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Iran, U.S. Need Diplomacy, Not War, To Solve Nuclear Problem

Ryan Shaw |
February 21, 2012 | 4:11 p.m. PST

Staff Columnist

(futureatlas.com, Creative Commons)
(futureatlas.com, Creative Commons)
Iran is a unique country in many ways.  It is a very developed nation, unlike many of it's other neighbors in the Middle East.  Tehran, the capital city of Iran, looks a lot like any major metropolitan cities worldwide.  There are businesses, college campuses, traffic, and an impressive skyline.  Iran needs energy to fuel this development, and luckily for them, they sit on top of huge oil reserves that are ripe for the drilling.  Unluckily for them, they need to export much of this oil to be refined because they lack the facilities to do so themselves.  Also unluckily for them, they lack any other natural resource because they are located in an arid region.  This means that when the oil runs out, which it will one day, Iran will another form of energy to power their country.  The answer to their energy problem is nuclear power.  Problem solved right?  Not exactly.

Iran has another component to it which makes it a unique country. The nation is offically under Sharia Law, Islamic law, as the law of the land.  Islam is the only recognized religion of the state.  Iran has also had some nasty things to say about Israel and refuses to offically recognize Israel as a legitimate nation.  This puts the U.S. in a difficult position because Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East.  Naturally, we wouldn't want Iran to gain access to nuclear power because that might give lead them to creating nuclear weapons which they then might turn around and use on Israel.  Right?  This assumption is wrong.  

Nuclear power plants have controller reactors which drive the nuclear fission process.  Once the urainium rod is removed, the process stops.  A nuclear power plant could never be turned into a bomb.  Further, having the resources to generate nuclear power does not necessarily translate into nuclear bomb-making capabilities.  There is much uncertainty as to whether or not Iran is actively seeking a nuclear weapons program.  This article here explains why IAEA Officals are heading to Iran to check on facilities for more concrete results.  The assumption that Iran is on the verge of attacking is simply unfounded, so why are we behaving like they are?  It's dangerous and reckless to talk about using military force--and it should only be considered as a last resort.  We are far from being in a last-resort situation.  Meanwhile sanctions being imposed on Iran are causing Iran to respond with cutting off oil supplies to several nations in the EU, including Britain and France. 

Even though that doesn't directly affect supply by much, the growing tension has caused speculators to drive prices up over the fear of a potenial conflict.  If you haven't noticed yet, gas prices have been climbing and are near $5 per gallon in some parts of California.  This war talk from some politicians is having direct impact on the price you are paying for gas at the pump.  Talking about military intervention is not the answer to the Iran problem. Diplomacy is the answer. 

The military option should absolutely be off the table at this point.  Talk of military options is only making the situation worse, and not even a good idea if it were implemented.  Check out this article that gives examples of why an attack on Iran would make Israel a lot worse off.  It's bad strategy.  It also hurts progress in diplomacy. 

War can easily be avoided in this situation because neither side really wants to go there.  It's a long, dark and lonely road as we have seen with Iraq. This time, moreover, we're also broke. 

One of the worries about letting Iran develop nuclear energy is that if we let that happen, other countries will also want access to it, creating a domino effect.  The U.S. needs to recognize that Iran is not like other countries in the Middle East. 

It's neighbors, with a few exceptions, are living in the proverbial Stone Age, and are no where near having the capability, or the inclination, to produce expensive nuclear energy.  The U.S. should allow Iran to expand nuclear energy to use at a slow, controlled pace. 

These new facilities should be manaaged by a third party to ensure saftey and compliance, and Iran should be more willing to be transparent about their existing facilites.  This compromise allows Iran to produce the energy it wants, while also allowing for more transparency and controlled use of these facilities.  I fear without a compromise of this nature Iran will eventually act on it's own and defy international sanctions.  At this point the U.S. still has leverage in the matter and can put a hand in the matter now, peacefully, before things escalate beyond our control.  

You can follow Ryan on Twitter here.        



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