Iran’s decision this week to bar International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from visiting the Parchin military base, which Tehran allegedly used to test components needed to create a nuclear weapon, may prove to be a turning point in the diplomatic standoff over the country’s nuclear program. Up to this point, the “rising democracies” -- especially Turkey, India and Brazil -- have been unwilling to support efforts by the United States and Europe to further isolate Iran, in part because they have a much narrower definition of what constitutes a “nuclear weapons capability,” which the U.S. says is an unacceptable red line. They essentially consider such a capability to mean possessing the actual components of a working nuclear weapon, as opposed to possessing the technological capacity to develop them, which is the standard embraced by Western countries.
Non-Western powers have generally been more prepared to accept Iran’s claims that it simply seeks to develop the full panoply of civilian nuclear technology that it is entitled to under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Along with other major powers like China and Russia, the emerging democracies have called for intensified dialogue and had welcomed Iran’s call last week to restart talks “at the earliest opportunity.” However, if Iran continues to obstruct inspectors, and if it does not come to the table with concrete proposals, but instead uses yet another round of talks as a delaying tactic, its isolation could deepen. Moreover, if evidence emerges that the inspectors were barred from Parchin because they were on the verge of finding a “smoking gun” disproving Iran’s consistent claim that it does not seek nuclear weapons, the willingness of the “rest” to contest the allegations of “the West” will be tested. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Diplomatic Fallout: Bold or Not, Next U.N. Secretary-General Faces World of Pain
- After U.S.-China Climate Deal, India Feels the Heat on Growing Emissions
- Strategic Horizons: Understanding the Enemy: Inside the Mind of the Islamic State
- The Realist Prism: Even After Midterms, Obama Faces Hard Choices on Energy, Climate
- Diplomatic Fallout: U.N.’s Syria Cease-Fire Plan a Risky Gamble, but Worth It