Op-Ed: How the nuclear weapons taboo is fading at the U.N.
December 3, 2013
The Associated Press
There’s a lot happening in the world right now that is relevant to the U.S.-Iran relationship. The Iranian nuclear deal is a major story that has captured headlines and raised questions that many may have about U.S. foreign policy. The diplomatic process is at a critical stage, and we should be paying close attention. But there are other issues that are relevant to U.S. foreign policy and that warrant more conversation about diplomacy.
There are a number of factors at play when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. One is how hard it is for a state to acquire nuclear weapons despite the fact that Washington has declared that it does not want one. Another is how long the Obama administration has opposed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
While it’s generally good for a country to be able to hold its own in the world, there’s no need for the United States to be complacent. If Iran pursues nuclear weapons, it could cause a major confrontation with the United States and lead to more regional turmoil. Iran is already known for its regional meddling, which would be difficult as the United States is in the midst of a broader Middle East peace process. In the long run, the status quo is the best policy.
There’s no reason to expect progress on Iran’s nuclear program at a time when the United States is engaged in a broad international effort to address climate change and nuclear proliferation. That is an important issue that deserves more attention from Washington, but the administration and the U.N. have a role to play in making sure that all parties recognize that the goal is peaceful, nonproliferation.
As Iran’s nuclear program becomes more apparent and the U.S. and EU look for ways to address the threat, tensions between America and Iran could be used by Tehran to pursue further its regional influence. Iran has no incentive to negotiate with the United States about its nuclear program as its economy is already in trouble. But if negotiations fail, Iran could use its leverage to threaten other countries. For example, Iran threatened Israel earlier this month with an attack.
How much is a nuclear weapon worth in U.S. dollars? No one knows the answer, but