February 23, 2012

Israeli Diplomat Car bombing and India Iran relations

A sober and balanced article on Car bomb attack on Israeli diplomat in New Delhi and Tel Aviv’s crude attempt to exploit it to create dissensions between India and Iran .

On the whole Indians barring ignorance based arrogant empty heads like Goswami or US/Mumbai corporate counts and countesses of IndExp , the coverage has been wholesome . 911, many Americans believe had Mossad’s hand. Israeli interlocutors on TV channels were pre-emptory and vulgar as if talking to US senators or congressmen , who if they do not obey Tel Aviv’s dictates can be defeated in the next elections. Even when Washington is not sure who did the bombing, Netanyahu etc, within half an hour were blaming Tehran .Many Indians were not amused and wondered if Israel had a hand in it. Some in Pakistan believe that US sacrificed its Amb with Gen Zia , since the former was not supposed to travel with Zia , who carried the envoy along with him into the plane . Tehran is too sophisticated and would not be party to such crudities .It is believed by some that Lockerberie was revenge for US shooting down an Iranian plane but Libya was framed and paid the price .The trial was rigged up . Cheers Gajendra

Asia Times 23 Feb 2012

Delhi dances, Tehran wants to talk By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

PALO ALTO, California - One week after the Israeli Embassy car blast in New Delhi, reports in India's media indicate that investigators are still in the dark and have not achieved any breakthrough.

This is amid growing speculation that this may have been a case of "homegrown terrorism", ie Muslim militants sympathetic to the Palestinian cause; without ruling out the possibility of a Pakistani hand to harm India's relations with Iran and thus to alter the regional strategic picture.

Yet, it is abundantly clear that the blast has triggered a disproportionate political impact, pressurizing the Indian government, which has decided to continue and even expand its ertvital energy relations with Iran irrespective of mounting Western sanctions.

As expected, the United States, European and Israeli governments and their media mouthpieces have joined hands in a well-orchestrated campaign to criticize Delhi's Iran policy and to try to convince it to curtail or even cut off its Iranian energy imports.

While India has signed on to various United Nations sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, it is not going along with financial measures imposed by the United States and the European Union to stop countries from buying Iranian oil.

India was Tehran's second-biggest crude customer last year after China and Iranian oil accounts for about 12% of its needs, Reuters reported.

Nicholas Burns, a George W Bush administration official, has tried to guilt-trip India by accusing it of giving "a slap in the face to the US" by its "bitterly disappointing" decision to continue business-as-usual relations with Iran, tantamount to a "major setback" for the US's policy of Iran isolationism.

According to Burns, this shows that India is "out of step" with the international community and is still behaving like a "regional power" rather than a global power. [1]

In fact, the opposite is true. By refusing to toe the American and/or Israeli line on Iran, India has demonstrated its autonomy and international prestige as a rising global power that acts according to its own incandescent atmosphere, needs and priorities, instead of melting before outside pressures.

This is not purely a question of India's "energy needs", but rather a delicate balancing act that involves the complicated interplay of several variables beside economics; namely, national identity, sovereignty and independent foreign policy in a complex world that, as in the case of India's cordial relations with both India and Israel, reflects the difficulties of making constant adjustments in a highly fluid milieu.

With its nearly 140 million Muslims, including 36 million Shi'ites, India is compelled to be sensitive to the natural sympathies of its largest minority population that may be radicalized if the government tilts in favor of Israel and sacrifices its Iran interests in order to appease US and Israeli politicians.

This recalls what this author wrote four years ago in Asia Times Online:India does not fully operate as the US wishes and is unlikely to fulfill the new role discretely assigned to it by the direct implications of the nuclear agreement, such as acting as a counterweight to China or even Russia, in light of improved India-China relations. Pursuing multiple win-win scenarios that partially collide, India seeks its own aggrandizement and, quite simply, this may thwart rather than enhance the US's geostrategic interests in Asia in the long run. (Iran heartened by India's nuclear vote August 5, 2008.)Although beholden to Israel for sensitive military technology, India cannot afford to be seen in league with the Jewish state against Muslim Iranians, who are to receive a large trade delegation from India next week, and who have reportedly agreed to barter their oil for Indian wheat.

Nor can Tehran expect New Delhi to sacrifice its ties with Israel, although the Tehran media are pleased by reports indicating that some Israelis suspected of covert activities in India have been deported. [2]

A number of Tehran analysts have suggested that the February 13 blast in New Delhi, that injured the wife of an Israeli diplomat, has the hallmark of a "false flag operation" targeting India's energy relations with Iran. It has been compared to the 1992 bombing in Argentina, which was Iran's sole nuclear partner at the time and immediately ceased all its nuclear cooperation with Iran because of the bombing. (See Interpol's decision time on 'Iranian' bombing Asia Times Online, November 7, 2007.)

"Given the enormous importance of the issue, that is, forcing India to play along with the Western sanctions on Iran, it is not far-fetched to believe that Israelis would orchestrate a make-believe attack on their own interests in India so that Indian politicians would feel the heat and change course," says a Tehran University political science professor who spoke to the author on the condition of anonymity.

He adds that Iran is convinced that public opinion in India is sympathetic toward Iran, which "has heroically stood up to Western bullying. India is still a Third World country in so many ways and has a rich anti-colonial heritage as well as three decades of nuclear embargo by the West that resonate with the Iran scenario."

Inspection time in Iran
On Monday, a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Iran seeking a solution to the outstanding questions that the United Nations' nuclear watchdog has regarding Iran's nuclear program, which some suspect is designed to build nuclear weapons - a charge Tehran denies.

However, nuclear inspectors said no progress had been made as Iran did not grant requests to visit Parchin, a military site.

"We engaged in a constructive spirit but no agreement was reached," a statement by the inspectors quoted IAEA chief Yukiya Amano as saying.

No agreement was reached on how to begin "clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran's nuclear program, particularly those relating to possible military dimensions", the statement, issued on Wednesday, said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that the IAEA team was not there to inspect nuclear facilities. "The titles of the members of the visiting delegation is not inspectors. This is an expert delegation. The purpose of visit is not inspection," Mehmanparast said. "The aim is to negotiate about co-operation between Iran and the agency and to set a framework for a continuation of the talks," the Guardian of London reported.

This, together with Iran's official response to the European Union's request for a new round of multilateral nuclear talks, represents a new attempt by Iran to dispel the suspicion of nuclear proliferation and to reassure the outside world that its controversial uranium-enrichment program is peaceful.

Recently, Clinton Bastin, a top US weapons specialists, confirmed that Iran's nuclear program was civilian and not weapons-related and that the US should end its "dangerous threats" and should support Iran's nuclear program.

So should India, which could contribute much to, among other things, Iran's nuclear safety program and medical nuclear research.

But this is not likely, given India's civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with the US that is now being used as leverage to steer New Delhi away from Tehran.

Then again, even the likes of Burns know that it would be foolhardy for the US to risk its strategic relations with India, eyeing China, over Iran's nuclear program that, so far at least, lacks any discernible evidence of proliferation.

1 India's Iran stand a slap for US, says Nicholas Burns The Economic Times, February 20. 2. Israeli couple suspected of being agents, to be deported The Times of India, February 7.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) . For his Wikipedia entry, click here. He is author of Reading In Iran Foreign Policy After September 11 (BookSurge Publishing , October 23, 2008) and Looking for rights at Harvard. His latest book is UN Management Reform: Selected Articles and Interviews on United Nations CreateSpace (November 12, 2011).

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