Nuclear Weapons Reality on Iran and North Korea

Just like North Korea, Iran is well down the road to nuclear weaponry

In an article titled “It’s Time to See Iran’s Nuclear Plan for What It Is” in The Irish Times on 25th of November 2009 I explained why Iran will end up with nuclear weapons, citing its clear strategy of approaching nuclear weaponry, and particularly negotiations with the West and the IAEA, exactly as North Korea did for decades.

As I put it: “The… harsh fact we should now face up to is that Iran (a close ally of North Korea, with many nuclear, missile development, military and other connections with that state) is playing the nuclear game with the international community using exactly the same tactics North Korea used. Why wouldn’t they – they know they will be successful.”

“The Iranian game plan goes like this. Ostensibly agree to what the international community wants, raise questions and doubts, make counter-proposals, drag out the timing, ensure details are complex and ever-changing, and the attention and understanding of the international community will move elsewhere, and never focus on the big picture.”

“Add to this toxic brew the short timelines of democratic administrations, short attention spans for complex ever-changing issues, and the unwillingness of UN Security Council veto holders (China with North Korea and China and Russia with Iran) to back tough sanctions, and the result is a foregone conclusion.

A regime with single-minded purpose easily outmanoeuvres the international community. What worked for North Korea will work for Iran. Iran will soon have nuclear weapons.”

A recent (May 2011) analytical paper published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies confirmed my views on North Korea. The paper – No Exit North Korea, Nuclear Weapons and International Security, by Jonathan D. Pollock – is unambiguous in its conclusions: “The basic facts of North Korea’s nuclear history are beyond dispute. A heavily armed, highly secretive regime minimally accountable to the outside world is now a de facto nuclear-weapons state … Pyongyang insists that it will retain and if necessary enhance its nuclear capabilities for the indefinite future . It also asserts that its weapons capabilities ensure its treatment on ‘an equal footing with other nuclear weapons states.’ .. North Korea does not treat nuclear weapons as a bargaining chip, and instead views these weapons as central to its identity and security planning.”

North Korea’s own views on nuclear weapons, usually ignored in the West, are crystal clear. In a commentary on the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, it had this to say: “Although some… take issue with our possession of nuclear weapons… we, as a country outside the treaty, pay no heed to them.[ We] are not bound to any duty of not possessing nuclear weapons, and have the legitimate right to continuously expand and strengthen [a] nuclear deterrent necessary enough to defend the state’s supreme interests.”

For North Korea now, read Iran in future. And yet the international community, and particularly the anti-nuclear proliferation community, blithely does nothing, or continues to play a game the result of which is utterly predictable.

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