What was once considered as cooperation between the two nations US and Iran, later turned into an international tension-causing issue. It all began in the 1950s, where everybody sought to help Iran in developing and assisting with nuclear technology, which is exactly what the US did through their program “Atoms For Peace”. Eventually this program was shut down in the 1980s, but recently Iran began experimenting with the nuclear power. This experimentation has created a bouncy situation for the third world nations. Now the main concern for the United Nations Security Council along with other countries is that Iran is definitely not using this nuclear power for an energy source, instead it is busy using this nuclear technology to stockpile weapons.
By July 2002 it was very clear that Iran has established 2 nuclear facilities for the enrichment of uranium, and a deuterium-oxide. It was highly likely that these two facilities were used to harness nuclear weapons. The nations were very suspicious of Iran’s activities as for every other nation Iran kept it a secret. Diplomats argued in the United Nations about the secret experiments Iranian scientists were performing. However Iranian diplomats denied any existence of nuclear weapons in the holy land. Now surprisingly if scientists were using nuclear power as an energy source then there was nothing to hide, instead Iran government denied any access to the IAEA inspectors on the land. As a matter of fact Iran has never been cooperative with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
Another important issue that has surfaced is the Israeli interference in Iran. Israel, like Iran is located in the Middle East. Israel is entirely different than Iran. Their administration system, their beliefs, their government structure are very different than that of Iran’s, in many more ways perhaps. But they have one thing in common; both the nations hate each other. Israel considers Iran an eminent threat; hence, it has taken every measure to stop its nuclear program. Mossad, the famous Israeli intelligence agency has assassinated some of Iran’s top nuclear scientists in an effort to stop Iran from continuing their nuclear program. They have also used computer viruses to infect the computer systems in power plants. These viruses are programmed to steal valuable information about the nuclear programs, power plants and it helps them sabotage their operations. Recently Israel threatened with a military strike on its nuclear power plants, if Iran doesn’t stop its nuclear program. On the other side President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in a public statement made it clear that he and the people of Iran are not afraid of threats and will never bow to any other nation. At this moment, both the actions and reactions of Israel and Iran are posing a threat to the world peace.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed in 1968. Currently 189 countries have signed it including the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The member nations are allowed to have nuclear weapons under the treaty. However Iran is a signatory to the NPT, while Israel is not.
The NPT has three main objectives. The first is non-proliferation, which states that nations with nuclear capability will not assist nations without the nuclear power in acquiring nuclear weapons, and nations without the nuclear capability will seek assistance to do so. The second objective is disarmament of nuclear weapons in a hope that nuclear power nations will disarm themselves from nuclear weapons in the future. The third objective is the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which means nations can use nuclear power for peaceful means. As Iran is a signatory of the NPT, it should abide the rules.
One the whole, there are two major international organizations that are involved with Iran’s nuclear program. One is the IAEA, which is the international organization responsible for monitoring nuclear energy programs and ensuring that they are strictly for peaceful uses. The IAEA in their final report stated that no evidence has been found that would indicate Iran’s hunger for nuclear power; however in individual statement the inspectors of IAEA did witness high level of uranium enrichment. It does require a scientist to prove that higher uranium enrichment is specifically used for making weapons, but no evidence of nuclear weapons have been found. However, Iran has grown increasingly wary of the IAEA, and many times accused the organization of pro-Western biased statements.
The second organization that has dealt with this issue is the United Nations Security Council. The UNSC has passed many resolutions regarding with respect to nuclear situation in Iran. Since 2006, the UNSC has passed seven resolutions in response to Iran’s nuclear program; they are Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835, 1929, and 1984. These resolutions clearly demand Iran to stop their nuclear program. Iran ignored these resolutions and declared United Nations as pro-Western biased organization. United Nations retaliated by suspending talks with the Iranian government and posed sanctions. These sanctions on Iran virtually crippled their market and by the end of 2010 trade with Iran were stopped.
This is a very important issue and it should be dealt as soon as possible. With the increase in volatility in the Middle East tensions between Iran and Israel are at its worst. The focus of the solutions should be on Iran. It needs to be determined if Iran is violating the NPT or it poses a security threat to the international community. If it is the case, then Security Council should determine what type of actions should be taken in case sanctions are effective, especially if nations such as Venezuela, Russia, or China may be potentially cooperating. If not, the Security Council needs to authorize another agency such as the IAEA to ensure that Iran is continually complying with the NPT. More broadly, the major issue is to address the tensions between Iran and Israel, especially when both sides are on Mexican standoff.
Surprisingly Iran still believes that the Security Council and IAEA are pro-Western bias organization or are working for the United States. This has lead to poor or almost no cooperation and hostility. Another issue is that Iran considers the United States as an enemy. In the past, the international community has tried to engage Iran in different ways. Usually the Security Council’s permanent five members lead the way. Well, European powers such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have discussed this issue more diplomatically than the US. But sometimes it is always better to seek help from the fewer allies of Iran.
Anant Mishra is former youth representative United Nations. Almost 4 years, he has served in number of committees including United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and United Nations General Assembly primarily focusing on international trade, middle east crisis, education, finance, economics. He can be reached on [email protected]
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