International efforts to persuade Iran to restrain its nuclear program have fallen short, leaving Tehran to continue expanding its nuclear program, particularly its uranium enrichment activities. Later this month, the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany will consider an additional sanctions resolution to persuade Iran to suspend its nuclear efforts. For analyses, recommendations, and background information on Iran’s nuclear program, please visit the following resources from the independent Arms Control Association (ACA).
Independent assessment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program
The November issue of Arms Control Today, ACA’s feature publication, contains a comprehensive assessment of Iran’s enrichment program by David Albright and Jacqueline Shire <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_11/Albright.asp>. This assessment highlights both the progress that Iran has made with enrichment and the potential technical hurdles it still faces in competently running a large-scale enrichment capability, and argues that U.S. military strikes could only worsen the situation.
Beyond enrichment: concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities
Concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions are driven in part by Iran’s violations of its nuclear safeguards and outstanding questions regarding its past nuclear activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency will report on Iran’s progress in answering these questions later this month. ACA provides a descriptive list of these outstanding issues at <http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Iran-IAEA-Issues.asp>.
While Iran’s uranium enrichment program is the primary focus of international concern, Iran’s construction of a heavy-water reactor also poses a proliferation challenge. For more information on this potential “plutonium bomb factory,” see <http://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2006/20061109_Einhorn.asp>.
Recommendations for engaging Iran
Many politicians and analysts have argued that a shift in strategy is necessary to address Iran, including beginning negotiations without preconditions. Arms Control Today has featured several recommendations for diplomatic approaches to address Iran’s nuclear program. See: Joseph Cirincione, “The Clock’s Ticking: Stopping Iran Before It’s Too Late” <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2006_11/StopIran.asp>, and
Charles Ferguson and Ray Takeyh, “Making the Right Call: How the World Can Limit Iran’s Nuclear Program” <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2006_03/MARCH-IranFeature.asp>. ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball also outlines the need for a new approach to the Iranian nuclear issue in the November issue of Arms Control Today <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_11/focus.asp>.