Iran now lies at the center of the Middle East's major problems: civil wars in Iraq and Lebanon, development and security challenges in Afghanistan and in the Gulf, oil crisis, etc. But the main issue concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran for the international community is the development of its nuclear program. Nuclear proliferation is an issue that is regulated under a multilateral Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by the UN-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but that also involves the UN Security Council, as it constitutes a threat to peace and security. It is thus interesting to analyze the challenge of Iran nuclear program in this multilateral perspective. Iran is a party to the NPT since 1970 and the Islamic Revolution did not change this situation. The nuclear program was actually initiated in the 1950s by the Shah who benefited from US support (as Eisenhower had launched the Atoms for Peace program). In the 1970s, Iran even received assistance from the US, Germany and France for its technology and fuel supply. The decision to develop nuclear technologies was favored by the war with Iraq in 1980 and not by the fear of Israel or the US.
[...] There is however a possibility to influence Iran and succeed in curbing the nuclear threat. The US, EU members, Russia and China must agree on a package of incentives and sanctions used in negotiations. The Resolution 1737 has proven the change in Russia's and China's position as it was adopted under article 41, but also of the Non Aligned countries that condemned Iran's policy. It is important to notice that Iran is not like North Korea: if Kim-Il Song could accept to be an isolated pariah with an atomic bomb, Iran seeks a better regional situation and could accept to abide by NPT safeguards if it gains sufficient guarantees. [...]
[...] [This CRS report presents the international tools used to control nuclear proliferation, the role of the NPT, of regional agreements and of the IAEA.] UN Documents *Security Council, S/Res/1696, July (New York City: United Nations Documents, 2006) and S/Res/1737, December (New York City: United Nations Documents, 2006). [These 2 resolutions illustrate the change of tone of the international community as Iran appeared to be clearly unwilling to negotiate.] Websites *International Atomic Energy Agency: url: http://www.iaea.org/ Ray Takeyh, “Time for Détente with Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007. Joseph Cirincione, “Controlling Iran's Nuclear Program”, Issues in Science and Technology, vol.2, iss p.75-83. [...]
[...] “Iran Signs Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards”, December [online], available from the IAEA's official website: http://www.iaea.org/, Internet. Sharon Squassoni, “Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status”, CRS Report for Congress p.12. Iran's leaders profess that WMD is inconsistent with their ideology (and “religious principles”)and that they seek energy independence because of their finite oil resources, according to Kenneth Katzman, U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses”, CRS Report for Congress p.15-16. Edward M. Gomez, “WORLD VIEWS: German election reveals two or no winners; Iran asserts nuclear-energy production [...]
[...] [Although this article was written in 2004, it presents very well how the Iran nuclear issue can only be resolved through multilateral negotiations and how Europeans and Americans should unite their efforts.] *Gomez, Edward M., “World Views: German election reveals two or no winners; Iran asserts nuclear-energy production rights; Pakistani journalist bashes loutish Muslims”, San Francisco Gate, September press review covering the declaration of President Ahmadinejad in the United Nations condemning the NPT “apartheid” and asking the US to renounce its own nuclear weapons.] *IAEA Press Release, “Iran Signs Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards”, December [online], available from the IAEA's official website: http://www.iaea.org/, Internet. [...]
[...] Iranian leaders have also analyzed the situation of Pakistan and India which were sanctioned and considered as “pariahs” in 1998 after their nuclear tests but that are now reintegrated in the international community and even have developed close links with the US. The recent example of North Korea can be seen as another source of motivation for the nuclear program: whereas the negotiations were in a deadlock, the nuclear test of 2006 raised the fear of the international community and enabled North Korea to get an agreement. [...]
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