Iran's Growing Weapons Capability and Its Impact on Negotiations

By David Albright and Jacqueline Shire

The crisis over Iran’s growing nuclear weapons capabilities is rapidly reaching a critical point. Recent developments do not bode well for the prospect of successful negotiations that can end concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, at least in the short term.

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Anonymous said...

With ACA's prior faith negotiations could stop Iran untenable, you switch to promoting containment as the best course. In reality, your point is to offer anything, something, regardless of how predictably useless it might be, as was negotiations, to preclude military action.

You argue containment by reference to the Soviet experience. The more apt analogy is North Korea, only a nuclear-armed Iran, with terrorist proxies, oil wealth and allies from Syria to Venezuela to China, Iran is far more dangerous and able to circumvent containment than is No. Korea, which has only marginally been contained.

Not stopping Iran now condemns all the world to nuclear intimidation, proliferation, instability as North Korea has engaged in . . . forever.

Military action has terrible risks.
With all the incompetency by the US and senseless brutality by various Arabs, Iraq today, compared to Iran and North Korea isn't nuclear armed and far less a threat, maybe even a force for positive in the Mid-East.

What is really tragic is by waiting as long as we have to pay homage to the delusions of negotiations and now containment, a military attack will be much harder to carry off, enabling critics who caused the delay to use that as an argument for not doing it now or if we do do it and it gets messy to be able to say, we told you so.

Lastly, if Iran gets a nuclear bomb it could well trigger a round of proliferation, which makes ACA the enabler, with this article, of the very thing it was created to stop.

The best thing ACA could do to help arms control is disband.

Arms Control Association said...

Thanks for your thoughts. There are obviously no quick or easy solutions to the dangers posed by Iran's nuclear program. The analyses and recommendations published in the feature articles in the December issue of Arms Control Today are meant to provide a range of perspectives and ideas--and they are the views of the authors and not necessarily the editors of Arms Control Today or the Arms Control Association.

However, it is the our view and the view of many others that diplomacy remains the best option for preventing Iran from developing and producing nuclear weapons in the years ahead. Arguably, opportunities to arrive at a diplomatic solution have been missed over the past few years due to miscalculations and/or unwillingness to talk on the part of Tehran and Washington. The prospects for halting Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel-cycle activities and opening it up to more extensive inspections may appear bleak at this time, but could still produce results if the right combination of factors and leadership emerge. Sanctions alone have not changed Iran's behavior and it is possible they have and will harden Tehran's resolve to advance its program. At the same time, military action against Iran's nuclear complex could lead to a wider and more dangerous war, would not snuff out Iran's nuclear program entirely, and would likely prompt Iran to openly withdraw from the NPT and pursue nuclear weapons in the aftermath.

You are free to disagree with this short summary of my personal views, or the authors of the articles published in our journal, but Iran's nuclear program has not been enabled by ACA and we don't intend to disband. We seek to put forward serious ideas about to deal with proliferation problems.

Daryl G. Kimball,
Executive Director, Arms Control Association, and
Publisher, Arms Control Today