Eight Points about Iran's Nuclear Program

Article excerpt

1. The U.S. government's National Intelligence Estimate reported in November 2007 that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003. Iran is developing the capacity to enrich uranium, as it is entitled to do under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. International inspectors have found no evidence of an actual nuclear weapons program.

2. The director of U.S. national intelligence testified last year that Iran would need several years to develop nuclear weapons capability. Ample time is available to craft an effective diplomatic strategy to prevent nuclear weaponization.

3. The U.S. government is working with European countries and international agencies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Security Council. Cooperative diplomacy is an effective strategy for encouraging compliance with nonproliferation goals. Iran reportedly restrained its nuclear program in response to increasing international scrutiny, pressure and incentives.

4. U.S. differences with Iran should be resolved through diplomacy, not unilateral sanctions and military threats, which have strengthened the hand of conservatives within Iran and led to further isolation of Iranian reformers.

5. A major goal of U.S. policy should be to maintain and increase Iran's cooperation with the IAEA, so that international inspectors continue to have access to Iranian nuclear facilities and can detect any prohibited activities. …