By Anthony Chimente
Iran and its purported nuclear weapons program has been a key tenant of United States foreign policy for the past decade. A nuclear Iran could destabilize the Middle East and, arguably, pose a threat to the state of Israel.
Thus far, the West has relied on diplomatic initiatives and sanctions to hinder the Iranian nuclear program.
“Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment, I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” said President Obama according to The Hill, articulating the position of the United States regarding a nuclear Iran.
The Obama Administration has been steadfast in its commitment to deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons by way of diplomatic means.
President Obama said, “I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy, backed by pressure, to succeed,” during an annual American Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference on March 4th, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The Iranians have been unwilling to allow IAEA inspectors to investigate their nuclear facilities in their entirety.
However, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Ali Asghar Soltanieh said, “We haven’t ruled out a visit to Parchin,” according to the Wall Street Journal, referring to the site where an explosion occurred while experimenting with uranium enrichment.
The IAEA has said, “Iran’s lack of cooperation with its inspectors has prevented the agency from determining whether Iran’s nuclear program is civilian or military in nature. U.S. officials have said Iran is developing technology needed to build nuclear weapons,” according the Wall Street Journal.
Apart from diplomatic initiatives, the United States and the West have implemented extensive sanctions against Iran. The Wall Street Journal has asserted that the main sanctions are targeted against Iranian oil exports, with goal of starving the Iranian government of revenue required to run its
While sanctions against Iran pertain to everything from airplane parts to oil, the sanctions targeted towards Iranian oil exports have thus far proved fruitless.
A key issue with regards to imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports is the world reliance on Iranian oil.
Apart from sanctions against Iranian oil exports, sanctions against the Iranian economy have been successful against the Iranian people. According
to The Australian, there are “accounts of widespread collapse across the economy, including substantial unemployment, the drying up of investment,
food shortages and hoarding.”
Abbas Bakhtiari, a musician based in Paris whose family is in Iran, told USA Today, “My family — my mom and my two sisters — never asked me for anything before….This is the first time they asked me to help them to pay their bills, and I’m talking about people who didn’t have financial difficulties.”
The Director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Iran Project in Washington D.C., Ali Vaez, told USA Today that, “What started as targeted sanctions to push back the nuclear program has in reality turned into comprehensive, broad sanctions that have hurt the Iranian people.”
Other efforts to hinder the Iranian nuclear program have been of a covert nature. Israel-based Ynet news has opined that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has assassinated countless Iranian nuclear scientist and key figures of the Iranian nuclear program over the past few years.
According to Ynet news, the assassinations constitute a key tenant of covert efforts to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
If diplomatic efforts and sanctions prove fruitless, a military strike will prove inevitable. President Obama affirmed this position to the pro-Israeli
lobbying group AIPAC on March 4th, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The President said, “I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say.”
While a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities is not off the table, the President cautioned about the potential of war with Iran, stating, “I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues, the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The U.S. red line isn’t clear. I’m not sure that the US itself knows at what point it would employ military force”, said Christopher Ferrero, a professor at Seton Hall University and an expert on Iran.
“A nuclear Iran wouldn’t be a good thing, but you need to ask what costs you are willing to incur to stop it,” added Ferrero.
Contact Anthony Chimente at email@example.com.