Agreement to Resume Iran Nuclear Talks Aims to Prevent Regional Arms Race

U.S officials say an agreement to resume international talks on Iran's nuclear program is meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and head-off what might then become a regional arms race.

The agreement to restart talks over Iran's nuclear program includes demands by permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany for “concrete and practical steps” to restore international trust in Tehran's claims that its atomic ambitions are purely peaceful.

That means better access for inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.  The IAEA says there are “strong indicators” that Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb.

President Obama says the international community will not allow that to happen.

“My policy is not containment. My policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, because if they get a nuclear weapon that could trigger an arms race in the region, it would undermine our nonproliferation goals, it could potentially fall into the hands of terrorists,” Obama said.

The U.S. is working with European and Asian allies to tighten sanctions against Iranian oil exports because they believe President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is using those profits to fund his nuclear program.

Johns Hopkins University professor Ruth Wedgwood says the U.S. is moving to pre-empt a regional nuclear arms race.

“Unpredictable as Ahmadinejad is, and thuggish as he is and inevitable as it would be that Iraq would then want a bomb as well, but Turkey would want one and Egypt would want one and Saudi would want one. So you would have a poly-player game in the Middle East. And why not Syria?,” Wedgewood said.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and refuses to rule out military action to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic weapon.

President Obama says Israel has to make its own decisions about security, but those decisions affect everyone involved.

"This is not just an issue of Israeli interest, this is an issue of U.S. interest. It's also not just an issue of consequences for Israel if action is taken prematurely, there are consequences for the United States as well," Obama said.

President Obama says there is still time to resolve the nuclear stand off peacefully. But Professor Wedgwood says Iran's offer to resume talks is clearly influenced by increasing talk of war.

“Ahmadinejad, I suppose, can also read the gathering mood of provoked hostility from the U.S. He has to worry where our tipping point is. I think even we don't know that frankly.  American politics is often quite volatile,” Wedgewood said.

President Obama says American politicians who are "beating the drums of war" have a responsibility to explain the costs and benefits of military action.

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Comment Sorting
by: michael
March 10, 2012 4:57 AM
What are the "hands of terrorists"? Describing something real (terrorism) is the origin of security investments and are for a worthwhile outcome. Yet, it is not 'Seiten' because it is tied to material results, and tends to be onesided. The policy on Iran must be made more clear this spring and summer

by: gabe
March 08, 2012 12:20 PM
Jeremy Bernstein of the New Yorker wrote an interesting e-single on Iran's developing nuclear program. Bernstein is a physicist, but it is more of a history of how we ended up in this "are they or aren't they developing weapons" situation. Worth reading, for those interested:

by: mohammed Gulfaraz
March 08, 2012 7:40 AM
the american president has made it clear that consequencies of war,defiant disaster for israel and america, because all american arab allys will be over thown, all islamic countrys will support iran. it will be dooms day for america israel and western pupputs, you wont be landing no wher, when they use atomic or nuclear bombs they will be attacked by china and russia,,dont think for one moment america is safe or israel, or western countrys are safe.

by: Scott
March 07, 2012 7:26 PM
This shows are real leaders are standing firm and not just talking of War, Unlike some of the Republican lately. Talk is good, War not so good, Ahmadinejad, with the new pressures being brought down on Iran, will I hope begin talking, If it is for Peaceful purpose then there is nothing to hide, Every avenue should be looked at and not just jump into another War.

by: David E. Connolly, Jr.
March 07, 2012 5:41 PM
The spiritual leader of Iran is developing technology all Muslims know is sinful; almost as bad, the money from oil sales could be helping Iranians in need. China and Russia need to start looking beyond the perspective of unelected leaders seeking to discourage popular uprisings, and participate in the Security Council from their conscience's point of view. The United States must stop invading other countries based on bizarre rationalizations. Denuclearization will take cooperation.

by: David
March 07, 2012 5:28 PM
I have a wild idea. If Israel would disassemble their nuclear arsenal and allow verification maybe Iran would cooperate. In return we agree to match 3 for 1 if anyone ever uses nuclear weapons anywhere. The only reason either of them would feel the need to have them with that assurance would be to maintain first strike capability.

by: rosa
March 07, 2012 5:23 PM
wow this migh cause a ww3. people better be careful.

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