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US Policies toward Tehran: Redefining Counterproliferation for the Twenty-First Century
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL STRATEGIC STUDIES QUARTERLY
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Nuclear counterproliferation in the Persian Gulf is failing. In relations with Tehran thus far, US presidents have been unrealistically calling for the eventual strategic goal of zero enrichment capabilities on Iranian soil. In defiance of these demands, Iranian enrichment activities are proceeding slowly but surely toward greater quantitative and qualitative capabilities. Extensive sanctions with genuine negative effects on the Iranian economy and society have formed the crux of US policy for 30 years, and yet the Islamic regime remains in place, enrichment continues, reprocessing facilities for plutonium are under construction, and Iranian leaders are more intent than ever to resist international pressure on the nuclear issue, even as US preventive military attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities remain firmly on the table. Some might argue that there is still hope on the horizon for attaining maximalist US and Western goals vis- -vis Iran. For instance, in 2010 the United States ultimately succeeded in pushing China, Russia, and India, however reluctantly, to agree to several UN Security Council UNSC resolutions in a fourth round of major sanctions. At the same time, the United States yet again ramped up billions in conventional, high-tech arms sales to the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC states. Meanwhile, separately from these applications of more coercive pressure towards Tehran, recent proposals from Russia, Turkey, and Brazil have in various incarnations allowed for limited Iranian production of, and access to, low-enriched uranium LEU. Notably, these eclectic and inventive proposals have prescribed the extensive use of a third party s sovereign territory in materials storage, monitoring, and controls.
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