The atomic bomb in the hands of Iran—what would it mean?
When I emailed US Senator Cory Booker (NJ) regarding my concerns about the Iran nuclear deal, he replied that he was of the opinion that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” Nevertheless, a deal has been reached.
Iran and six world powers—the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany—have agreed on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after 12 years of on-and-off negotiations.
Sanctions imposed by the UN, US, and EU will be lifted when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms that Iran has not violated its part of the deal. Sanctions will be reimposed if Iran violates any part of the agreement.
Iran must reduce its amounts of enriched uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons, to 300 kg for 15 years. Furthermore, it will cut its almost 20,000 centrifuges installed to enrich uranium down to 5,060 for ten years.
In addition, two uranium enrichment facilities in Iran—Natanz and Fordo—will be limited. Development and research may be conducted at Natanz, with limitations standing for eight years. At Fordo, no enrichment will be allowed for 15 years.
Moreover, Iran will also not be allowed to construct more heavy-water reactors or collect heavy water as it has been doing, as spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium that can be used for a nuclear bomb. But that restriction ends in 15 years.
There’s something definitely worth noting here—every restriction has an expiration date. Eight years. Ten years. Fifteen years. And what then? What happens when time runs out? We are simply setting a time bomb that’s waiting to explode and wreak havoc across the Middle East—across the entire world. We are pushing back the crisis, not solving it. We are essentially paving the path for a race for nuclear arms in the Middle East, giving a set time for when Iran can develop its bombs—giving other countries a deadline by which they must develop their own.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Besides, how could this happen? Experts and President Obama himself insist that the deal cuts off “every pathway” Iran could take to develop nuclear weapons. Inspectors from the IAEA will consistently monitor Iran’s declared nuclear sites and will confirm that no fissile material is transferred elsewhere to construct a bomb in secret.
Additionally, Iran has also agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement, which will permit inspectors to access any site they view as suspicious. IAEA inspectors will also be able to request visits to military sites to ensure there are no military dimensions to the nuclear programmes. Everything seems like it is being monitored, so how could Iran possibly violate the agreement?
Quite, easily, actually. IAEA access to military sites is not guaranteed and could be postponed, giving Iranians time to hide all evidence of suspicious activity. Iran will have the right to challenge IAEA requests. As if that isn’t enough, the UN ban on Iranian importing of ballistic missile technology will stay in effect for only a maximum of eight years.
Hold up—so the IAEA inspectors who are supposedly closely monitoring Iran’s nuclear programmes don’t actually have guaranteed access to military sites? How, then, are they supposed to be able to inspect for violations of the nuclear agreement?
Let’s take a moment to consider the situation: as it stands, Iran has a substantial collection of enriched uranium and tens of thousands of centrifuges—according to the White House, enough to create possibly ten bombs. US experts believe that if Iran decided to make a bomb even with the JCPOA limitations in place, it would be able to do so in about a year. And within eight years, Iran will legally be able to import ballistic missile technology and will have the necessary uranium and supplies to create weapons of mass destruction.
But no need to worry—Iran has agreed not to engage in activities, including research and development, which could contribute to the development of a nuclear bomb.
And why shouldn’t we believe that Iran will keep its word?
It may appear to some that Iran has been treated unfairly and held to a different standard—after all, several countries have nuclear programmes and possess nuclear weapons. But the reason why Iran has drawn so much attention is that for 18 years, it concealed a secret uranium enrichment programme that could have ultimately led to the development of the nuclear bomb and directly violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The IAEA says that Iran has not provided enough information about its past activities for them to determine whether there are possible military dimensions surrounding Iran’s nuclear programmes. These include possible nuclear-related tests at a secret military site, where Iran has prohibited IAEA inspectors from investigating.
Nothing suspicious or unsafe there. One cannot ignore the pressing question that this information brings up: if Iran claims its motives for wanting the right to nuclear power are not military, why would it prohibit IAEA inspectors from investigating a military site conducting nuclear tests?
Those behind the JCPOA claim that it will make the Middle East a safer place. Yet those living there fear quite the opposite, and those fears are not unfounded.
Prime Minister Netanyahu rejected the idea that the United States could increase military aid to Israel following the agreement, as he believed that would suggest Israel supported the deal.
In an interview with ABC, he said, “I guess the question you have to ask yourself is, if this deal is supposed to make Israel and our Arab neighbours safer, why should we be compensated with anything?”
An agreement that gives Iran any possible way of constructing a nuclear bomb greatly threatens Israel and nearby countries. Iran wrongly believes Israel should not exist, despite Israel’s having legally earned and proven its right to exist over and over again throughout history. If Iran were to get hold of nuclear weapons, Israel would undoubtedly be one of its first targets.
Saudi Arabia also fears an agreement will not stop Iran from eventually obtaining nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia is Sunni-ruled, whereas its rival Iran is Shia-ruled. Additionally, Saudi Arabia worries that the lifting of sanctions with empower Iran’s military and economy, making Iran a real threat to its security.
Israel and Saudi Arabia are two essential American allies within a region overrun by instability. However, America is putting an agreement with Iran before the security of its allies.
This is only the beginning. Although a deal has been made, Israel and Saudi Arabia have warned it could ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East in which countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia could potentially attempt to develop nuclear weapons before Iran can.
The atomic bomb in the hands of Iran would mean our allies in the Middle East would face death and destruction. We have betrayed our friends and gifted our enemies with a clear path to develop nuclear bombs within just a matter of years. The deal will not bring peace and stability to the Middle East—it will destroy the fragments of stability that remain.