Nuclear Power and Iran Today

Why should Iran not be trusted with Nuclear power, which may lead to nuclear weapons? Is Iran breaking the NPT in any way? The U.S. Government defines its areas of objectionable Iranian behavior as the following: --Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; --Its support for and involvement in international terrorism; --Its support for violent opposition to the Middle East peace process; and --Its dismal human rights record. In other words, Iran has not demonstrated itself to be a responsible international player, and certainly not one to be trusted with nuclear power. On the second point: "In some ways, the challenge Iran poses to the nuclear nonproliferation regime is even more daunting. Although the evidence - including Iran almost 20 years of hiding all its nuclear fuel cycle efforts - clearly indicates a weapons program, it continues to argue that its program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

On September 24, the IAEA Board of Governors found that Iran violated its safeguards obligations. This finding requires a report to the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council will not replace the IAEA effort, but reinforce it - for example, by calling on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, and giving the IAEA new, needed authority to investigate all Iranian weaponization efforts. We continue to work with other IAEA Board members on the timing and content of the report of Iranian noncompliance to the Security Council.

We also continue to support the efforts of the United Kingdom, France and Germany - the EU-3 - to bring Iran back to the negotiations." The operative wording here is: "The IAEA Board of Governors found that Iran violated its safeguards obligations." Certainly, the evidence suggests Tehran is in violation of the NPT.

Will the US Military do something about the nuclear weapon in Iran? The following selected commentary from the Center for International and Strategic Studies: Diplomatic or economic penalties by the U.N. that reinforce the idea that Iran's sovereignty or rights are being challenged, however, are likely to backfire. The result of such measures would likely be increased support for the unpopular regime in Tehran.

The only possible exception might be targeting leaders in Tehran for direct penalties such as travel bans, economic sanctions, including money and property outside of Tehran, and even restrictions on the ability of their family members to travel or attend western schools. These might have some value in making the decision makers in Iran feel the affects of their actions, but are not necessarily enough to convince them to change their nuclear behavior. In the end, however, the United States and its allies must also think of what alternatives they are willing to provide to Tehran should it decide to change course.

While not a democracy, Iran is still a highly political country and any viable solution to the standoff must include some way for decision makers in Iran to justify their decision publicly. To be sure, it would be preferred if the United States could find a solution that would both end Iran's nuclear ambitions and weaken the regime, but such a compromise is unlikely to emerge unless the international landscape changes significantly. Offering Iran the ability to benefit from other forms of nuclear technology including the possible sale by Russia of additional nuclear power plants might end up being an important part of any political compromise.

On the military side, the chances of a U.S. strike against Iran soon are probably unlikely. Reasons include the fact that the U.S. military is already stretched thin, the virtual certitude that much of Iran's secret nuclear program would not be detected and destroyed, the likelihood that a military attack would turn a pro-U.

S. Iranian population against us and toward the regime, and the negative reactions likely to come from the international community. Experts are now talking about "containment" of Iran along the lines of our containment of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. While not ideal and also protracted, such a policy may be our only recourse for the foreseeable future.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.CombatCloth.info/. CombatCloth.info carries the best selection of combat clothing, gear, and accessories on the market.

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