News

International Community Looks at Options to Stop Iran From Producing Nuclear Weapons

The key issue facing the Obama administration is how to curtail what are believed to be Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions.

A key issue facing the Obama administration is how to curtail what are believed to be Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions.

The United States and Europe believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Western fears

However, analysts say Tehran's recent actions do not allay western fears that Iran is working to gain nuclear weapons. At the end of November, Tehran announced it plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants. And recently it test fired a medium-range missile capable of reaching Israel, parts of southeastern Europe and U.S. bases in the Middle East.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger says Iran possessing nuclear weapons would be unacceptable.

"If the Iranians can build a nuclear weapon, that's the issue - it is whether they can build a nuclear weapon," he said. "And if they can and if they do, we being the West are in really serious, serious trouble. And at some point, the Iranians or somebody, some country is going to hand one of these weapons over to some terrorists, or the terrorists are going to take them one way or another - and then we're in real trouble."

Sanctions and censure

For years the international community has been trying to persuade Iran to forego any nuclear weapons ambitions. Organizations like the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency have imposed sanctions and censured Iran - but to no avail. President Barack Obama has given Iran until the end of the year to respond to Western concerns. But analysts say Tehran has not and it appears the international community may look at tougher sanctions in the weeks ahead.

Former National Security Adviser General Brent Scowcroft says more sanctions is not the way to go.

"I don't think the next step is necessarily a tougher stand, but it is convincing Iran that they don't have an alternative now and that they need to sit down and talk with us about, not only about nuclear weapons, but about Iran and the region. And we need to be prepared to talk to them about that too," he said.

Former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger is pessimistic about what the international community can do to coax Iran to curtail its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions.

"Well in one word - very little. Nothing," he said. "The reality is if one remembers Saddam Hussein and that there were 16 or 17 censures against Saddam and ultimately he was removed by force. We are not in a position to do much. In regard to the Iranians, a censure - they have already demonstrated they are not interested in accepting the censure. And it probably just adds to their defiance."

Tougher stand

Lawrence Eagleburger says if diplomacy fails, then maybe the international community should take tougher action.

"I still contend that if necessary, we ought to use force to prevent the Iranians from building a nuclear weapon," he said. "And that is a price that at least so far, I think, the international community and our own government has been unwilling to pay - namely to use the force necessary to prevent them from building their weapon or those weapons."

Use of force?

Eagleburger says one country that might be looking at the military option is Israel, since Tehran has stated it wants to destroy that country.

"If I were an Israeli, I think I'd have to take that statement seriously," he said. "And so at some point, the Israelis have got to say what are we going to do if nobody else is going to do anything? What do we have to do to prevent the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon? And that may mean that the Israelis would then use force on their own to try to prevent it."

James Schlesinger is against those advocating the use of force.

"They ought to rethink their position. In the case of Israel, it does not have the capabilities of the United States Air Force and in effect, as somebody has said, they are betting their air force on a strike that probably would delay the Iranians a year or two if successful," he said.

For his part, General Scowcroft considers a military strike against Iran - as he put it - "a serious mistake."

"We can't solve the problem that way and what we can do is further inflame the Muslim world," he said. "It seems to me we ought to start this process with dialogue and see where that gets us before we start waving sabers."

However, many analysts say the international community has spent enough time on the diplomatic front trying to persuade Iran to curb its nuclear program. They say those diplomatic overtures produced very little and it is time to look at other avenues, including tougher sanctions. They also say all options remain on the table - a veiled reference to military action.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs