US-Israeli Relations and the Question of Iranian Nuclear Proliferation
By: Gerald F. Witherspoon, Sr. 20160616
As stated by President Obama, “Any nation, including Iran, should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power, if it complies with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty” (Global Policy Forum 2010). On Sept 24, 2009 heads of states gathered at a United Nations Security Council meeting and Resolution 1887 was passed. This resolution highlighted the need for non-compliant states to come into compliance, agree to enhance inspection efforts, and for the IAEA to make progress on establishing protocols for the production of nuclear fuel for nuclear reactors (Global Policy Forum 2010).
It is important to note that Iran is a signatory of the NPT, has repeatedly opened its nuclear facilities to international inspection, arguably never launched a nuclear program, and Ayatollah Khamenei has long issued a fatwa against the proliferation of nuclear weapons (Steinbach 2011). In contrast, Israel refuses to sign the NPT, refuses oversight, and defends its bomb. From these substantiations one can easily conclude that Israel poses more of a threat to regional and international security than Iran (Steinbach 2011).
In The Worst Case for War, Stephen Walt decries Kroenig’s exaggerations regarding a nuclear-armed Iran and its ability to threaten U.S. political and military initiatives in the Middle East (2011). He argues instead that the power-projection capabilities of Iran are weak and Iran has a $10billion annual defense budget compared to the $700billion spent by the United States (Walt 2011). Further, the justifications for a preventive war that Kroenig tends to argue in favor of, lend themselves to scrutiny as the United States has no authorization from the U.N. Security Council to do so. Such rhetoric does more to cultivate insecurity and paranoia than establish an effective strategy to address proliferation.
Currently, the IAEA monitors for compliance with NPT commitments, but there are no enforcement mechanisms for the reduction or elimination of nuclear weapons. That Israel has not been subjected to the same pressure toward inspection reveals bias throughout the international community and increases the need for Iran to balance power. Inequitable application of international law will continue to ensure that non-proliferation and disarmament will not be a reality for at least several more decades. Therefore, the United States and its allies need to embrace the fact Iran has never attacked the U.S. or any of its allies and resist the urge to buy into the paranoid preventive war theories applied to Iran and propagated by individuals like Kroenig. Israel has already bombed Iraq and Syria to retain its monopoly on nuclear power (Waltz 2012). Why should Iran be forced to sit idly by while Israel considers its next target?
The Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 “commits all member states to pursue good faith negotiations toward ending the nuclear arms race and achieving nuclear disarmament” (Prather 2009). Israel has maintained a nuclear bomb since the 1960s and continues to be a bigger threat to the Middle East than Iran has ever been. Therefore, member states cannot be said to negotiate in good faith when Iran is forced to commit to standards that Israel scoffs at. Although nuclear proliferation has arguably decreased since the 1970s (e.g., see Waltz), the need for Iran to balance against an unrestrained threat has increased. Therefore, demanding Israel sign the NPT and submit to UN oversight would be a step in the right direction towards addressing nuclear proliferation.
Forum, Global Policy. Nuclear Weapons: Creating and Enforcing Global Rules. August 05, 2010.
Prather, Gordon. The U.S. Is Violating the NPT — Not Iran. September 26, 2009. http://www.twf.org/News/Y2009/0926-IranPlant.html (accessed June 15, 2016).
Steinbach, John. Comparing Israel’s and Iran’s Nuclear Programs. July 2011. http://www.wrmea.org/2011-july/comparing-israel-s-and-iran-s-nuclear-programs.html (accessed June 16, 2016).
Walt, Stephen. The worst case for war with Iran. December 21, 2011. http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/12/21/the-worst-case-for-war-with-iran/ (accessed June 15, 2016).
Waltz, Kenneth N. 2012. “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb.” Foreign Affairs 91, no. 4: 2-5. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed June 16, 2016).