What’s The Problem With Iran?

TFF PressInfo 1-2013

On Tuesday February 26, in Kazakhstan, a new round of negotiations are due between Iran and the Five Permanent UN Security Council members + Germany. We’d like to bring the following expert statement to your attention.

Contacts for interviews as well as analytical sources below the statement.


The problem is not nuclear weapons, essentially. It’s strategic interests such as control of oil and gas and that requires a change of Iran’s ‘obstinate’ and ‘defiant’ regime.

The present US/NATO/EU policy is based on escalating threats without an exit strategy. This increases the risk of war, whether intended or not. If that is not the deliberate purpose, an entirely new Western policy vis-a-vis Iran must be developed.

The Transnational Foundation in Sweden – an independent think tank with 27 years of experience – provides you with the diagnosis, the prognosis and the proposals for improved relations built on trust.
 (See below.)

Lacking evidence for policies

According to the highest intelligence authority in the U.S., National Intelligence Estimate, and its sister in Israel, Mossad, this much is clear: There is no evidence that Iran has decided to build nuclear weapons.

Of course, Iran may start such a program, but to establish Iran as a nuclear weapons state (with a credible projection capacity) like Israel’s 80-200 nukes, would take very many years.

West’s policies are wrong and could make Iran a threat

Respect and trust are the essential ingredients if the goal is to persuade Iran – a world civilization of some 6,000 years – to not acquire nuclear weapons.

But the three things the U.S./NATO/EU do vis-a-vis Iran is fundamentally counterproductive to trust-building: 

1) Ever more suffocating sanctions will, if continued, lead to an Iraq-like genocide on the innocent Iranian citizens.

2) The oil embargo costs Iran US$ 100 million per day and cripples the economy.

3) Bombing threats increase the likelihood that Iran will feel insecure and humiliated and, logically, invest more in armament.

These components lead to increasing smuggling and lawlessness, and even larger income gaps in Iran; they undermine the middle class that could bring about political change and – essentially – make people stand with the leadership and undermine oppositional policies.

Double standards

Nuclear weapons states possess some 17,000 nukes. None of the governments that argue that Iran should not acquire nuclear weapons have done anything substantial to achieve the goal of nuclear abolition stipulated in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We should talk much more about possession than about proliferation of nuclear weapons. 

Due to this duality – ”we including Israel shall have them, Iran shall not” – the moral capital of the U.S./NATO vis-a-vis Iran is much smaller than usually assumed.

Furthermore, the Iranians remember well the US-British coup against the democratically elected Dr. Mossadegh in 1953, ushering in the Shah’s dictatorship until 1979 – as they remember that the West were firmly behind Saddam Hussein’s war on Iran.

Should Israel and the West fear Iran?

No – Iran’s military expenditure are roughly the same as Norway’s and amounts to US$ 7 billion. That is 1% of the military expenditure of the United States; and is half as big as Israel’s, whose population is 1/10 of Iran’s. Iran has not invaded any other country for more than 200 years.

The Iranian leadership knows well that, under such ‘correlations of forces’, it would be suicidal to start a war.

Constructive proposals for a new Iran policy

TFF has about 20 policy proposals as to what all sides can do to reduce the risk of war and facilitate trustful relations between the West and Iran.

They are based on our Associates’ experience from other conflict situations and several visits we have made to Iran.

You’ll find these proposals in the source material below. But we know it is easier for you to call or mail us.

Who is TFF and why are we qualified?

The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF, in Lund, Sweden (www.transnational.org) is independent of government and corporate funding and thus conducts truly free research.

Thanks to its 60 expert Associates around the world, it has a well-respected capacity from on-the-ground conflict analysis and mediation work in e.g. Georgia, ex-Yugoslavia, Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Burundi.

For 27 years TFF has worked for the UN Charter goal of peace by peaceful means. 

TFF produces truthful, comprehensive analyses and critiques the exaggerated use of violent means. That’s diagnosis and prognosis. But we also do treatment because the world will not become a better place without constructive dialogue and ideas. 


Dr Jan Oberg, TFF director
Write Email
+46 738 525200

Dr Gunnar Westberg, TFF board member

Write Email
Phone +46 72 744 30 23 or +46 31 82 86 92

Dr Farhang Jahanpour
, TFF Associate
Write Email
Dept. of Continuing Education, member of the Kellogg College, Oxford
Former professor at Isfahan’s University
, Iran
Phone – call Jan Oberg’s number

TFF Sources

Iran, Israel and the USA

By Gunnar Westberg

Room for optimism in Iran and the P5+1 talks

By Farhang Jahanpour

Israel’s nuclear weapons
By Jonathan Power, TFF Associate 

Attacking Iran – Disaster for the region and the whole world

By Johan Galtung, TFF Associate

What to do instead of bombing Iran?

By Jan Oberg, video

For a de-nuclearized Middle East

By Daisaku Ikeda, TFF Associate

The U.S. Congress pushes for war with Iran

By Stephen Zunes, TFF Associate

An innocent victim of our sanction against Iran

By Jan Oberg

Iran and Israel – What the West should and can do

By Jan Oberg

Was it wrong to support the Iranian revolution because it turned out badly?

By Richard Falk, TFF Associate


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