Iranian Nuclear Program Essay

1065 words - 5 pages

Iran's nuclear program is one of the most polarizing issues in one of the world's most volatile regions. While American and European officials believe Tehran is planning to build nuclear weapons, Iran's leadership says that its goal in developing a nuclear program is to generate electricity without dipping into the oil supply it prefers to sell abroad, and to provide fuel for medical reactors. Iran's first nuclear program began in the 1960s under the shah. It made little progress, and was abandoned after the 1979 revolution, which brought to power the hard-line Islamic regime. In the mid-1990s, a new effort began, raising suspicions in Washington and elsewhere. Iran insisted that it was ...view middle of the document...

President George W. Bush sided with Ms. Rice, but declared that the United States would not negotiate directly with Iran until it suspended the nuclear research program. Months of inconclusive talks about talks followed. The situation was muddied in December 2007 when American intelligence agencies issued a new National Intelligence Estimate that concluded that the weapons portion of the Iranian nuclear program remained on hold (IV). That document said that Iran would probably be able to produce a nuclear weapon between 2010 and 2015, while cautioning that there was no evidence that the Iranian government had decided to do so, contradicting the assessment made in 2005. The estimates given by American military officials in April 2010 are roughly in line with the 2007 estimate. But in June, in the run up to a Security Council vote on sanctions, American officials made clear to their diplomatic counterparts that they now think that Iran has revived elements of its program to design nuclear weapons that the 2007 assessment concluded had gone dormant.

Top American military officials said in April of 2010 that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least one nuclear weapon within a year, but would most likely need two to five years to manufacture a workable atomic bomb. International inspectors said in May that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons. President Obama spent the year of 2009 trying to engage Iran in a diplomatic fashion. Tehran initially accepted but then rejected an offer for a temporary solution under which it would ship some uranium out of the country for enrichment. In June 2010, after months of lobbying by the Obama administration and many European governments, the United Nations Security Council voted to impose a new round of sanctions on Iran. By September of last year, there were strong indications that Iran was beginning to feel pain, largely from the additional sanctions imposed by the United States, European, and Asian nations over the summer. But global nuclear inspectors reported at the same time that the country has dug in its heels, refusing to provide inspectors with the information and...

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