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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs