Changing the strategy regarding Iran

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Courtesy of Nashdown 


As Iran’s uranium enrichment policies continue, the focus of the international community now falls on the limited diplomatic possibilities of the U.S. government. The relationship between the U.S. and Teheran has a long history of political and military disagreements that have reached new heights recently because of an alarming report of the IAEA regarding Iran’s nuclear activity. This relationship was affected negatively even further as the U.S. pushed resolution 1929 through the U.N. Security Council in June 2010.

The resolution deals with the sixth round of sanctions against Iran, banning further development or exploitation of uranium technologies or intercontinental ballistic missile technologies. Also, a new inspection regime is imposed to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring banned technologies by increasing the number of inspections on Iranian ships suspected of smuggling. Lastly, a new round of financial sanctions was imposed which culminated with freezing assets of Iranian companies that could fund the proliferation effort.

As the U.S. continues to use its military and international position as leverage to try and force Iran into giving up its nuclear program, perhaps it is time Washington reconsidered its position and options. Threats including military intervention are effective if they are backed by the political willingness to start a war. Of course, when discussing war, the costs have to be smaller than the gains. If we consider factors like: the American military involvement around the world, the state of their economy and their declining international image, one can argue that the U.S. cannot afford to fight another war. Thus the threats of military intervention against Iran seem empty.

This leaves the Washington government with a more risky alternative: deterrence. The U.S. could allow Tehran to pursue its nuclear programs and then deter the ensuing result just as it did with the USSR in 1962. Threatening Iran with the use nuclear weapons before acquiring such weapons would ruin the image of the U.S. However, once the Islamic Republic creates a nuclear weapon, nuclear threats from the U.S would be justified. These threats could be more effective considering the big difference in capabilities between the U.S. and Iran. Also the US has mentioned that a nuclear-armed Iran would not pose a fundamental threat to the United States and its regional allies like Israel and the Gulf Arab monarchies. Also, if the threat becomes substantial, the US will have to deter and eliminate all nuclear elements and facilities to prevent a catastrophe in the region.

Using more carrots than sticks could prove more useful and efficient for the U.S. The sanctions that impoverish the declining economy of Iran should be used as a bargaining chip to bring the nuclear, deterred country into a treaty that will ensure the permanent security of the region. Also they should be used to improve the cooperation between the Islamic Republic and some U.S. allies in the region hoping that a more integrated Iranian economy dependent on neighboring states will make the Tehran government reconsider its position.


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