Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism believes that, in the current climate, United States’ economic sanctions are now the best way to contain and curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
Sanctions on the regime in Tehran should be lifted in the context of an agreement like the one done Iran has with the European Union. Anything short of this might fail to deter a regime that is already in a defensive stance.
Sanctions and the threat of even harsher sanctions can now be aimed at stopping Iran’s plans for uranium enrichment. Such plans, if allowed to be furthered, would bring the region to a nuclear arms race. This would be a security crisis for the whole planet.
By far the best option is to make the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NFZ), as has previously been strongly advocated by Arab states, by Iran and by the G-77 (the former non-aligned countries) and has received support elsewhere. This nuclear-free zone has previously been vetoed by the US at non-proliferation review conferences. This happened under President Barack Obama in 2015. The plan would mean that Israel’s nuclear arsenal is acknowledged and inspections ordered. Although this would likely be opposed by the Israeli government, it would ultimately lead to a far safer and more secure region and enable a meaningful basis for peace.
Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US and United Kingdom claimed that President Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons in violation of Security Council Resolution 687 of 1991, after the Gulf war, which obligated Saddam to end such programs. Article 14 of the same resolution calls for “steps towards the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction.”
Iran has harboured nuclear ambitions since the time of the Shah, who told journalists that Iran would develop nuclear weapons “without a doubt and sooner than one would think.” The initiator of Iran’s nuclear energy program and former head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran was confident that the leadership’s plan “was to build a nuclear bomb.” And the CIA reported that it had “no doubt” Iran would develop nuclear weapons if neighbouring countries did.
Given the current tensions and their alarming implications, it is time for serious moves to be made towards a just and lasting peace in the region. This must start with a reversal of Iran’s nuclear trajectory, which would lead the way to further moves to de-weaponise a fragile region.
Tactics’ Director Thomas Charles believes that a NFZ is an ideal: “A Middle East free of nuclear weapons would allow vital breathing space for conflict resolution and for progressive steps to be made that would resolve many of the insecurities we face in the world today. The current focus must be Iran who, along with the rest of the region, should not possess nuclear weapons”.