By Mikaela Tenner
For years, there have been international concerns regarding Iran’s suspected development of nuclear weapons. Over the past decade, relations between Iran and Western nations have remained strained on the topic of nuclear proliferation. Many world leaders have worried that in the absence of a full disclosure program, Iran becoming a nuclear power could be a threat to the West. In order to come to an agreement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been in talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over the last few months. However, the deadline is quickly approaching and tension between the U.S. and Iran continues to mount as many wonder if the talks will need to be extended.
Although Iran is not known to currently have any nuclear weapons in its possession, 16 different U.S. intelligence agencies reported findings in 2012 of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapon development program. While it would not be surprising to now find them in possession of nuclear weapons, Iran is ironically party to several treaties condemning weapons of mass destruction, including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Of course, over the past 12 years, the U.S. has been on the forefront of condemning Iran’s suspected development of nuclear weapons, and has accused the nation of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for its failure to disclose information
As it stands today, the exact details of what a nuclear deal with Iran would entail remain unclear. The overall goal of the negotiations is for the U.S. to remove decade-old sanctions against the country in exchange for furthering the security of Western nations. The Western media has voiced its opinion, suggesting agreements that range from the complete disbandment of Iran’s nuclear technology, to the implementation of a more efficient disclosure program. The Iranian public, in response to the negotiations, has begun protesting because it believes that the U.S. expects too much of their government. Clearly, it is essential for the two world powers to strike a nuclear deal as soon as possible and avoid any riots that may ensue.
As the deadline to reach a deal approaches, many conservative politicians are calling for a complete disbandment of nuclear technology from Iran; however, this does not seem feasible. Despite the U.S. condemning other nations’ development of nuclear technology in the past, those nations have still managed to develop the technology. Furthermore, the U.S. is being rather hypocritical when you consider that eight other nations apart from the U.S. have their own nuclear weapons. For the U.S. to tell Iran to halt production of nuclear weapons is further proof of this hypocrisy, and there is no way to even guarantee that Iran will stop if the U.S. threatens them. Iran has carried on this long without U.S. approval, so it is doubtful that this would have a sufficient impact.
The more suitable option is the creation of a disclosure pact with Iran. Proposed primarily by more liberal politicians, this option would have Iran update western nations on the progress of its nuclear program. Iran would need to report information including, but not limited to: the stage the weapons are at, and how many weapons are being produced. While it is not ideal to allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, this option would at least give the U.S. oversight over the nuclear program and allow the West overall to be more knowledgeable about the threat that Iran poses.
From an outside perspective, one might find the U.S. fighting to stop other nations from developing nuclear weapons rather paradoxical. How can the nation who created and utilized the first nuclear weapons have authority over whether or not other nations do the same? As more nations continue to develop nuclear technology, it seems as though a better strategy is to work with them, and monitor their progress, rather than to completely ban it. It is key for the United States to work quickly with Iran in order to strike a nuclear deal in order to ensure mutual security for both nations.