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)
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid