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The Iran Nuclear Deal
Transcript of The Iran Nuclear Deal
The field of International Relations is filled with many different theories that give contrasting views of the nuclear deal.
The theories that will be examined are:
A realist approach to the deal would suggest that states must think rationally to ensure that the protection of the states is the primary goal.
Realists believe that because of predisposed anarchy between states, they behave a certain way.
However, if one state, the U.S. for example, resists cooperation in order to maintain it's own interests, conflict could easily arise.
The U.S. would be in opposition to a deal that allows Iran to have any kind of nuclear weapon because it infringes on how "protected" they are.
Realism would not lead to any kind of great compromise, and most likely, would try to shut down any nuclear program (peaceful or not) within the region.
On July 14th, 2015 an agreement between the P5+1 and Iran in regards to their nuclear program
P5+1 consists of The United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom plus Germany
The six world powers joined together in 2006; forming the UN Security Council.
There is much controversy over the agreement and decades of previous diplomacy shroud the issue.
Background/Key Questions of the deal
"Iran is allowed to keep 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges in Natanz and another 1,000 at Fordow." (Fischer) They can continue with research and development for nuclear energy programs as well.
The deal raises some key questions:
The facility at Fordow was built in secret...so how are they to be trusted?
What is to stop them from developing the breakthrough to nuclear weapons?
How will sanctions be enforced/unenforced?
Why would Iran want nuclear development?
To be seen as technologically advanced.
Deny Western control because it would no longer be needed
Prove to be an actual threat against sworn enemies such as Israel.
By: William A. England
A worker rides a bicycle in front of the reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, on October 26, 2010. (Associated Press)
Technicians of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation in a control room supervise resumption of activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, Iran in an August 8, 2005. (Reuters)
Iran promises that their nuclear program is peaceful, and those in agreement must operate in good faith that they will keep their word.
Israel warns that Iran will exploit the deal and use the "$4.2 billion frozen overseas assets that they get back to weaken international sanctions" (Hall) - which would be devastating in the event that they do develop a nuclear weapon.
What is the best approach to examing the issue?
Israel can be seen as the biggest opponent of the deal. Given their past history with Iran spanning back to biblical times, it is their greatest nightmare for Iran to have nuclear arms.
However, Iran must be inspected by the UN Security Council. "No country under UN inspection has ever developed a bomb." (Hall)
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry negotiate at the UN Security Council meeting (Getty Images)
"Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that “no Americans will be part of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection teams.” (Hall)
This leads to American distrust because they are not involved in the mandatory inspections of the deal. Realists would argue that it is this kind of uncooperativeness that leads them to behave in a protectionist manner.
The problem with a realist approach is that it is unrealistic - "the polarity it creates on defensive and offensive terms often leads to war." (Sjoberg via class lecture)
They do not accept the fact that anarchy may not influence states behavior, ruling out alternatives such as fear. (Iran having nuclear weapons could cause this)
Revolutionary Guard personnel watch the launch of a Zelzal missile in June 2011 near Qom, Iran. (Mehr News Agency)
Liberalism is often thought of as the opposite of Realism. It sees anarchy can be tamed and that there are viable options to mitigate conflict.
Unlike realists, liberals do not rely on problamatic assumptions to ensure their own survival.
Instead - Liberals would seek to reach a deal with Iran in order to create peace.
Economy also plays more of a role - the current deal lifts strict economic sanctions previously placed on Iran
By compromising within states, the international economy as a whole would benefit from enhanced cooperation. (Dunne, Timothy, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith)
The ministers of foreign affairs of Germany, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, France, Russia, the European Union and Iran meeting in Geneva for the interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. (U.S. Department of State)
Problems arise via cooperation as quickly as they are solved.
The main issue with liberalism is that if conflict were to arise, it is hard to explain because everyone is 'supposed' to be cooperating.
This leads to states falling back on national security and going on a defensive agenda.
However, Bruce Russet and Charles Kegley would argue that the end of the Cold War provides a perfect example of peaceful and profound change. This time period generated a great shift back to idealism.
Celebrations in Tehran after deal reached (Ynetnews/AFP)
The primary goal of neoliberalism is to achieve cooperation between states via the international system. Formal institutions play a major role and take the form of budgets, staff, buildings, and additional resources.
States work together creating institions like the United Nations for the betterment of their collective interests.
Neoliberalism varies from liberalism in that it soely focuses on international institutions to achieve cooperation.
The current negotiations of the deal are very neoliberal in nature because it is a collection of powers working together to achieve collective agreement.
Neoliberalism suggests that states will also be making decisions based on their own self interest - and must rationally weigh the cost/benefit ratio.
The P5+1 powers are all trying to make a deal that benefits themselves as well as the international community.
"President Obama at the White House on Augyust 4th. He will seek on Wednesday to explain and defend the international agreement reached last month with Iran." (New York Times)
One of neoliberalism's primary facets is the focus on economics. By placing emphasis on a global exchange of capital across national borders, neoliberalism limits itself in that it does not factor in lesser states that cannot keep up with its expensive worldview.
This is part of the reason Iran had economic sanctions placed on it to begin with.
The Iran Nuclear Deal lifts the current $150 billion dollars of economic sanctions - which Iran says it will use for the betterment of it's people.
Which leads to a major fault in neoliberalism; by focusing too much on the individual states economic well being in a competitive capitalist world market, the losers/those that cannot financially keep up (Iran) are granted lifts on economic sanctions in order for them develop.
Surely, world powers do not plan on keeping track of what Iran spends it's money on, and some would argue it could end up in the hands of Hezbollah, who not too long ago were killing Americans.
It Takes Money to Make Money
Constructivists believe that the identity of a state is created throughout it's history instead of aspects of human nature. It is these "social constructions that shape the international arena" (Fierke).
Much of how states identify is based on whom they associate with.
A constructivist would argue that given Iran's history of support for Hezbollah, anti Isreali tendancies, and antipathy towards the U.S., that they are not be trusted with anything resembling the ability to develop nuclear energy.
"A general view of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran, about 800 miles south of Tehran." (Reuters/ISNA)
If states do in fact act in accordance/create identity with each other, then Iran has found themselves possibly being guilty by association.
The social cognition about Iran from a U.S. point of view is not good - we draw many assumptions including that they will use their nuclear energy program to develop weapons.
In contrast to Western assumption, Iran has "agreed to transform its deeply buried plant at Fordo into a center for science research... Some 5,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium will remain spinning there, about half the current number...That is considered insufficient for a bomb rush." (Broad/Pechana)
Saying and doing are two very different notions. The problem with a constructivist approach is that it draws conclusions about Iran having premeditated malintent based soley on their neighboring states.
"European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend the announcement of an agreement on Iran nuclear talks on April 2, 2015 at the The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne. Iran. (Getty Images)" (hereandnow)
What is the right theory?
Unfortunately, there is no 'one theory' that works best in this situation because their are so many variables.
They include Iran-Israel relations, monetary sanctions, desires of other worlds powers, etc.
In my opinion I believe that the United States needs to adopt a hybrid realist-constructivist approach. This is because:
The protection of the U.S. needs to be out top priority - Iran having nuclear energy is a potential threat to our well being.
Iran does not have a very good track record of good behavior. With actions such as funding Hezbollah, and attacking our ally Israel, their desire for a peaceful energy program should be taken with a grain of salt.
Once Iran can prove that they will not create conflict in the region talks of nuclear energy programs should be entertained, until then, the current deal gambles too much on trust.
The two paths to nuclear arms - both of which require Uranium/Plutonium to start. Either Uranium is enriched to gather the necessary isotopes, or Plutonium is harvested by irridating Uranium in a nuclear reactor. (New York Times
Negotiators meet for nuclear talks (Reuters)
(The Cagle Post)
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(Denver Post/Steve Sack)