Once again, the topic of Iran and its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons is in the news. On November 8, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), released its quarterly report. It for the first time publicly charged that Iran was developing nuclear technology for the express purpose of creating a weapon. This beyond the usual general claim that Iran is developing technology which could be used to create a weapon. Specifically, the report has concluded that they are conducting research to build a medium range warhead, and that it has conducted preparatory work for a nuclear test. Iran denies that its nuclear program is for weapons purposes.
Sure enough, the issue on the table is the response. The United States, busy dealing with its draw down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is not interested in military conflict. Specifically, on the table is the possibility of financial sanctions in the form of freezing their central bank. This would serve to isolate Iran from the globe: however, critics say it would largely harm the civilian population and the government.
However, speculation exists that Israel may seek to launch an aerial attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, has stated that Israel could go to war with Iran, and that potential Israeli casualties could number less than 500. Israel has warned in the past that if it feels endangered by Iran and its nuclear program, it would not hesitate to attack. In response, Iran’s defense minister noted that Iran would give a “crushing response to those daring to attack the country,” and that “Iranian militaries will fight with the Zionist soldiers in Tel Aviv streets” if Israel attacks Iran.
The power dynamic between those with nuclear weapons and those without is interesting, unfortunate, and ironic. Its ironic because those with nuclear weapons go to extraordinary efforts to ensure that others dont gain nuclear capabilities. Many of those same countries, however, are the same countries that fail to enter into dissarmament treaties. Its like a parent that smokes, telling their son or daughter not to smoke. Obviously, I see that my analysis is oversimplifying the matter and that there is a lot of real risk in a country like Iran having a nuclear bomb. But lets work on making the entire world less nuclear, and not just a selective group.
As it pertains to the situation in Iran, the international community should do all it can to ensure that no military conflict ensues between the two nations. Erupting a war between Israel and any state in the Middle East would be disastrous for a region that is already dealing with two armed conflicts.