Why UM should be concerned about Iran

It’s a typical weekday. Odds are you slept through your alarm (despite its super-loud setting), half-walked, half-ran to your early-morning class and just finished the last of your reading right before your professor walked into the room. The last thing you’re worrying about is whether or not Iran will have the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Heck, you’re not even sure where Iran is.

Going to school in sunny Miami makes it easy to forget that there is a real world out there. In fact, that is probably what made half the students want to apply. Nevertheless, Iran’s ability towards nuclear proliferation remains a significant threat to the security to the United States-a fact overshadowed by media coverage over whether or not Samuel Alito’s wife was crying during the Senate Judiciary hearings. According to the Dec. 2, 2005, weekly memo produced by the American Israel Public Affairs committee, Iran could have nuclear weapons on disposal within three to five years. Some say more. Some say less.

Why is this a problem? Everyone and their mother now has or claim to have nuclear weapons. In order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, Iran became a signatory of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT calls for all countries that did not have nuclear technology to swear not to obtain nuclear weapons as well as to declare all nuclear activities to the United Nations. However, in 2002, Iran was caught with its hands in the cookie jar when its top-secret nuclear program was leaked out. This surprised most of the international community by its sophistication and its proximity towards reaching nuclear capability. Yes, folks. Iran broke the law.

But it’s more than just breaking the treaty. Unlike Iraq where its nuclear capability was questioned among the international community, both the United States and the European Union remain steadfast in their assurance that allowing what the State Department calls “the world’s ‘most active state sponsor of terrorism” is a bad thing. Iranian President Ahmadinejad (try saying that five times fast) has been spreading vicious remarks towards the United States and Israel including a statement made on Oct. 26 at the World Without Zionism conference saying, “They say its not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know this is a possible goal and slogan.”

Despite its claims that their nuclear program was in pursuit for energy resources, both the United States and the European Union have halted negotiations with Iran until it has sworn to abandon its attempts at uranium enrichment, one of the key processes needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran has remained defiant on this point. With an unpopular war in Iraq, the only viable solution to stop or slow down Iran’s nuclear capability is to bring Iran to the United Nations Security Council. Only the Security Council has the power to impose economic sanctions against Iran in an effort to force the country into isolation. Without the ability to export its resources (i.e. oil), Iran would be paralyzed.

Nonetheless, the United States would only be too happy if this were the end to its problems. Even if Iran is brought to the Security Council, two of its permanent members are our good ol’ friends: China and Russia. These countries have the ability to veto any regulation the UN might try and impose on Iran. And, due to the fact that both countries rely heavily on Iranian oil in order to power their immense populations, they are likely to use it.

So what are the solutions? Plan A still calls for diplomatic negotiations to try and bring Iran to halt its nuclear program on its own. An unpopular solution is to continue to rid the world’s dependence on petroleum through alternative energy resources such as solar or hydroelectric power. In the meantime, the more active about the subject we can be, the faster we will be able to influence our country to focus on our problem in regards to our nation’s security.

Shelley Rood is a freshman majoring in journalism and Judaic studies. She can be contacted at m.rood@umiami.edu.