Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Installations and Its Aftermath
Written By : Tariq Niaz Bhatti
In 2018, President Trump announced quitting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear dealand enforced stricter economic sanctions onIran. To counter the sanctions,Iran enhanced its efforts towards weapon gradeuranium enrichmentand sought a negotiated solution with the U.S. which never materialized. Tehran’s stated stance of eliminating Israel, its interventionist policies in Syria, South Lebanon and its support to Hezbollah and Hamas were always viewed with suspicion inTel Aviv and Washington.It is no secret that Israel had been trying to disrupt if not destroy Iran’suranium enrichment site at Natanz.In 2010,an Israeli cyber-attack,using a malicious computer worm called Stuxnet, destroyed over hundred high spinning centrifuges at Natanz.The attack delayed Iranian efforts to enrich weapon grade uranium for many years.
There had been several mysterious incidents in Iran starting in late June this year.At Parchin near Tehran, there was an explosion at a liquid fuel production facility for ballistic missiles and a fire at a power plant in Shiraz, both on June 26.There was a fire at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant on 2 July and blast at a medical clinic in Tehran that killed 19 people. A huge fire broke out in Shiraz on July 3 and an explosion and a fire in a power plant in Ahwaz followed by a chlorine gas leak at a petrochemical plant in Mahshahr on July 4. In a latest incident on July 15 a massive fire erupted in Delyar Shipyard in Bushehr, the port city home to Iran’s only nuclear power stations, setting at least seven ships ablaze. Independent analyst and intelligence officials claims that viewing the mutual animosity,attacks on both Iranian nuclear and non-nuclear sites seems a handy work of Israel. Natanz attack clearly reveals joint U.S. Israeli intentions to delay Iran’s strides towards weapon grade uranium enrichment.Israelhas recently launched its military satellite OFEQ-16 one of Israel’s many satellite which as claimed will enhance its ability to act against Israel’s enemies, near and far alike.This will further expose Iran againsthigh tech Israeli attacks in future.Iran’s response to these attacks was muted as years of economic sanctions has left it with a crippled economy and a brewing unrest in most parts of country due to price hike,inflationand rising cost of living.
After the1979revolution, Iran adopted region wide interventionist policies in the name of exporting the revolution. This prompted sectarian strife in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain and eastern provinces of KSA and a decade long war with Iraq. For its domestic consumption Iranwas on course to achieve past glories of Persian Empire. U.S.invasion of Iraq and subsequent formation of IranfriendlyGovernment in Baghdad provided Iran much needed land bridge to connectwith Syria. This helpedstart Iran’s proxy war with IsraelusingHezbollah and Hamas as tools. In the meanwhile Iran started developing its nuclear enrichment capacity to have its own nuclear weapon to counter allegedIsraeli bomb. Moreover Iran strongly opposes KSA for its custodianship of the two holy mosques and had supported Houthis war in Yemenagainst Riyadh sponsored coalition.
Indo-Iranian cooperation started with India agreeing to invest in Chahbahar Port and railway track liking the port with Zahedan nearAfghanistan border. In 2009, India had already constructed Zaranj-Dilaram Highway to link main Herat-Kandahar Highwayin Afghanistan withIranian border. These developments were part of India’s plans to facilitate its InternationalNorth-South TransitCorridor (INSTC) toenhance its trade with Central Asia and connecting Mumbai with Moscow at the far end. Due to mounting pressure from U.S. and its sanctions on Iran,India failed to honor its commitment and has recently been fired from building railway track linking port with Zahedan.
In a latest move,Iranis to sign a long term partnership deal with China for greater economic and military cooperation. Reportedly the road map, known as the Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership involves $400 billion Chinese investment in Iran’s oil, gas and transport sectors, with Beijing enjoying a 32% discount in crude purchases along with two-year payment breaks. The partnership pact will also grant the Chinese government a significant presence in a wide variety of other projects from security and telecom infrastructure to health and tourism. The partnership, as being claimed, will allow China to dispatch up to 5000 troopsto protect its interests in Iran as well as significant control over Iranian islands in the country’s southern business hubs. The partnership has also paved the way for Iran joining the CPEC, a formal announcement is awaited.
Iran has rightly joined China’s economic initiative in the Middle East and has also aligned itself with a rising economic super power. This amply highlightthe pragmatic Iranian approach to safeguard its economic and military interests in the wake ofeconomicsanctions and U.S. Israeli nexus. The Sino-Iran agreement will help in improving trade amongst China Pakistan and Iran and also deterIndia using Iranianterritory and sponsoring violence in Baluchistan.