As diplomats from the 190 signatory countries gather in New York this week for the five-yearly review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran will surely be present in many minds. Although some warning signs had been issued by various intelligence services during the previous decade, concern over Iran's nuclear programme became widespread in August 2002, with the discovery of the Natanz installation, destined for uranium enrichment. In October 2003, an agreement was reached in Tehran, between Iran and the foreign ministers of the three big members of the European Union, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Iran agreed to suspend all enrichment-related activities, adhere to the International Atomic Energy Agency's additional protocol requiring more intrusive inspections, and provide full information about its nuclear programme. In return, the EU-3 promised that the issue would not go before the UN Security Council and pledged to provide technology to Iran, including in the civil nuclear area. However, the IAEA later found that a report submitted by Iran omitted references to activities involving advanced centrifuges and to the production of polonium, a material used in the making of nuclear bombs.
[...] Einhorn, transatlantic strategy on Iran's nuclear programme” Washington Quarterly 2004), pp. 22-23 High Representative for CFSP, Background on agreement on Iran's nuclear programme (15 November 2004), S0304/04 Robert J. Einhorn, Op. cit., p Ibid. European Council, EU strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, (December 2003) William Walker, “Nuclear order and disorder”, International Affairs 2000), p Scott Sagan, do states build nuclear weapons? Three models in search of a International Security 1996), pp. 54-86 Ibid., pp. 57-62 Ray Takeyh, “Iran builds the Survival 2004), p Robert J. [...]
[...] The examples given here are those of France, which desired to foster its national prestige and independence through its nuclear weapons, and Ukraine, which was cajoled by the international community into giving up its Soviet-inherited nuclear arsenal, as the issue was framed in terms of image and respectability. Sagan contends that this model calls for policies that would increase the likelihood that norms will push proliferation-prone countries toward policies that serve disarmament. It seems indeed, as we have noted above, that Iranian conservatives have been quite successful in presenting the issue of Iran's nuclear programme in terms of national independence, a stance which is likely to find a positive echo in the population. [...]
[...] In November 2004, the EU-3 returned to Tehran and a new agreement was reached, with Iran committing itself to suspend all enrichment- related activities, and the Europeans reconfirming Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with the NPT, promising negotiations on a trade and co-operation agreement and enhanced dialogue, as well as opening up the prospect of Iranian WTO membership. However, Iran has since on April 30th let it be known that it may carry on enrichment activities, confronting the international community with a new challenge. [...]
[...] Moreover, two of the EU-3 and their main partner, the US, are vulnerable to Iran's claim that they apply double standards to nuclear proliferation. Therefore, spelling out an appropriate strategy to stop Iran's nuclear activities seems likely to stumble over conflicting elements. In general, commentators appear to agree on the fact that a resolutely enforced mix of sticks and carrots may work. Robert Einhorn thus suggests that Iran be confronted with a stark choice between isolation or integration in the international community. [...]
[...] So far, it seems that offering prospects of increased trade and technical cooperation has been a route largely taken by the EU-3, with the promise of EU support for Iranian WTO membership, as well as enhanced dialogue between the EU and Iran covering the areas of technology and co-operation, nuclear issues, and political and security issues. There is indeed room for manoeuvre to exploit Iran's economic weaknesses: with a total population of 70 million, one-third of Iranians are reckoned to be under 14 and two- thirds under 35, inflation is at about 17 per cent, and official unemployment at 16 per cent. [...]
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