Abstract: The official position of the United States is that “Iran must not get a nuclear weapon.” President Barack Obama has repeatedly clarified that “U.S. policy is to prevent – not contain – a nuclear-armed Iran,” and to use military force to achieve that goal if necessary. The problem with this strategy is that military action cannot keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons; it can only delay it. The Obama administration is hopeful that the issue can be resolved through diplomacy, but diplomacy will only succeed if Tehran decides not to pursue nuclear weapons. Since the alternative is a military strike that would merely delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, while proving their need for a nuclear deterrent, the decision ultimately lies with Tehran. The key to successful negotiations with the Islamic Republic is to remember that only Tehran can decide whether or not it develops nuclear weapons. Iran has legitimate security concerns driving its nuclear ambitions that will not go away with the easing of sanctions. The United States and its allies must address Iran’s security concerns by building trust and marking a path into the international community.
About the Author: Andrew J. Bianco is an M.A. Candidate in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs specializing in U.S. National Security and Defense Analysis. By day, he works as a policy research analyst at the AARP Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. He is also a contributor to the web version of the International Affairs Review. He previously earned his B.A. in political science at Boston College. All views expressed are his own.
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