After North Korea, the United States has found another nuclear challenge in the form of Iran’s development of nuclear power. Specifically, Iran admitted of petting a nuclear facility set to enrich uranium, a major constituent of nuclear bombs. This and failing to report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the elements of the program have set the issue in motion. Iran’s concealment of the program does not comply with the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) resulting to the creation of resolutions by the Board of Governors and the Security Council. These resolutions involve the “ratification of Additional protocols and taking action in accordance with its provision even before its ratification.” Iran merely dismissed the resolution as “illegal, illogical and politically motivated (Langenbach, et. al).”
These, and probably Iran’s position in the war with Iraq has caused a hostile reaction from the US and the EU (UK, France, Germany). Thus, led to the series of negotiations still left in process.
The US and the EU posits that Iran should be left with no chance of attaining knowledge in uranium enrichment as this would be a gamble of not only their nations’ security but would have an effect, internationally as well. Iran has implied their willingness to compromise by giving their assurance of safety regarding the use of nuclear power. They claimed that their production of nuclear energy would not be used as weapons but as mere source of energy and a possible economic investment. They proposed to have the uranium enrichment take place in Russia or in another part of the world to maintain international scrutiny. The US is not moved by these assurances, dismissing the proposal by threatening to leave the matter to the Security Council if they do not abandon the nuclear program (Karon).
Iran, in response to the allegations on developing nuclear weapons and to the resolutions imposed by the Security Council on their “non-compliance,” summons its rights based on the NPT to develop its own nuclear power as long as it is within the bounds of safety. Mohammad Elabaradei, the Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), although unable to give assurances of the nuclear program’s safety, said that they have not yet found any proof indicating that Iran’s nuclear program is developed to build nuclear weapons (“Elbaradei confirms Iran’s position on N-energy”).
Hassan Rohani, Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator and representative of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini defended Iran’s stance over the matter using exactly this argument, saying that there is no proof that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program. He said that there is nothing wrong in exercising the rights as indicated in the NPT. He claims that threatening Iran to abandon its nuclear project is treating the country on double standards as some other countries are allowed to do so (Rohani).
Just recently, US and the EU, together with Russia and China convened at Vienna to discuss a consensus on the issue. They had agreed to offer Iran a package of benefits which includes both that will foster the economic and political development of the country. Specifically included in the package is the provision of a light water power reactor, which is not exactly ideal for bomb-making, to replace Iran’s nuclear power facility. These and other benefits would be given to Iran if the country would agree to abandon their nuclear aspirations and if otherwise, the threat of action by the Security Council will carry on (Shannon).
But even with the threat, a drastic measure by the Security Council against Iran is not guaranteed, as the US has not yet convinced the Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran—especially with China and Russia as major members of the Council. China and Russia are known to be economic allies of Iran, with China, being dependent significantly on Iran’s oil and Russia, being Iran’s main supplier of materials needed to support its nuclear activities. Supporting economic and political sanctions against Iran would definitely pose an impact to the countries’ economy.
The UN considers the situation carefully, refusing any drastic approaches on the matter. Ambassador Cesar Mayoral of Argentina, the Security Council President for March said that there are things in which all council members agree on and there are still a lot of matters that need further discussion (Krastev). The UN, EU, China and Russia insist on a more diplomatic approach on the Iran issue as opposed to US’ more forceful approach.
Despite the opposition, it seems that Iran is firm in its stance. In an interview by Time Magazine, the Iran’s President, Ahmadinejad said that if the Security Council tries to impose sanctions on Iran, they might be forced to use “oil as weapon and deny access to international nuclear inspectors.” And if matters come to worse they are ready to defend themselves (Zagorin).
The Security Council is indeed in a critical position. With Iran and US both unyielding, the challenge is how the Security Council would keep matters diplomatic. Because to side with anyone would be a possible peril—another war would not be unfeasible.
Carney, J. Why not Talk? Time Magazine 22 May 2006. Time, Inc.14 June 2006 <http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1194031,00.html>.
“Elbaradei confirms Iran’s position on N-energy”. 11 December 2005. Iranmania™. 14 June 2006 <http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/ ?NewsCode=38561&NewsKind=Current+Affairs>.
Karon, T. Nuclear Breakthrough may Help Iran to Compromise. Time Magazine 12 April 2006. Time, Inc.14 June 2006 <http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1183187,00.html>.
Krastev, Nikola. UN: Full Security Council Discusses Iran Nuclear Issue. RadiofreeEuropeRadiofreeliberty. 15 March 2006. RFE/RL, Inc.. 14 June 2006 <http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/03/d48f2302-2af8-4a8b-b0cc-171d4da5e782.html>.
Langenbach, et. Al. The New IAEA Resolution: A Milestone in the Iran-IAEA Sag. November 2005. Monterey: Center for Non-proliferation Studies. 14 June 2006 <http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_69a.html>.
Rohanni, H. Iran’s Nuclear Program: The Way Out. Time Magazine 09 May 2006. Time, Inc. 14 June 2006 <http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1192435,00.html>.
Shannon, E. Speed Read: Decoding the Iran Diplomacy. Time Magazine 01 June 2006. Time, Inc. 14 June 2006 <http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1200263,00.html>.
Zagorin, A. Iran’s Nuclear Defense. Time Magazine 17 September 2005. Time, Inc. 14 June 2006 <http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1106227,00.html>.