Iran and Their Nuclear Development Program Term Paper

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¶ … Iran and their nuclear development program. Specifically it will examine the issue of Iran's nuclear development program and the tension that it is creating with Western nations. The Iranian government has been involved in nuclear enrichment and development for years, and they hid their nuclear program for eighteen years.

The United Nations Security Council has ordered Iran to stop nuclear enrichment, and Iran has refused, saying it needs nuclear power, and it wants to control the use of nuclear power inside its borders.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been involved in monitoring the situation in Iran and safeguarding nuclear sites in compliance with an international agreement, but Iran has refused to honor the UN and IAEA requests that it stop nuclear enrichment programs and stop building on a heavy water nuclear plant. This has set the stage for debate and disagreement about how to deal with Iran and their nuclear program.

Essentially, the Iranian government's position is that they need nuclear power in their country, and that they are doing nothing wrong in their enrichment program. They cite the Non-Proliferation Treaty that the IAEA helps maintain, "Under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, all countries are permitted to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful means."Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Iran and Their Nuclear Development Program. Specifically Assignment

However, the article actually states that member nations "in good standing" may engage in enrichment programs. The Iranians hid their nuclear development program for eighteen years, and have not allowed inspectors to inspect facilities, only some of them, while barring others, and so, they are not in good standing with the IAEA, and, according to the IAEA, should not be engaging in any nuclear enrichment. Sanctions have been placed on the country in several areas, and yet, they continue their program, which seems to indicate that they have some ulterior motives for their behavior, or they would allow inspections. If they have nothing to hide with their program, why did they hide it for eighteen years, and then stop inspectors from looking at some of their operations? It seems the country has ulterior motives, and is playing games with semantics to stem critics while they continue their covert activities.

While the IAEA is satisfied with some of Iran's policies, including Iran's experimenting with plutonium and the incidence of high-enriched uranium particles in the country.

However, there are other issues that have not been resolved, including, "Iran's acquisition of centrifuge technology, contamination by highly-enriched uranium of samples taken at a university in Tehran, [and] Iran's possession of a document describing procedures for using uranium metal in hemispheres for a nuclear device and Iran's activities concerning polonium."

While Iran has answered some of these lingering questions, they have not answered all of them, which makes many wonder about the exact intentions of the Iranian government, and leads them not to trust the government and to question its true intentions.

Many other experts believe that the United States has exacerbated the situation in Iran by becoming more aggressive throughout the Middle East, including the war with Iraq. In addition, Iran borders Pakistan, and that country has nuclear capabilities, so some people believe Iran is simply attempting to protect itself from possible aggression in the area, since there are threats from nuclear activity so close by.

In addition, many experts believe that there are varied intentions in Iran. In a discussion at Columbian University, experts Scott Sagan, Kenneth Waltz, and Richard K. Betts note, "Some want to move quickly, others want to have options in the future, and still others are willing to take economic benefits and potential military security guarantees in exchange for constraining their uranium enrichment program."

If this is the case, diplomacy with Iran might be the best option in dealing with the different factors and attempting to bring them together into one coherent intention for their country, but so far, diplomacy is not really being attempted. There have been some American overtures in the area, and Condoleezza Rice has traveled to Iran to meet with leaders, but this diplomacy has not accomplished much of anything, and the intentions of the country still remain largely unclear.

Strategically, Iran has much to gain by creating a nuclear weapons program. They would certainly gain superiority in the Middle East, as no other country but Israel has nuclear weapon capabilities, and this would give Iran a competitive and weaponry edge in the region. In addition, Iran's president, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has openly announced his country's intention to become a "superpower" and the development of nuclear weaponry is certainly one development that could lead the country down the superpower path.

In addition, Iran has ignored many of the IAEA sanctions, including readying 3,000 cascades of centrifuges necessary to create enriched plutonium, which is a clear rejection of sanctions that outlaw this. Ultimately, many experts believe that Iran's strategic goals are to further isolate itself from western culture and ideals, and from western intervention, and that a nuclear presence will help deter countries like the Unites States from raiding their country. Another expert notes, "For a small but powerful minority of Iran's theocratic elite, the increased competition and liberalization that would likely result from opening ties with the United States represents a threat to their interests, and would taint the purity of the Islamic Republic."

The strategic goals of Iran, other than remaining aloof and removed from the West, are not really known, which is another reason the IAEA and the UN are worried about nuclear activity in the country. They do not know if Iran really knows the ultimate goals of its nuclear program any more than the governing agencies do, and that is a frightening and all too real possibility.

Most experts believe the situation in Iran is a crisis situation for many reasons. It is entirely conceivable that with nuclear weapons, Iran could attack Israel or other nations in the Middle East in an attempt to eradicate western influence in the area, or in an attempt to seize more power and land in the area. In addition, many worry because those who would control the nuclear program and launch capabilities are not the Iranian military, but the Revolutionary Guard Corps, who have committed money and energy to the program. They maintain this could be extremely dangerous for the area and the world. The Columbia debaters continue, "These are the same individuals running the arms supply operations to terrorist organizations that Iran supports. To have your nuclear guardians and your terrorist supporter organizations be one and the same is a recipe for disaster."

Indeed, it seems that if the same people are operating the nuclear program that are supplying arms and people to revolutionary Iraq, the nuclear program could spell disaster for the region, and ultimately the world.

In addition, there is the distinct possibility that Iran could supply other non-nuclear nations with weapons, or the weapons could be stolen, as they were after the fall of the Soviet Union. There are numerous stories of nuclear warheads gone missing in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the fear is that Iran could sell warheads to their allies and even terrorist organizations, or they could be stolen by terrorist organization in the area. Thus, control of the plutonium and the eventual weapons, if they are manufactured, could be difficult, and this is another reason that many people believe this could be a crisis situation when Iran actually develops its nuclear arsenal, which by some accounts could actually happen as soon as 2009.

For the most part, much of the international community is against Iran's development of nuclear weapons, and that is why there have been sanctions and other measures by the UN and the IAEA. The IAEA has attempted to create reasons for Iran to give up their program and remove sanctions on their country. The BBC editors continue, "There are other parts to the offer, including help for Iran to join the World Trade Organisation and the possible lifting of some U.S. sanctions in the aircraft, telecommunications, and agricultural machinery sectors."

So far, however, Iran has not taken the IAEA up on these offers, nor have they complied with all the sanctions the IAEA has imposed on them.

Perhaps the most important international response to the Iran situation lies with Russia. Russia does trade with Iran, and although the amount of the trade is small now, they hope to expand it, and so supporting Iran's nuclear position could help strengthen their own economic position in the country. Russia's response is vital for another reason, and that is because China has openly acknowledged that they will follow Russia's lead in the issue, so if Russia comes out in favor of Iran nuclear development, China will follow suit, and that means that Iran would have quite a bit of world influence suddenly backing it.

Most of the European leaders have come out against Iran's nuclear development, and Great Britain, France, and Germany have attempted to negotiate with the country to stop the program, as well.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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