NATO Not to Join Elimination of Iran’s Nuclear Potential

Azerbaijan, Baku, 10 October / Trend corr. D.Ibrahimova, T.Jafarov/ NATO will not be involved in elimination of Iran's nuclear potential, even although UN cannot solve the problem on its own.

"NATO has never been involved in discussions over the issue. The problem is out of organization's competence," Karl Harbo, who has been leading the UN mission in Asian and African countries for many years, said to Trend .

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at the world policy conference in France he was not sure about world's ability to stop Iran's nuclear program and to prevent the country from creating a nuclear bomb.

Scheffer mentioned NATO had not played a direct role in solving of the issue and voiced his concern about UN's failure to suppress Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Experts believe even if Scheffer's statement means NATO is joining settlement of Iran's nuclear issue, this will be inefficient.

According to Harbo, NATO's participation is complicated with deterioration of relations with Russia due to the conflict in Georgia, given the fact that Russia is involved in the group negotiating with Iran.

NATO lacks forces to continue the operations even in Afghanistan, said chairman of the France-based Iranian Researchers' Association Hossein Lajvardi.

According to Lajvardi, apart from the fact that most part of NATO forces is engaged in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, NATO observers operate in South Ossetia as well and are involved in settling of the Georgia-Russia conflict, which will prevent the alliance from taking part in solving the nuclear issue.

So, NATO has neither forces nor opportunities to join settling of the issue, for the bloc is involved in tackling prior problems.

That is a problem of UN, not NATO, said Ali Ansari, the author of the Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Roots of Mistrust book.

"Many issues on settling of the conflict depend on who will be US's new President," Ansari said to Trend in a telephone conversation from London.

US expert Ted Carpenter believes NATO may support the new sanctions, but that is unlikely to be efficient.

UK expert Robert Lowe, a member of the Chatham House research centre, has the same vision of the issue.

"Even should NATO be involved, there will not be considerable success in the relations with Iran. The United States will play the key role, like before," Lowe said to Trend in a telephone conversation on 9 October.

Iranian expert Bakhram Amirakhmedian, professor at the Tehran University, believes NATO will not interfere with the conflict, the more so as "the organization has failed to provide security even in Afghanistan".

"The NATO has weakened so much that it may commence negotiations with Taliban in near future," said Amirakhmedian.

According to Amirakhmedian, NATO's operation beyond its geographical borders has been inefficient so far.

"The Secretary General's pessimism reflects his fear that Russia and China will continue to oppose rigorous economic sanctions against Iran," Ted Carpenter, vice president for defence and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, said to Trend via e-mail on 7 October.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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