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Hector F. Lacera Otalora

Tara Tatum
ENC 1101
A Diplomatic Approach to the Iranian Nuclear Threat
Our world suffers today the same deadly threat of a nuclear holocaust that was present
more than half a century ago. Fifty two years ago, President Kennedy addressed the American
University on the subject of peace. The Berlin Wall had just been built, the USSR had tested the
most powerful weapons ever developed and China was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Less than twenty years after World War II, the prospect of nuclear war was all too real.
Observing all these threats, a number of strategists in the U.S. argued that military action should
be taken against the Soviets, but the President offered a different vision to safeguard the
American international security. In his view, strength included powerful armed forces and
willingness to stand to the American values around the world, but he rejected the prevailing
attitude of taking security as equal to war footing. Instead he proposed for strong American
leadership and effective agreements. With all the threats that the world faced then, it is easy to
underappreciate how safer the world is now. That safety is in danger today. The Islamic country
of Iran has engaged in the pursuit of nuclear arsenal under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons with the P5+1 (United States, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom plus
Germany). Irans nuclear enrichment program has been able to successfully produce enriched
Uranium to create up to nine nuclear weapons. We as a nation who has prevailed a leader in

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diplomacy and have international influence need to stop the threat of a nuclear armed Iran, which
threatens the world to a nuclear holocaust.
Now more than ever, we need to turn to the wisdom that President Kennedy left to us to
approach the Iranian nuclear threat. What we need to do is to sit down and use our reasoning
capabilities to reach an agreement; an agreement that will benefit the world by preventing Iran to
ever acquire a nuclear weapon. You might think that this sounds familiar because it should be.
The government of the United States along with the rest of its allies have been trying to reach a
deal with Iran since 2003 when the first Joint Plan of Action was stablished so Iran would stop
producing nuclear materials toward a nuclear weapon. Iran deliberately pursued a nuclear
weapon underneath the surface of this deal and by doing so caused two major consequences: it
created mistrust between the major countries that participated in the deal and it proved to the rest
of the world that if left unchecked, Iran will indeed reach the creation of a nuclear weapon. This
would be the beginning of a nuclear holocaust.
Why is this a problem?
Nuclear proliferation has been a problem ever since the U.S. first used nuclear warheads
to end World War II; this has been a harbinger for disaster. Erik Gartzke and Matthew Kroening
are Political Scientists who contribute to the daily posts at the Belfercenter of news at Harvard.
They have made vast studies in nuclear proliferation and are authors of twelve different books
that take an analytical approach toward nuclear proliferation. These researchers have stated that
although the use of these weapons began as a means to stop World War II, the U.S. created
something that would worse the international affairs for the fifty years that followed. The vast
arsenals of nuclear warheads from the U.S. and the USSR were fundamental to the structured bipolar politics for over fifty years during the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union did not

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lead to a reduction in the influence of nuclear weapons in foreign affairs. Even after the Soviet
Union collapsed, countries like India, Pakistan, and North Korea have successfully conducted
nuclear tests. In addition, other powers like Iraq, Libya, and Iran have and are pursuing a nuclear
Iran is a particular case that is not only pursuing a nuclear weapon, but it is also
cooperating with terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. This is a terrifying fact for the
rest of the world and to see why this is the case we only need to go back to 2001. The attacks on
American soil on September 11 proved that if terrorists, intent to carrying mass-casualty attacks
were to acquire nuclear weapons, the results would be catastrophic. Iran has an aggressive
foreign affairs agenda that has publicly expressed its intentions to wipe out Israel, and attack the
western countries that oppose its views. The relationship between the U.S. and Israel would
make the U.S. respond to all and any attacks made by Iran with extreme force. The cross-fire of
weapons would bring havoc to the world as we know it today. As I presented in my evaluation
essay, today there are more than 22,000 active nuclear weapons which when scaled to the
300,000+ deaths caused by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, amounts to a potential of
billions of deaths and the apocalypse that we feared in the Cold War.
What is the solution to this problem?
The U.S. in conjunction with the P5+1 needs to reach an agreement built in strong
principled diplomacy to permanently prohibit Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Ward Wilson is a
Researcher from Harvard that has worked in conjunction with the Middle East politics and policy
department of the University of Brookings to extensively study this subject. He contributes to his
daily online newspaper Rethinking Nuclear Weapons. On his article The Winning Weapon?
Wilson points out some of the details that such a deal should include as the international

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community approaches a deal with Iran. The deal should block all ways that Iran could
potentially obtain a nuclear weapon. That is, stop Iran from producing nuclear materials and
from obtaining them from other countries without being inspected.
In order for Iran to produce nuclear materials, there are four different possibilities that the
deal will need to address. To build a nuclear bomb there are two different pathways, one with
enriched uranium and another one with enriched plutonium. To follow the uranium path, Iran
will need both tens of thousands of centrifuges and enough enriched uranium to construct a
nuclear bomb. The 2015 report made by the Institute for Science and International Security
(ISIS) on February 19, revealed that there are currently two uranium enrichment facilities one in
Natanz and one in Fordow, 20,000 centrifuges, and enough material to create 8 to ten nuclear
bombs. To address this, Iran will need to agree to ship out 90% of its stockpiled enriched
uranium material, disassemble 10,000 of its centrifuges, and keep its level on enrichment below
4%. The third way that Iran could build a nuclear bomb is by using weapons-grade plutonium.
ISIS has reported that there is only one facility in which Iran could enrich plutonium and that is
the Arak reactor, a heavy-water nuclear reactor. Iran would accept to let the international
community redesign this reactor so that it will not produce the materials to make weapons-grade
plutonium. The spent fuel from this facility could also be used as source materials to make a
weapon, as such, Iran would need to agree to ship all of it as long as the reactor exists. The last
way Iran could pursue a nuclear weapon, is by doing so in a facility that has not been declared by
Iran nor discovered by ISIS. This calls for a commitment to stay under severe monitoring,
verification and inspection. Iran will agree to let inspectors from the International Atomic Energy
Agency perform scheduled and unscheduled inspections to avoid the problems the last treaty

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Why would Iran agree to such robust inspection and willingly degrade its weaponry?
The U.S. in conjunction with the P5+1 have put several sanctions and embargos that
under the analysis of several expert American, British and Iranian economist amounts to roughly
56 billion dollars. Money that Iran has made but has been halted overseas until Iran agrees not to
pursue a nuclear weapon. As of today Iran owes over half a trillion dollars of debt to its citizens
in unpaid pensions, medical care between others. Sanctions relief would improve the lives of the
Iranian citizens which happened to be aware of the deal made in 2003. This deal was broken as
Iran pursued undercover research towards a nuclear bomb, ever since then the Iranian citizens
have been expecting their government to agree to an international deal. Even a repressive
government as Iran cannot ignore the needs and requests from its citizens. U.S. analysts report
that without sanctions, Irans economy will grow at least 20% immediately and grow steadily
after that. Under this deal all sanctions against Iran will be taken away and economic
encouragements will be provided as Iran keeps its word.
Iran initially pursued nuclear research because of their energy demand and not enough
supply. Under this deal, Iran will have partnerships with some of the best American and
European researchers that will definitely push Irans nuclear program forward like it never has
been before. Iranian students will have access to the nuclear engineering programs that are now
banned for them because of their current pursuit for a nuclear weapon.

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Why should we agree to such a good deal for Iran? Cant we just force them into
submission with our military?
Reviewing Irans nuclear proliferation history as well as the motives behind the
production of nuclear materials, one can see that the problem deeply lies in two main causes:
One of these, being the cooperation of the Iranian government with terrorist groups, and the
other being the longing to create nuclear weapons. This leaves the U.N. with various options to
act against the completion of the nuclear program in Iran. Military action against the terrorist
groups of Hamas and Hezbollah is always available, but, is not the best option for the weight it
carries on the citizens in Iran. This suggests that the focus should not be put in the relationship
between the government and the terrorist groups but instead should be put on the longing of Iran
to complete the creation of their nuclear weapons.
No matter what desire for nuclear proliferation a country has, it will not occur if that
country does not have access to the supply of nuclear material. A countrys demand for nuclear
material and the supply of this material are mutually independent events. A necessary and
sufficient condition for Iran to produce nuclear weapons its the access to the materials to create
them. A solution to the Iranian Nuclear Threat then follows from a diplomatic deal in which the
U.N. will have a 24 hour inspection to the nuclear facilities, as well as the export of at least 90%
of Irans nuclear waste. This would ensure that the nuclear materials used by Iran are efficiently
used for the sole purpose of energy manufacturing while ensuring the security of other nations.
Critics have argued over the decades that a peaceful approach with Iran should not be
taken because of the economic improvement that it will bring, as well as benefits such as access
to nuclear education and researchers all over the world. We need to remember that the sanctions
that the U.S. and the P5+1 have made to Iran were to persuade it to surrender its pursuit for a

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nuclear weapon. The 56 billion dollars were made by honest Iranian workers and transactions
that are just being held because of the path that Iran has chosen to follow so far. That money was
never taken away to cripple Irans economy, it was just a way to stop it from obtaining a nuclear
weapon. Any benefits that Iran makes because of the deal would pale in comparison to the threat
of a nuclear weapon.
Another criticism has been that our mighty military can always step into Iran and bomb
its facilities to stop their nuclear program. David Albright is the chief scientist from ISIS who
conducts research into the international nuclear agreements and makes sure that every nation
keeps its word. He has stated that the bombing of facilities will not end the nuclear program, it
will just draw it back a couple of years at the most. Not to mention the thousands of lives that
would be sacrificed from both our military and the Iranian citizens.
Choosing the diplomatic approach:
If we analyze the past deal made with the USSR in the Cold War, to avoid a nuclear
conflict America agreed to shrink significantly its nuclear arsenal which was already in a similar
level than that of the USSR. This made that deal risky but the choice was made to keep
diplomacy and the world out of a nuclear conflict. This deal does not provide any sort of risk as
that deal did. On the contrary, if Iran ever cheats, sanctions can always be put back and our
military is always an option. However choosing to send our military before even attempting to
approach a diplomatic approach is not justifiable neither to the Iranian citizens nor to our
military. President Reagan once said Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to cope
with conflict by peaceful means. President Kennedy warned Americans not to see conflict as
inevitable, accommodation as impossible and communication as nothing more than the exchange

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of threats. It is time to apply such wisdom. This deal does not depend on Iran changing, but it is a
way to verify and require that Iran forsakes a nuclear weapon.

Works cited:
The National Security Archive. The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II A Collection of
Primary Sources. Ed. Burr William, 27 Apr. 2007.
Hersh, Seymour M. Iran And The Bomb. Annals Of National Security (2011): n. pag. Web. 25
Jul. 2015.
Gartzke, Erik and Kroenig, Matthew. A Strategic Approach to Nuclear Proliferation Belfer
Center for Science and International Affairs files. (2008): n. pag. Web. 30 Jul. 2015.
United Nations. Office for Disarmament Affairs. Nuclear Weapons. Weapons of mass
destruction disarmament. United Nations. Web. 01 Aug. 2015.
Wilson, Ward. The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons (2007): n. pag. Web. 30
Jul. 2015.
Dizikes, Peter. The U.S. Iran nuclear deal: MITs experts size it up MIT news office. (2015):
n. pag. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.
Sebenius, James K and Singh, Michael K. Is a Nuclear Deal with Iran Possible? Belfer Center
for Science and International Affairs files. (2012): n. pag. Web. 04 Aug. 2015.

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