A new approach to Iran's nukes
A loyalty test can reassure Iran and the world.
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Iranian leaders would show that their intentions are truly peaceful if they accepted this deal. And by accepting it Iran would gain international recognition for its enrichment program and could crow that they have the world's superpower as a client. It would be a win-win situation.Skip to next paragraph
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Currently, missing elements cast doubt on Tehran's assertion that its enrichment program is peaceful in nature. To make nuclear fuel, an enrichment facility is not enough.
A country needs adequate supplies of natural uranium to begin the process. Also, it needs a fuel fabrication facility to turn the enriched uranium into fuel that can be placed inside the core of a nuclear reactor. Iran has neither of these major components. But the limited supplies of indigenous natural uranium and the pilot scale enrichment plant now in operation are enough to allow Iran to eventually make dozens of nuclear bombs.
Therefore, Iran cannot run a peaceful nuclear program alone. In order to build commercial nuclear reactors, Iran must rely on the major reactor producers, including France, Russia, and the US – some of the same countries working to prevent Iran from making nuclear bombs. It must also rely on international suppliers of natural uranium and international fuel fabrication facilities. The overall deal would consequently bind the major powers and Iran together in a mutual client-producer relationship.
This international team-building approach would shine a spotlight on Iran's nuclear activities and at the same time give Iran an opportunity to make good on its public pronouncements of peaceful intent. Iranian leaders have often talked about "objective guarantees" that their nuclear program will remain peaceful, but they have yet to implement such.
Real objective guarantees would include continuous international monitoring of all nuclear facilities by employing secure means of data collection and numerous on-site inspectors. To motivate Iran to accept these measures, the major powers need to convey that the client-producer relationship is a two-way street.
A meaningful commercial relationship is about more than money. It would be a big step toward bringing Iran into the international community, a place in which all countries could work together for cooperative security.