On October 8, Iran's President Mohammed Khatami said Tehran will cooperate "to assure the world that we are not pursuing nuclear weapons, which truly we are not.'' He also, however, reaffirmed Iran's determination to continue enriching uranium as its "obvious legal right." This is the core dilemma. The October 31 IAEA-imposed deadline for Iran is fast approaching. Will Iran, as required, resolve all outstanding questions on its nuclear program, and suspend all its uranium-enrichment activity?
The International Atomic Energy Agency has demanded that Iran give a full and final accounting of its nuclear activities by Oct. 31, or risk action by the U.N. Security Council. Iran's eastern neighbor, Pakistan, and Pakistan's traditional rival, India, have already tested nuclear weapons. India's neighbor and rival, China, has been a nuclear power for many years.
Listen to a panel discussion with Thomas L. Friedman, Adel Abdellatif, and Gilles Kepel.
Even during the depths of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union often worked together to halt the spread of nuclear weapons to new countries. Unfortunately, the approaches being pursued by both countries will do nothing to slow Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons, and a new approach and better coordination is desperately needed before it is too late.
Reports indicate that samples taken by international inspectors in Iran reveal the presence of enriched uranium. If true, this could be the first hard evidence that Iran has purified uranium outside of safeguards and in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article III of the NPT requires the full application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards over all nuclear activities within a member country. Iran recently disclosed that it has been building a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and claims it plans to place the facility under safeguards. The United States and others maintain that the plant is intended for the production of uranium for use in nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.
A seminar on implementation of nuclear reductions now that the Moscow Treaty has entered into force, and the potential for cooperation on some of the proliferation “tough cases,” especially Iran and North Korea with an eminent group of Russian military and security experts.
Launch of an important new book, Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Emerging Threats in an Evolving Security Environment, featuring presentations by the book’s editor, Alistair Millar, and several of its contributing authors, including Joshua Handler, Timothy Hoyt, and Robert Nelson.
Despite predictions that the American march into Baghdad would unleash either a wave of democratization or a plague of repression throughout the region, in reality most Middle Eastern states are too preoccupied with domestic problems to be moved profoundly by events in Iraq. Iraq will have a political impact on the region, but changes are likely to come in smaller steps than commonly predicted.