As the diplomatic efforts of the United States and other world powers continue to evolve, Iran’s ability to achieve nuclear weapons capabilities endures.
Following the execution of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) in January 2014, the clock began ticking on an interim deal that theoretically would impair Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear weaponry. In return, Iran received significant sanctions relief.
On its face, the JPA is indeed an important step in the ongoing effort to curtail Iran’s longstanding nuclear pursuit. However, the devil is in the details, and in reality, the JPA is a toothless plan that in all probability will not achieve its desired effect.
The terms of the JPA will not fully prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. It may hinder their ability to do so to a certain extent, yet, it does not inhibit them from continuing to take certain steps in furtherance of their ultimate nuclear goals. Iran can continue enriching uranium, albeit at a reduced rate, and continue to maintain its centrifuges. As it stands currently, Iran is reportedly a mere several months away from having enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb.
Despite the interim agreement that is in place, for Iran, it is essentially business as usual for its ambitious and aggressive nuclear program.
The failure of the JPA to mandate a complete cessation of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and the absence of a requirement that they dismantle their nuclear facilities, while simultaneously providing Iran with a respite from the sanctions, has the potential to further exacerbate the Iranian nuclear threat.
Although the United States’ mantra regarding Iran has been to give peace a chance, the fact is that Iran has not proven itself to be an honest broker. As the world’s most prominent state sponsor of terror, Iran continues to finance terrorist activities through its proxies, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and terrorists throughout the world. Its continued support of the Syrian government, which has carried out mass killings of innocent citizens, is confounding , and its brazen attempt several months ago to ship a cache of deadly weapons to Islamist militants in Gaza for probable use against Israeli cities and citizens was shocking.
Diplomatic overtures have been made, yet Iran has responded with actions and deeds that demonstrate an utter disdain for the process and for the attempt to achieve any semblance of a peaceful resolution to its nuclear situation.
In light of all this, Iran and other world powers are meeting in Vienna to try and break the impasse and achieve a final resolution as to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and capabilities.
What I found particularly troubling was something that I read in The New York Times on May 13th in an article entitled “Nuclear Talks Will Confront Iran’s Future Capability to Enrich Uranium.”
“As Ms. Rice (referring to Susan E. Rice, the National Security Advisor) and Ms. Sherman (referring to Wendy Sherman, the chief American negotiator) have told American lawmakers and outside experts, the key is to leave Iran with a face-saving nuclear infrastructure [emphasis added] that would allow its clerics and the nation’s Revolutionary Guards commanders the ability to argue that they have not given up the right to produce nuclear fuel, but with a small enough capability that the White House can overcome Congressional objections.
A “face-saving nuclear infrastructure?” Is that the objective here? Pardon my naiveté , but I would have thought that the goal would be not to save face, but to save the world.
We need to forget about helping Iran save face and instead focus on ensuring that the terms of the final agreement truly eliminate any possibility that they will have the wherewithal to construct nuclear weaponry. We must concentrate on making sure that Iran’s research and development program related to its centrifuges is terminated. We have to emphasize the importance of enabling monitoring personnel from the International Atomic Energy Agency to access Iran’s nuclear facilities without any restrictions whatsoever so they can get an accurate picture of exactly what Iran is doing on the nuclear front.
There is no doubt that a nuclear Iran poses a serious threat to Israel, to the Middle East region, and to the world at large. All of us would undoubtedly be better served if the international community came together and put Iran’s feet to the fire with the threat of stronger sanctions and perhaps the use of a military operation if Iran fails to forego its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
With so much at stake, helping Iran save face should certainly not be a concern. At the end of the day, we need to protect ourselves, not Iran’s image.