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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.  

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Kafantaris (not verified) on February 22, 2012 7:17 PM

Iran faces a delicate issue.  On the one hand it wants to show the world all its got and put it at ease, while on the other hand it fears that such show 'n tell will give its enemies a road map to bomb it.
Saddam Hussein faced a similar dilemma ten years ago. Though he wanted the world to know he had nothing to hide, he also wanted to bluff his archenemy Iran into believing that Iraq still had WMD. 
Bluffing did not go well for Saddam, and it might not go well for Amadijan. 
But since the price tag for ridding Saddam proved so high, maybe we ought to reflect what we are asking of Iran now.  On the eve of a threat to attack it, we are asking it to take us to the depths of its arsenal and show us all it's got.  
Such great expectations are a sign we have been talking to our friends too long and are in  need of a broader perspective. 
Exactly when was the last time we asked Pakistan, India, China or Russia to show us their arsenal?
“But those countries are not advocating the destruction of Israel,” you say. 
True, but Israel is not a thorn on their side either.  
Surely, however, we can see beyond Iran's hyperboles and figure out their underlying purpose.  Or have we forgotten that not all Iranians are thrilled with Amadijan?  
He sure has not forgotten that he is not loved in Iran. 
Nor has he forgotten that that his countrymen hate Israel even more. So he tells them that Israel will be wiped from the face of the earth. 
Expectantly, this nonsense unites them against a common enemy. It even becomes a diversion from the misery and isolation brought on by the theocratic regime. 
Quite Clever work by Amadijan -- and not a rial spent or a bullet fired. 
So why are we letting this crazy talk about destroying Israel get us all worked-up -- and to the point of turning the world topsy-turvy again.
Can we not see the desperate attempts of an unpopular regime simply trying to hold on to power?

Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2012 4:29 AM

I'm glad to finally understand this--thanks for the information. The news media has not explained it as well as it it explained in this article. I agree, now that I understand the facts, let's chill out.