strife, civil wars, poverty, death and destruction on a scale that is simply not acceptable anymore and that is very peculiar to the current set up in this region and none of our leaders is presenting a vision that is realistic enough to transcend the current situation. In Syria a whole generation has perished, in Iraq the same happened. Who is responsible for these human tragedies if it is not the regional leaders? I have always said that due to its size and heritage, and its own collective memory of war, Iran has a humanitarian responsibility to stand for peace and diplomacy in the region. The region and Iran needs more institutes for peace research, more intellectuals well versed in international relations, international law, global thought, more secular institutions focusing on regional diplomacy, more cultural diplomats who would forge exchanges between the peoples of the region beyond religion, ethnicity and social status. To that end, all options should be on the table and all countries in the region should be engaged.

Q: Can some issues like the geopolitics of the Red Sea create a kind of conciliation between Israel and some Arab countries? Or can Israel’s attendance in the NPT meeting be viewed from this perspective?

A: Once Iran will find a grand strategic accommodation with the United States and the European Union, all these issues will fall into place. I don’t think that Arab states can be seen to be too close to Israel. Arab civil societies would not stand for that and there would be another Arab Spring before any Arab state can forge close strategic relations with the current government in Israel. Palestine remains Palestine. No one with a clear conscious can accept the current occupation of Palestinian territories. Israel’s overtures to Saudi Arabia and Egypt or the attendance at the current NPT conference won’t make a difference in that regard. At the same time, as I have set out in “On the Arab revolts and the Iranian revolution”, the idea of Palestine is intertwined with the idea of Israel, so we have to stop thinking in dichotomous terms when it comes to this conflict. Once Iran settles its nuclear file, the country is well placed to garner diplomatic support that would address contentious issues holding the development of the region back, including the situation in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and on top of it the Israeli-Palestinian dialectic. The very fact that Israel is attending the NPT conference has to be rated as a diplomatic success of Iran’s current foreign policy. Ultimately, by attending the Netanyahu administration conceded to Iran’s diplomatic power.


The government of Netanyahu is clearly nervous about the diplomatic rapprochement between Iran and the United States. The decision to attend the conference has to be seen within that context