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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora