As the development of Iran's nuclear program has increased rapidly, there has been a simultaneous increase in the amount of enriched uranium that could be swiftly transformed into weapons-grade material. While Iranian leaders continue to state that the nuclear program is geared towards peaceful purposes, there are increased concerns that the development of a nuclear bomb would be a major security threat. In attempts to discourage and prevent Iran from its plans of developing a nuclear bomb, the United States and other European Union countries have imposed various sanctions against Iran. These sanctions have brought economic and financial blockades that have huge impacts on the Iran's economic and financial system.
While these sanctions seem to have forced Iran to the negotiation table to deliberate on its nuclear program, they have significant strategic value with regards to the impact they have had on Iran's economic and financial system. The strategic value of the sanctions against Iran has been to slow down the country's economic growth that would force Iran to consider its nuclear program and technology. After the sanctions were imposed, there was a decrease in world oil prices and a significant increase in the prices of basic commodities in the Iranian domestic market contrary to Iranian expectations ("The Impact and Repercussions," 2012).
Due to the impact of these sanctions, the Iranian economy sustained significant losses despite of attempts by the country to soften and decrease the effects of the sanctions. Therefore, it can be concluded that the strategic value of the sanctions against Iran has been to have negative impacts on the stability of the Iranian regime. In addition to the huge economic impacts, the sanctions were also geared towards having significant effects on the country's political environment. Actually, the sanctions resulted in the Iranian domestic political environment to be fragmented. In the modern world, the economic and financial blockade against a political regime makes it difficult for a country to develop and rely on itself. Therefore, the main strategic value of the sanctions against Iran is to make it difficult for the country to develop and rely on itself.
In the past decade, Iran's nuclear policies and initiatives have generated much attention and provoked pre-existing suspicions regarding its intentions and external policies. The policies and initiatives have contributed to serious suspicions that have made the Western nations to mistrust Iran on the nuclear issue. The cause of the mistrust is not only attributed to the Iran's nuclear policies but Western mistrust is also attributed to various factors that have resulted in the portrayal and consideration of Iran as the problem for both regional and global security.
The cause for Western mistrust about Iran nuclear issue is the apparent lack of transparency over the country's nuclear program. Actually, the United States and its transatlantic allies have increasingly warned that the lack of transparency about Iran's nuclear program and the development of missile technology are indications that Iran's intentions are not as peaceful as claimed (Ellner, 2012). The Western mistrust is based on the fact that the Iranian nuclear weapons ability would have serious threats on the regional and global security and the future of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran is a member.
The cause for the Western mistrust about Iran's nuclear issue is accurate because of the increased threats to regional and global security. Security has become one of the major significant factors for countries and governments across the globe due to the increase in terrorism. Therefore, there is a huge need for concerted efforts from governments and nations to help in lessening the threat to security. As there is increased lack of transparency about Iran's nuclear program and technology and in light of major security threats worldwide, the Western mistrust could be accurate.
Over the past decade, Iran has continually stated that its uranium enrichment program and development of missile technology is exclusively for peaceful initiatives and purposes. In addition to not possessing weapons of mass destruction, Iran has also signed various treaties such as Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty renouncing the possession of such weapons. However, Iran's nuclear program is still one of the most polarizing issues in one of the most volatile regions across the globe. The main reason for the increased polarization of the issue is the fact that Iran and the West have been at odds about the program for several years.
Even though American and European officials believe that Iran's nuclear program is a threat to both regional and global security, the country's leadership has continued to state that its objective in the nuclear program is to produce electricity ("Iran's Nuclear Program," 2012). Iran has constantly justified its development of nuclear program by stating that it's for the purpose of generation of electricity without the use of oil supply that the country prefers to sell overseas and to provide fuel for the medical reactors. These claims can also be regarded as legitimate argument that Iran has raised regarding its nuclear ambitions and initiatives. To support these arguments, Iran has also stated that the use of its nuclear program for other purposes would be an infringement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it's a signatory.
Based on the obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran's claims on its nuclear ambitions can be considered as legitimate. Actually, through the obligations, Iran has a legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful reasons, which the country has usually complied with. As the country's population has increased rapidly to an extent that it's more than double within two decades, Iran's development of nuclear power is considered as a necessary aspect of booming population and the increasingly-industrializing country.
Iran has basically considered its nuclear program and technology as a sign of national pride and as the technological leader of the Muslim world. The country's first attempt in the production of enriched uranium can be traced back to 2005 when such efforts resulted in the establishment of a secret nuclear research center to train scientists in every aspect of atomic technology ("The Threat from Iran," 2012). Based on intelligence in 2012, Iran has now accumulated nearly 10,000 functioning centrifuges and is aligning the process of enriching uranium in order to transform the low-grade fissile material into high-grade, weapons-ready material.
As the country continues to develop long-range missiles, it continues to enhance the accuracy and fatality of its current missile systems. The consideration of these efforts as a symbol of national pride and the technological leader of the Muslim world has certain strengths and weaknesses. The strength of this view can be basically attributed to the fact that Iran uses its nuclear program as a means for generating electricity without using oil. This in turn contributes to robust economic growth in the country because oil is instead sold overseas and used as fuel for medical reactors. As a result, the country prides itself as a technological leader in the Muslim world since it generates huge revenue from the sale of oil without affecting its potential to produce electricity.
On the contrary, the weakness of this view is that it contributes to the country's constant development of inconsistent and contradictory foreign policy. The country's commitment to the development of nuclear program and technology results in such foreign policy because of the suspicion and mistrust it generates. Actually, Iran is usually faced with tensions between aspirations and limits as well as its ideals and interests because of its perspective of deadly nuclear program.
As previously mentioned, Iran's commitment to the nuclear program and technology has raised serious suspicions and mistrust from other nations. One of these nations is Israel that considers Iran as one of its major enemies, especially with the fact that latest intelligence shows that Iran has developed nuclear program that can reach Israel. The suspicion has even made Israel to declare that the United Nations that the world needs to stop Iran before it can develop an atomic bomb by next summer. The declaration was made to the United Nations General Assembly by Israeli Prime Minister who held a diagram of a bomb in attempts to encourage international action against Iran's initiatives.
The main reason attributed to Israel's declaration is fear that Iran will have adequate enriched uranium to become a threat to Israeli's existence. While debate regarding Iran's nuclear program has generated arguments by proponents and opponents for several years now, Israel's declaration raises huge concerns, especially on whether the country has enough reasons to make such demands. In examining the underlying factors regarding this issue, Israel has sufficient reasons to make such declaration. First, there are no doubts that a nuclear-armed Iran will be alarming since it's a threat to regional and global security. Secondly, Iran's leadership is unreliable and frightening due to the evident lack of transparency about the nuclear program ("Can a Nuclear Armed Iran be Contained?" 2012). Third, it will be nearly impossible to contain a nuclear-armed Iran, especially with regards to command and control.