News / Middle East

US, Europe Still Grapple With Iranian Nuclear Weapons Issue

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft in Washington (File Photo)
Former U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft in Washington (File Photo)

The international community is still trying to persuade Iran to end its uranium enrichment program that could lead to the manufacture of nuclear weapons. 

For years, the United States and the European Union have said that Iran’s uranium enrichment program is designed to produce a nuclear weapon.  But Iran has argued its program is meant only for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity.

A recent assessment by Israel’s departing intelligence chief, Meir Dagan, indicated Iran will not be able to build a nuclear weapon before 2015 - at the earliest.

Former National Security Adviser, retired Air Force General Brent Scowcroft agrees that at the moment, Iran does not pose a threat.

"To me, the biggest problem with Iran and nuclear weapons is that if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, it is going to start a rush to proliferation, because I think its neighbors in the region - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey - will feel compelled to do the same thing for their own protection," said Scowcroft.  "That is not a development that we should want to encourage."

In an effort to persuade Iran to end its nuclear program, the United Nations Security Council has passed four sets of resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran. In addition, several other nations, including the United States, have imposed their own measures.

During a recent visit to Abu Dhabi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the sanctions are working.

"They have made it much more difficult for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions," she said.  "Iran has had technological problems that have made it slow down its timetable.  So we do see some problems within Iran.  But the real question is how do we convince Iran that pursuing nuclear weapons will not make it safer and stronger, but just the opposite."

General Scowcroft says the international community must put more pressure on Iran.

"The thing that we are moving toward, but we are not completely there yet, is to have the entire international community confront Iran and say ‘No, do not go there.’  We are making progress," said Scowcroft.  "The Russians have now decided not to sell anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.  They have agreed to tougher sanctions.  The Chinese agree.  If we can get them fully on board, an international community says to Iran,  'Do not go there.  We are aware you have security problems; we will help you solve them; but nuclear weapons are not the way to go.’  I think there is still a chance that we might make progress."

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, an expert on the Middle East, agrees that Iran should be subjected to more international pressure. But he also believes the West must help internal dissidents within the country.

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, George Bush's Middle East envoy from 2001-2003, expresses his views during an interview (File Photo)
Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, George Bush's Middle East envoy from 2001-2003, expresses his views during an interview (File Photo)


"The Green movement, I think, should have been more supported by us and others," he said.  "I think the Iranian leadership and regime fears more internal pressures.  And I think if they saw more international and regional cooperation in supporting sanctions and putting pressure on them, and more support for the movements inside - the Green movement which is a collection of a number of different movements - I think that would have the greatest effect on them, rather than just saber-rattling."

General Zinni was referring to some experts who have called for military strikes against Iran.  Zinni is against such a move, so is Brent Scowcroft.

"I do not think that is the solution.  I think it is important that Iran feels some pressure, but strikes against Iran first of all delay, they do not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power," he said.  "It would result in a further alienation of the United States and the West from the Muslim world.  The consequences for us would be a deep military involvement for decades, maybe, in the region.  It may come to that, but I think that should be way down our priority list."

The Obama administration has favored the diplomatic route in its dealings with Iran.  At the same time, U.S. officials have said all options are on the table - diplomatic parlance meaning military strikes have not been ruled out.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid counter-terror intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid