Accuracy in Media

trouble looming with Iran’s nuclear aspirations is potentially one of
the most significant problems the new President will inherit from the
Bush administration. As Iranian nuclear facilities are
developing, international efforts at prohibiting the rogue nation from
expanding into nuclear weaponry are proving ineffective. Despite
multiple sanctions from the UN Security Council, repeated requests for
explanation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and
lucrative negotiation offers from Western powers, Iran seemingly
remains committed to the path towards an advanced—and dangerous—nuclear

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) outlined the country’s current nuclear capabilities in the dossier “Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East”:

“The exception is the Russian-built power reactor at Bushehr in Iran,
which is nearly completed. Iran is also standing up a gas-centrifuge
plant at Natanz, designed to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) for
reactor fuel, but which also would be able to produce highly enriched
uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons. At Arak, Iran is building a
heavy-water-moderated research reactor which has various civilian uses,
but it is also ideal for producing plutonium for weapons if the spent
fuel is reprocessed.”

The surrounding countries aren’t hedging bets on Iran’s intentions as
anything less than a nuclear-weapons capability. The IAEA reported Iran
to the UN Security Council in February 2006 for traces of HEU. The IISS
states that “In the span of the eleven months between February 2006 and
January 2007, at least 13 countries in the Middle East announced new or
revived plans to pursue or explore civilian nuclear energy.” As gaining
nuclear-weapons capability is most easily plausible through first
developing peaceful nuclear-energy programs, the reaction of Iran’s
neighbors indicates the gravity of the ticking (nuclear) time bomb.

As the situation intensifies, America faces two options: appeasement or
confrontation. Inaction on the Iranian nuclear crisis is considered
synonymous with appeasement, as the U.N. sanctions and IAEA probes
continue to be proven ineffective. Critics of American involvement
assert that Iran’s neighbors should handle the impending nuclear
calamity, as the U.S. would be unaffected by Iranian nuclear weaponry.
However, this viewpoint fails to account for the critical U.S.
involvement in the region—whether it be the American troops in Iraq or
our expressed military backing of Israel. Also, the future efforts of
the other Middle Eastern countries to obtain nuclear capabilities to
compete with Iran could lead to a dangerous nuclear proliferation in a
chronically-unstable region.

The Bush administration handled the North Korean nuclear crisis by pressuring China into wielding influence over the
defiant nation; some call for Israel to handle the Iranian problem
almost as an American proxy. Israel has experience handling imminent
nuclear threats on the offensive.

The IISS reports that “Israel’s 6 September 2007 bombing of a facility
near the town of al-Kibar on the Euphrates Rives in northeastern Syria
stopped what appears to have been the initial stage of a Syrian
nuclear-weapons programme.” Yet Israeli’s clandestine attack on Syria’s
concealed nuclear facility received virtually no backlash due to
Syria’s desire for secrecy about its illegal facility and American and
Israeli discretion in releasing information about the event. Iran’s
nuclear programme, unlike the Syrian intentions, already commands
international attention. An Israeli attack would carry significant
regional repercussions as well. Israel is currently conducting
well-publicized military exercises in response to the nuclear threat in
Iran, yet whether the Jewish nation would attack without an endorsement
from the U.S. remains to be seen.

With American attention focused inward on the domestic issue du jour,
developing threats abroad can easily escape public notice until a
full-blown conflict erupts. With Iran, American can’t afford
disinterested inaction. One thing is certain: despite the regional
instability certain to result from military action with Iran, America
doesn’t have time to waste in dismantling the Iranian nuclear program.
To allow a nuclear weapon in the hands of the resolutely anti-American
country backing terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah—dedicated to
‘wiping Israel off the map’—would be virtually ensuring a nuclear

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