I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in my opinion Iran will succeed in their mission to develop nuclear weapons. I'm not thrilled to come to that conclusion, but I just don't see that any group of countries, or single country as having enough resolve to stop a very determined Iran from getting themselves a couple of bombs in the very near future. In the next couple of paragraphs I will try and explain why I don't think that either the United States, Israel or the European Union will place enough pressure on Iran to stop them from becoming a nuclear power.
Let's start with the European Union. Much of the EU trades extensively with Iran and depends on that trade to keep their economies going, not to mention a dependence on Iranian oil. After watching the European countries, especially France and Germany, behave as the IAEA was deciding whether Iran was in violation of the NPT, I noticed this. It seemed that those countries were more scared about having to place sanctions on Iran, and ended most of their trade between one another, than they were about Iran having nuclear weapons.
The European Union hasn't threatened trade sanctions as a means to punish Iran for continuing their nuclear program, and its seems that they are not willing to give up doing business in Iran to solve the problem. What other leverage does the EU have over Iran? None, so count out the EU stopping Iran.
Let's move on to America. As we all know, America has a few problems in the Middle East at this very moment, that they require Iran's cooperation with. Iraq and Afghanistan are progressing, but if America pressed or attacked Iran to stop their nuclear program, there is no telling how much trouble Iran could cause America if they threw all their resources into destabilizing both Iraq and Afghanistan.
And if you think that's its highly unlikely Iran could cause the U.S. much grief, then tell me why George W. Bush, a man who takes most challenges head on, is keeping relatively quite about Iran? If Bush thought for a second that the mullahs couldn't turn the situation in Iraq for the worse, do you think he would be leaving the problem of Iran's nuclear program to a toothless European Union like he has?
What about Israel you ask? Well, Israel is the world's best hope to stop Iran's nuclear program, but I just don't see it in the cards at this moment. For starters, the Israelis are getting closer to solving their biggest problem, the Palestinian issue and are not likely to attack Iran directly while the peace process is still moving forward. International opinion matters in Israel, and that opinion would be against Israel if they were the ones who sabotaged the peace talks by starting a war with Iran over its nuclear program.
Secondly, there is no guarantee that Israel would be successful in destroying all of Iran's nuclear facilities in an air strike, like it did against Iraq in the 80's. Iran has learned a lesson from that attack and has spread out its facilities, even keeping some totally secret, making a military solution very difficult. If the peace talks fall apart, I could see Israel taking matters into their own hands, but until then, I don't see Israel taking a gamble.
Add to those factors that the NPT is a joke and should be replaced with a better treaty, one with some bit and tougher guidelines. The NPT allows a country to acquire every step in the process of uranium enrichment and the extraction of plutonium legally. The only thing that the NPT prevents is a country from actually taking fissile material and placing it into a delivery mechanism. And once a country gets that close to developing a nuke, I don't see them stopping.
Iran may have also noticed one other little thing, that no country was any worse off directly after they developed nuclear weapons than they were before they had nuclear weapons. Pakistan, India and North Korea were not punished enough to make developing their nuclear weapons not worth their while. And don't think for a second that Iran doesn't know this.
Right now, the situation doesn't look all that great in regards to stopping Iran's nuclear program. Its a shame that the countries of the world have let it get this far without something being done, because the further along Iran gets, the harder its going to be to stop them from making a few nukes. I just hope I'm wrong about all this.