Last Saturday, the United States and other key world powers met in Istanbul with Iran to discuss the development of a nuclear program. Although the talks were regarded as positive and constructive, global powers failed to begin the eradication of Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran and the West have been at odds over its nuclear program for years, and this trend is only picking up steam. Since Iraq’s invasion of Iran, the U.S. government has been increasing sanctions against Iran. In 1984, sanctions prohibited weapons sales and all U.S. assistance to Iran.
In October 1987, President Reagan issued an executive order prohibiting the importation and exportation of any goods or services from Iran. Since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 as the president of Iran, the United States’s sanctions have only increased. Ahmadinejad lifted the suspension of uranium enrichment that had been agreed upon by the EU3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) and the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Iran’s non-compliance with its safeguards agreement to the UN Security Council. It is here that we find ourselves.
I am chiefly concerned with Iran’s apparent instability and hostility within Middle Eastern countries. I worry of the possible ramifications associated with such countries acquiring nuclear weaponry. However, it seems equally plausible that if Iran is being asked to disable their nuclear weapons program, other countries should be asked to as well. Currently under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which attempts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom are NPT nuclear weapon states. Other states with nuclear weapons include India, Pakistan and North Korea.
States believed to have nuclear weapons and/ or weapons programs are Israel, Iran and Syria. Despite this, Iran is being pressured to end its nuclear weapons program. I understand the West’s concern about Iran’s nuclear program; mainly that Iran does not recognize Israel and has absolutely no diplomatic ties with the country.
Furthermore, there exists a concern among Western nations that Iran will divert its civilian nuclear technology to a weapons program. I think in discussions regarding Iran’s nuclear program, it is important to assess the effect that these sanctions have had on the Iranian economy and its people.
As we discuss these positive talks with Iran and its nuclear program, we must assess the nuclear programs of other countries. Specifically, we should stand true to our values and truly seek to eradicate all countries’ nuclear weapons programs, if that is a chief concern of ours. For a moment, we should talk about Israeli and Palestinian relations, a tense and often polarizing issue that has contributed to much of the panic regarding nuclear weapons programs in the 21st century.
Why are people so obsessed with Iran and Israel? Well, the anti-Israel rhetoric of Ahmadinejad has caused many, Western countries included, to worry about a potential nuclear attack against Israel. However, for almost the past decade, Israel has been prepared to take unilateral military action against Iran if it were to fail to stop the development of nuclear weaponry.
The two nations constantly find themselves in rhetoric of fear of nuclear attack and retaliation. Thus, it seems fair to concede that both nations should disable their nuclear development programs. In my eyes, not only is a threat posed to Western nations, but a threat is posed to Israel as well. Due to a threat being posed to Israel, a threat is posed to Iran.
When analyzing their relations, we have to remember that not only has Iran posed dangers to Israel, but Israel has also committed atrocities of its own. Throughout the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has constructed settlements for Palestinians while Hamas in Palestine have been involved in orchestrated attacks against Israel. Some Palestinians consider attacks against Israel to be a form of resistance against foreign occupation, while many Israelis view said attacks as terrorism. Clearly, there is severe tension between Israel and the Palestinians.
However, because the United States has a close relationship with Israel, it has supported Israel’s nuclear weaponry. The fact that we, as Western nations, will criticize one potentially hostile country for their nuclear programs while condoning the nuclear programs of other equally hostile countries is alarming. For, if we truly value nuclear proliferation and want to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, we should hold every country to a similar standard.
When it comes to nuclear proliferation, there should be no distinctions made, and no favorites taken into account as to which countries will be allowed to increase their nuclear weaponry or be forced via a sanction to dissemble theirs. Either we all form nuclear weaponry together or we all dissemble our nuclear weaponry and truly practice what we preach.
Contact Dena Robinson at [email protected]