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Analyze current international situation

Iran’s nuclear program is now the focus of an international controversy and standoff. While Iran say’s its nuclear program is peaceful, many western powers fear Iran might be planning to develop an atomic bomb with the use of its highly enriched uranium. Iran has dismissed the allegations. And as a result, the international community is split into two parties over Iran’s right to a nuclear program. While western powers want Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, eastern powers tend to believe that Iran has the right to carry on with a peaceful nuclear program. But the question on some lips is: How peaceful is Iran’s nuclear power?

Iran’s nuclear program began in the 1950s through the support of the United States. It was launched as a subsidiary of Atoms for Peace program. But the program was halted after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The current nuclear program includes a number of research sites, a uranium mine, a nuclear reactor and uranium processing facilities that are equipped with a uranium enrichment plant. In the course of the long-running nuclear standoff with the west, the Iranian government has maintained that the goal of the program is to generate 6,000 MW of electricity by 2010. But this is not getting along so easily with western powers.

And as of November 15, 2007, the global nuclear what dog — the IAEA – said it had seen “no concrete information” to support the view that Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear bomb. Iran has categorically dismissed the western suspicion and insists that it will not leave western powers usurp its right to a peaceful nuclear program. The country has defied UN calls for it to stop enriching uranium. In 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami released Iran’s plans to embark on a nuclear program aimed at producing enriching uranium to fuel nuclear reactors and power plants.

Since Khatami’s announcement on February 9, 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has visited Iran on a regular basis to assess the depth and direction of the country’s nuclear program. The news was condemned by the Bush administration which suspects Iran’s program has a second motive — to develop nuclear weapons. Although the international community has asked Iran to reveal the details of its nuclear program, some super powers — like Russia and China — have not taken a strong stance on the issue. Some critics say Iran has no case for a peaceful nuclear program.

They argue that Iran’s nuclear program cannot be economically justified looking at the country’s huge oil and gas reserves. The U. S. says that Iran does not need nuclear energy at all. The country has enough energy resources to generate the required electricity to use for commercial purposes. “When Shah Mohammed Reza started Iran’s nuclear energy program in 1974, NPPs could not be justified economically: Iran’s population was less than half of its present 70 million, oil production was about 5. 8 million barrels per day (bpd), far more than the present daily production of 3.

9 million bpd, domestic energy consumption was less than a quarter of consumption today, natural gas was being burned to be eliminated, and unlike now, Iran’s oil reservoirs were not in decline. ” Many critics of Iran’s nuclear program use the above facts to draw hasty conclusions that Iran’s uranium enrichment program is aimed at developing an atomic bomb. But on the other hand, the above argument can be challenged. That’s because other countries like Great Britain, Canada, and Russia, all oil exporters, turn to nuclear power plant (NPP) for a significant portion of their electricity needs.

Iran must not be an exemption to the norm. Russia, for instance, harbors about 25 percent of the world’s gas reserves. But it still relies on NPP for electricity generation. Canada exports about 1. 5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil to the U. S. And it still continues to build NPP for electricity generation. From the time Iran signed its first agreement to build NPP and today, the use of nuclear power to generate electricity has increased more than tenfold. In this light, it’s possible that Iran might not want to lag behind.

According to the Iranian government, 10 percent of Iran’s electricity is to be supplied by NPPs, 20 percent by hydroelectric, 5 percent by other sources by the year 2021. The other 60 percent shall come from natural gas, hence eliminating Iran’s reliance on oil for generating electricity. According to the government, this will increase Iran oil export, reduce reliance on fossil fuels for the generation of electricity as well as cut down greenhouse emissions. About 20 percent of the world’s electricity is currently generated from NPP, and that amount is expected to rise to 27 percent by the year 2021.

“Using NPPs and diverting some of the natural gas currently used for generating electricity to other uses have many externalities for Iran–benefits that arise when decisions of some economic agents affect the interests of other economic agents. ” Iran’s nuclear energy program has the capacity to lead to an improvement of capabilities for the construction of technological infrastructures. It can also lead to the creation of a new breed of technocrats and scientists in Iran. That means Iran stands to benefit more foreign revenue, cleaner air quality and the improvement of knowledge and capacity of its scientists.

Critics also claim that a nuclear Iran will lead to an arms race in the Middle East. But the truth is that other nations in the region – such as Israel, Russia, Pakistan, and India — currently have nuclear weapons. Other nations like Turkey is a member of NATO and therefore benefits from the protection of the organization’s nuclear arsenal. Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf are covered by the US forces operating there. Turkey and Egypt have recently announced their interest for nuclear reactors but that cannot be used to conclude that a nuclear arms race has begun.

Egypt’s quest for nuclear reactors can be understood after looking at the way the country has poorly managed its exhausting oil and gas reserves. Turkey is an importer of oil and electricity. Acquiring NPP for turkey is an economically justifiable move. Halting Iran’s nuclear program means that many developing countries would have to drop the nuclear option as an alternative energy source amid the soaring oil prices on the world market. Also, we can hastily conclude that developing countries that are not favored by the U. S. and its allies might not benefit from their rights to enjoy a peaceful nuclear program.

Such a move might push other nations to behave like Iran — which concealed the true depth of its nuclear program at the early stages. However, a nuclear Iran would not be welcomed by some nations like Israel. Iran/Israeli relations have continued to alternate from close political alliances between the two states during the era of the Pahlavi dynasty to hostility following the rise to power of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Today, the relations have deteriorated to the extent that both countries do not have diplomatic relations with each other.

Iran claims it does not recognize the state of Israel. Iranian government document simply refer to Israel as the “Zionist entity” or the “Zionist regime. ” If Iran develops an atomic bomb, many fear it could virtually wipe of Israel from the world map looking Israel size and population. And Iran is aware of the reality. Iran does not even need to blast off nuclear warheads in Israel. All they need to do is line them up along the country’s south western border where its missiles currently sit, aiming at the Jewish state. That alone would bring everything in Israel to a halt.

But in reality, no matter how much threats Iran makes. Using a nuclear bomb in Israel might be out of the question. That’s because Israel allies might likely retaliate. And Iran might not be able stand the stress and chaos. However, it is hard to completely rule out such possibilities. Another threat to Israel is that, “Iran would be capable of “increas[ing] its support for terrorism with impunity. ” Iranian terrorism has already cost Israel thousands of casualties and limits Israel’s ability to function as a sovereign state in the Middle East.

While superficially tame relative to a nuclear warhead hitting a major population centre, terrorism orchestrated by an enemy with no reason to fear you–and much to gain from your demise–is a very real threat, particularly when that enemy has already been responsible for the murder of thousands of your civilians. The nature of this threat has been driven home by the recent Hezbullah-Israeli conflict, in which Iranian rockets, training, and funding wrought destruction and death in northern Israel. One need not imagine how much more destructive Hezbullah would be with nuclear technology.

” In order to resolve the current nuclear standoff between Iran and the west, the first thing the international community especially the U. S. must avoid is the use of force. That is because launching another invasion into Iran might only lead more political instability in the already volatile Middle East. The theory that Iran is planning to pursue its nuclear program in order to develop an atomic bomb should not be conclusive. Prior to the U. S. invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration and other western powers accused Saddam Hussein of developing weapons of mass destruction.

Several years after invasion, the world is yet to see the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam was stockpiling. The same might be true about Iran. Although Iran is defiant over its nuclear program, the nation might just be uncomfortable with succumbing to U. S. -led pressure. Despite the U. N. sanctions placed on Tehran, the country has vowed to continue enriching uranium. That alone is pushing skeptics to believe Iran might have an agenda behind its nuclear program. For security reasons, there is need for transparency in Iran’s nuclear program.

If Iran truly believes it is building its nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes, it should be ready to cooperate with the U. N. and it’s the IAEA. If it is unwilling to cooperate, then the world has the right to conclude that Iran is enriching uranium to develop a nuclear weapon in the long run. If it turns out that way, more sanctions should be placed on Iran. And if it remains defiant, and carries on with the program the last option may be force. But before using force, there is need to try to use all the other avenues to arrive at a compromise.

If all avenues fail, the U. N. should unanimously decide on what to do. The best option then might be for the U. N. to strike down the nuclear reactors. When we look at the analysis of Iran’s oil and gas reserves earlier in this paper, it’s easy to think that Iran does not require nuclear energy to generate electricity. But combining that fact with its denial to operate a transparent program makes it suspicious. In order bring Iran to book, there’s need to cooperate with other Gulf States to find a solution to the deadlock. Iran is not comfortable with U. S.

and will definitely find it hard to find a solution to the deadlock. Perhaps if other countries like Russia, France, China and the Arab league sit down and talk the issue with Iran, it will be easier to find a common solution to the long running dispute. Another arena where Iran can be brought to reason is through a peaceful settlement of the Palestine/Israel conflict. That’s a major bone of contention for many Arab states especially Israel. A peaceful resolution of that dispute might help to defuse tension between Iran and the west. However, it might take a while to resolve that particular dispute.

That’s because it involves the participation of terrorists. And where terrorists are involved, it’s a little difficult to find a common ground as they are always unavailable for talks. But Israel has a choice on the way it relates with the Palestinian authority. Israeli strikes on Palestinian targets are not the solution. Israel needs to forget about its military might and seek a more diplomatic approach towards resolving this decades old dispute. Many countries in the Arab world believe that the U. S. has not been an honest broker when it comes to the conflict between the Palestinian.

That’s a major source of discontent in the Arab world. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad always refers to Israel as an occupying territory. That means that he has major concern and sympathizes with the Palestinian people. One of the first steps towards resolving the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West is to amicably resolve the dispute with Israel. That’s the first thing western countries can do to prove that they are honest and truly want peace in the Middle East. However, Iran has proved that it is not ready for a U. S. sponsored solution.

This is the time for another major power to take a leading role towards resolving the dispute. Russia has what it takes to settle this dispute. It is close to Tehran, has good diplomatic links. Besides Russia has a role in the construction of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Russia is therefore one of the biggest super powers that is close to Iran and its nuclear program. If the Western powers give Russia a lead role in the process of resolving this dispute, a solution can be easily arrived at. France has proposed that the IAEA should supervise Iran’s nuclear program.

France believes that if the IAEA places surveillance cameras across Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will gain an insight into whether Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful of not. Therefore there are several options available to resolve the nuclear dispute between Iran and Western powers. The solution to the problem can come from many angles. Amongst the solutions listed above, the one most likely to provide a breakthrough is the use of Russia as a middleman. That’s because Iran has good ties with Russia, with frequent exchanges in visits between Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

It’s hard to define the strength and direction of Iran’s nuclear program. As a result, its good to get Iran’s “friends” to intervene. If that option fails, then we can be sure there’s no other diplomatic solution to the crisis. Another organization that can also strike a deal with Iran over its nuclear program is the Arab league. Member of the Arab league have some antagonism towards the Bush regime in particular, and the west in general. Perhaps they will be more comfortable to sort out any differences by the west.

In this light therefore, the world stand more chances to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment if other Arab nations take a lead role in the negotiation process. But the chances for the Arab league to arrive a compromise with Iran might not be as easy at it appears to be. That’s because the Arab league is a divided institution. The Arab League is made of extremist and moderate countries. The extremist countries will most likely want Iran to carry on with its nuclear program, meanwhile the moderate states, which are friendly to the Bush regime and the West, would prefer that Iran respects the U. N.

calls to stop uranium enrichment program. This solution might not be the easiest one. It might me as complex as the one currently in place. The most realistic option is to use Tehran’s friends, such as Russia and China. However, the United States will not be too comfortable with that option. That’s because it would appear Washington is leaving the East to usurp her leadership role when it comes to world politics and diplomacy. In this light therefore, it might not be so easy to work. In order to improve the chances of finding a common solution to the nuclear deadlock, the United States should consider teaming up with Russia.

But again, that’s a more theoretical than practical approach. REFERENCES Albert, Sean, “Iran’s Nuclear Program,” The Daily Mirror, Vol. 16, Issue 12, (2007) (I used this particular source because it is from the U. K. I wanted to present a western view point of the nuclear dispute. ) Cyrus, Safdari, “Iran needs nuclear energy, not weapons” Le Monde diplomatique, Vol. 5, Issue 26, (November 2005) (I used this particular source because it is from France. I also wanted to present a western view point of the nuclear dispute, but this time from France. )

Smart, Dennis, “Iran’s Nuclear Quest,” The Guardian Newspaper, Volume 253, Issue 36, (2003) (I used this particular source because it is from the U. K. I wanted to present a western view point of the nuclear dispute. And I wanted t to be diversified. ) Mido, Saifi, “The Case For nuclear,” Iran Daily, Vol. 16, Issue 12, (2004) (I used this particular source because it is from Iran. I wanted to present an Iranian view point of the nuclear program. Besides, the arguments for were very convincing) Mousavian, Seyyed, “Iran and the West, the Path to Nuclear Deadlock,” Global Dialogue, Vol 8, No.

1-2 (Winter/Spring 2006) (I used this particular source because it is from the Arab world. I wanted to present an Arab view point of the nuclear program. ) Sahimi, Muhammad, “Forced to Fuel: Iran’s Nuclear Energy Program,” Harvard International Review, Volume: 26, Issue: 4, (2005) (I used this particular source because it is from the Arab world. I wanted to present an Arab view point of the nuclear program and needed to balance the argument by including a second Arab source. ) www. wikipedia. org (I used this particular source to trace the history of Iran’s nuclear program. )

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