AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
As the United States and five other world powers continue to hold talks with Iran on limiting that country’s possibility of building its own nuclear weapons, the question that needs to be answered is, “Can Iran ever be trusted?”
And that question gained even more credence this past week, when it was reported by German intelligence sources that Iran spies have been seeking atomic and missile technology in Germany, even while their country’s delegates are sitting at the negotiation table.
Since 2013, talks have been ongoing between Iran and the U.S.-led delegation of world leaders to stop Iran’s work on a nuclear weapon. But those talks, from Iran’s perspective, have been more about easing the economic sanctions placed against them and less about limiting their work on nuclear weapons. While the western delegation has tried to push Iran to curtail its nuclear weapons program, there seems to be very few safeguards being put into place that will hold Tehran accountable to anything that is ultimately agreed to.
And that is indeed a scary thought.
Iran desperately wants the economic sanctions that have been imposed on them lifted. And they will say anything at the bargaining table to get those sanctions lifted.
Given Iran’s long history of illegally obtaining nuclear technology from other countries and transporting it in ways that circumvent international sanctions, there is a high degree of probability that Tehran will continue to covertly move toward development of nuclear weapons no matter what they agree to.
Once the economic sanctions against Iran are lifted, countries and companies that once did business with Tehran illegally will be able to do so legally.
And if Iran is successful in developing that nuclear technology, the entire political landscape of the Middle East will change. Instead of simply being a rogue terrorist country, they will become a rogue terrorist country with nuclear weapons.
The economic sanctions that have been imposed on Iran have crippled the country economically. But sanctions were the penalty that the rest of the world imposed on Iran because of its radical government and its backing of terrorism. And, up to now, those sanctions have worked in controlling Iran’s ability to create a nuclear weapon.
Ultimately, that should be the goal of the talks between the west and Iran. Iran must not, and can never, have nuclear weapons. And if they choose to continue to move down the path to develop that weaponry, then the response from the rest of the world must be quick and severe.
Iran has proven that it can’t be trusted in the past. The burden in these negotiations should be on Iran to prove that it will follow the west’s demands in order for the sanctions to be lifted.
Anything less from Tehran is a bad deal for the west and the Middle East. And it is a deal that needs to be walked away from.