Iran’s steady march up the Uranium enrichment value chain is sending chills down many a country’s spines. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently released a piece highlighting explicitly – for the first time – Iran’s nuclear weaponization ambitions. US protests, for now, seem to be falling on deaf ears. The nuclearization issue looks set to escalate regional (and international) confrontations in the near term. Will negotiations work? Sanctions? Collective nuclear rearmament?
Negotiations inherently are a long-drawn, fraught-with-roadblocks process. While intellectually appealing, given the time constraints at work in this situation, this option looks unlikely to yield short-term results.
The IAEA report may succeed in swinging Russian (and Chinese) opinion toward Iran. At the very least, US will hope that the latest report has done enough to prevent a Russian volte-face on its openness to UN Security Council sanctions on Iran.
Iran’s actions might well provoke its neighbours into following the path of nuclear rearmament. While the US pursues strategies to achieve the utopian ideal of a universally de-nuclearized globe, it has increased funding for maintaining and modernizing its nuclear complex by 10% compared to last year.
While one hopes fervently that the nuclear armament issue is brought under control at the earliest possible time, conflicts of ambitions and resurgence of Cold-waresque mutual apprehension could derail plans. In a strange way, an ‘optimum’ level of nuclear weapons could do more to deter nuclear conflagration than a completely de-nuclearized globe. Knowledge of the potential of a lethal second-round nuclear attack could keep nations in check.
Till that time, it seems like we are heading into Cold War-II….hmm…that is, if we are not already in one.