Iran’s Nuclear Program: Diplomacy, War, and (In)Security in the Nuclear Age

17 Mar


Perhaps, Netanyahu deserves some words of appreciation, at least from the Israeli hard right, for the temporary erasure of the Palestinian ordeal from national, regional, and global policy agendas. Many are distracted by the Republican recriminations directed at Obama’s diplomatic initiative to close a deal that exchanges a loosening of sanctions imposed on Iran for an agreement by Tehran to accept intrusive inspections of their nuclear program and strict limits on the amount of enriched uranium of weapons grade that can be produced or retained.


We can only wonder about the stability and future prospects of the United States if 47 Republican senators can irresponsibly further jeopardize the peace of the Middle East and the world by writing an outrageous Open Letter to the leadership of Iran. In this reckless political maneuver the government of Iran is provocatively reminded that whatever agreement may be reached by the two governments will in all likelihood be disowned if a Republican is elected president in 2016, or short of that, by nullifying actions taken by a Republican-controlled Congress. Mr. Netanyahu must be smiling whenever he looks at a mirror, astonished by his own ability to get the better of reason and self-interest in America, by his pyrotechnic display of ill-informed belligerence in his March 2nd address to Congress. Surely, political theater of sorts, but unlike a performance artist, Netanyahu is a political player whose past antics have brought death and destruction and now mindlessly and bombastically risk far worse in the future.


What interests and disturbs me even more than the fallout from Netanyahu’s partisan speech, are several unexamined presuppositions that falsely and misleadingly frame the wider debate on Iran policy. Even the most respected news sites in the West, including such influential outlets as the NY Times or The Economist, frame the discourse by taking three propositions for granted in ways that severely bias our understanding:

                        –that punitive sanctions on Iran remain an appropriate way to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and enjoyed the backing of the United Nations;

                        –that Iran must not only renounce the intention to acquire nuclear weapons, but their renunciation must be frequently monitored and verified, while nothing at all is done about Israel’s arsenal of nuclear weapons;

                        –that there is nothing intrinsically wrong about Irael’s threats to attack Iran if it believes that this would strengthen its security either in relation to a possible nuclear attack or in relation to Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas.







Sanctions are a form of coercion expressly imposed in this case to exert pressure on Iran to negotiate an agreement that would provide reassurance that it was not seeking to acquire nuclear weaponry. Supposedly, Iran’s behavior made such a reinforcement of the nonproliferation treaty regime a reasonable precaution. Such measures had never been adopted or even proposed in relation to either Germany and Japan, the two main defeated countries in World War II, who have long possessed the technical and material means to acquire nuclear weapons in a matter of months. Iran has repeatedly given assurances that its nuclear program is peacefully aimed at producing energy and for medical applications, not weapons, and has accepted a willingness to have its nuclear program more regulated than is the case for any other country in the world.


It should be appreciated that Iran has not been guilty of waging an aggressive war for over 275 year. Not only has it refrained in recent years from launching attacks across its borders, although it has itself been severely victimized by major interventions and aggressions. Most spectacularly, the CIA-facilitated coup in 1953 that restored the Shah to power and overthrew a democratically elected government imposed a dictatorial regime on the country for over 25 years. And in 1980 Iraq invaded Iran with strong encouragement of the United States. Additionally, Iran has been subject over the years to a variety of Western covert operations designed to destabilize its government and disrupt its nuclear program.


Despite their UN backing, the case for sanctions seems to be an unfortunate instance of double standards, accentuated by the averted gaze of the international community over the years with respect to Israel’s process of acquisition, possession, and development of nuclear weaponry. This is especially irresponsible, given Israel’s behavior that has repeatedly exhibited a defiant attitude toward international law and world public opinion. I would conclude that Iran the imposition of harsh sanctions on Iran is discriminatory, more likely to intensify that resolve conflict. The proper use of international sanctions is to avert war or implement international law, and not as here to serve as a geopolitical instrument of hard power that seeks to sustain a hierarchical nuclear status quo in the region and beyond.




Iran is expected not only to forego the option to acquire nuclear weapons, but to agree to a framework of intrusive inspection if it wants to be treated as a ‘normal’ state after it proves itself worthy. As indicated, this approach seems discriminatory and hypocritical in the extreme. It would be more to the point to acknowledge the relative reasonableness of Iran’s quest for a deterrent capability given the extent to which its security and sovereignty have threatened and encroached upon by the United States and Israel.

It is relevant to note that the Obama presidency, although opting for a diplomatic resolution of the dispute about its nuclear program, nevertheless repeatedly refuses to remove the military option from the negotiating table. Israel does little to hide its efforts to build support for a coercive approach that threatens a preemptive military strike. Such an unlawful imprudent approach is justified by Israel’s belief that Iran poses an emerging existential threat to its survival if it should acquire weapons of mass destruction. Israel bases this assessment on past statements by Iranian leaders that Israel should not or will not exist, but such inflammatory rhetoric has never been tied to any statement of intention to wage war against Israel. To assert an existential threat as a pretext for war is irresponsible and dangerous.


From Iran’s perspective acquiring a nuclear weapons capability would seem a reasonable response to its security situation. If deterrence is deemed a security necessity for the United States and Israel, given their military dominance in conventional weaponry, it should be even more so for Iran that is truly faced with a genuine, credible, and dangerous existential threat. Few countries would become safer and more secure if in possession of nuclear weapons but Iran is one state that likely would be. Again what is at stake most fundamentally is the challenge to the nuclear oligopoly that has been maintained since the early stages of the Cold War when the Soviet Union broke the American nuclear monopoly. More immediately threatened if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons at some future point is Israel’s regional nuclear weapons monopoly that serves both as a deterrent to others and helps clear political space for Israel’s expansionist moves in the region. I would not argue that Iran should acquire nuclear weapons, but rather that it has the strongest case among sovereign states to do so, and it is a surreal twist of realities to act as if Iran is the outlier or rogue state rather than the nuclear weapons states that refuse to honor their obligation set forth in Article VI of the NPT to seek nuclear disarmament in good faith at a time. The most urgent threat to the future in this period arises from the increasing risk that nuclear weapons will be used at some point to resolve an international conflict, and thus it should be a global policy imperative to demand efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament rather than use geopolitical leverage to sustain the existing hierarchy of states with respect to nuclear weaponry.




Israel’s military threats directed at Iran clearly violate the international law prohibition contained in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter that prohibit “threats or uses” of force except for self-defense against a prior armed attack or with an authorization by the Security Council. Despite this threat to international peace in an already turbulent Middle East, there is a widespread international acceptance of Israel’s behavior, and in fact, the most persuasive argument in favor of the sanctions regime is that it allays the concerns of the Israeli government and thus reduces the prospect of a unilateral military strike on Iran.




Overall, this opportunistic treatment of Iran’s nuclear program is less indicative of a commitment to nonproliferation than it is a shortsighted expression of geopolitical priorities. If peace and stability were the true motivations of the international community, then we would at least expect to hear strident calls for a nuclear free Middle East tied to a regional security framework. Until such a call is made, there is a cynical game being played with the complicity of the mainstream media. To expose this game we need to realize how greatly the three presuppositions discussed above misshape perceptions and discourse.  







28 Responses to “Iran’s Nuclear Program: Diplomacy, War, and (In)Security in the Nuclear Age”

  1. Gene Schulman March 18, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Good to hear from you again, Richard. Glad all is well.

    Yes, we all know what happens when sanctions are applied. In the case of Iraq, 500,000 innocent children died, and the American secretary of state says it was worth it. And where is Iraq today? Oh, let us pity the poor Iranian people who are suffering sanctions now and what is yet to come: “Bomb, bomb, bomb!” What will the former secretary of state and future president say then?

  2. rehmat1 March 18, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    As American Jewish writer and blogger Steve Lendman insists that US is not serious in resolving Iran’s nuclear issue, as it only wants a pro-Israel regime in Tehran.

    However, Iranians are being fooled by America’s cosmetic gestures like taking Iran off its ‘Terrorist List’ this year while blaming Iran for “walking into Iraq” under the excuse of “fighting ISIS fascism”.

    BTW. Dr. Falk, do you think you would be able to speak at the coming University of Southampton conference on Israel next month – or would be canceled like Gilad Atzmon’s jazz performance in UK early this month.

    • Richard Falk March 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

      I am honestly not sure. There is a big effort to have the university cancel the event..There
      is no doubt that Zionist forces are resorting to nastier methods to meet the surge of Palestinian support,
      particularly within universities..

  3. Kata Fisher March 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    A note:

    “Use in Conflicts”
    “Environmental Contamination”

    Click to access depleted-uranium-fact-sheet.pdf

    • Kata Fisher March 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

      “Cleaning up more than 300 sites in Iraq still contaminated by depleted uranium (DU) weapons will cost at least $30m, according to a report by a Dutch peace group to be published on Thursday.”

      “More than 400 tonnes of DU ammunition are estimated to have been fired by jets and tanks in the two Iraq wars in 1991 and 2003, the vast majority by US forces. The UK government says that British forces fired less than three tonnes.”

      “DU is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as waste by the nuclear power industry. It is used in weapons because it is an extremely hard material capable of piercing armour.

      However, it can contaminate the environment, and has been linked to health problems in civilian populations. Iraqi doctors have reported increases in cancers, and an alleged rise in birth defects is under investigation by the World Health Organisation and the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

      The health effects are disputed by the US and UK governments, who joined with France and Israel to vote against a resolution calling for ‘a precautionary approach’ to the use of DU weapons at the United Nations general assembly in December; 155 countries voted in favour of the resolution.”

      • Kata Fisher March 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

        “Environmental Considerations

        The environmental situation for use of uranium as an energy source is very problematical:

        Safe storage of radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years is required, which is well into the next Major Ice Age. It is a major problem. (Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia, Gregory Benford, Perennial, 2000.)
        Use of uranium for weapons of mass destruction, for radioactive terrorism, as armor for military weapons and in the tips of warheads of standard weapons are major problems. Uranium-tipped weapons were used extensively in the Gulf War, Bosnia War, Kosovo War and Bush Iraq War by the United States armed forces. See The Trojan Horses of Nuclear War, NEIS, 2003. Also, see for descriptions of the inhumanity of such weapons.”

  4. Kata Fisher March 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    I have a reflection:

    “Coercive Fraudulence is committed at the United Nations general assembly” by various regimes.

    How long is this going on?

    • Kata Fisher March 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

      A note:

      I started to watch this, and by 26 minutes into the video – I understand what “Coercive Fraudulence” is. It is as same as “illegal purchase and sell” contracting agreements.

      Nuclear waste is not depleted – it is used to make weapons of mass destruction that is used (while under ban).

      How can this be without sanctions, in full effect?

  5. Kata Fisher March 18, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    I have a reflection :

    Church in Rome (Roman rite) is owning stock (currency) “illegal investments” and with that is guilty of « Financing of terrorism » by the standards of eccalistical / Church Laws.

    (Pope will be very upset about this):

    If Roman – Catholic Leadership does not clean up their illegal investments they will be in hot fire and hot hell.

    9. « Financing of terrorism »:
    a) the acts set forth in article 23 of Law N. VIII on Supplementary norms on
    criminal law matters, of 11 July 2013;
    b) participation in acts established by article 23 of Law N. VIII on Supplementary norms on criminal law matters s, of 11 July 2013, association to commit such acts, the attempt to perpetrate them, the fact of
    assisting, instigating or advising someone to commit them or the fact of facilitating their execution.
    10. « Funds »: assets of every kind, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, however acquired, and any legal documents or instruments, including electronic or digital, evidencing title to, or interest in, such assets.
    11. « Funds or other assets »: any assets, including financial, economic and any other assets, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, however acquired, and any legal documents or instruments, including electronic or digital, evidencing title to, or interest in, such funds or other assets, including bank credits, traveller’s cheques, cheques, money orders, shares, securities, bonds, drafts, or letters of credit, and any interest, dividends or other income on or value accruing from or generated by such funds or other assets.

    Click to access Law%20N.%20XVIII.pdf

  6. Jerry "Peacemaker" March 19, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    For some reason, analyses of geopolitical situations in the Middle East and elsewhere most of the time do not include explanations of the true root causes of differences/sources of contention between nations/groups of people. In the Middle East, the root causes leading to unfortunate increases in tensions are different political philosophies. One philosophy holds that wealth inequality, “winner-takes-all”, absence of true concern for the health and well-being of all, and destructive military action to implement the philosophy are the acceptable options. On the other hand, the “competing” philosophy holds that more equal distribution of wealth, “everyone wins”, real concern for others’ well-being, and peaceful relations with all neighboring nations are preferable foundations for society.
    Instead of agreeing to difficult-but-necessary, honorable, respectful dialogue intended to resolve the differing points of view with regard to societal infrastructure to a mutually agreed upon point resulting in best outcomes for the most people, something, perhaps impossible-to-overcome love of wealth and power, prevents the parties’ initiating, conducting and successfully completing the honorable dialogue.

    • Kata Fisher March 19, 2015 at 8:48 am #

      Now days philosophy (civil or Eccalistical) is deep-rooted form/s of “Diabolic rationalism.”

      What Churches do is extremely evil, and in grave violation of the Gospel and Apostolic doctrine according to the Gospel.
      Not only that they entirely miss the mark – but they are in irrevocable labyrinth of Satan. – And this regardless if their funds come from more or less then 10% taxation of pay-checks (like in Europe) or in Church collections. Is not about what they get from the population but how they administer received funds.

      What does this mean for Church in Rome (Roman rite world-wide) – for example? Grave violation of the Gospel just by mishandling of Church property in relationship with their members (in natural and spiritual terms).

      Churches are dealing with diabolic hell not only in their members – but also what they do with Church property – they placing it all into the power and authority of diabolic hell / “Antichrist’s” and spirit after Antichrist.

      I do wonder how much of funds can be demanded from archdiocese in Cologne, for an example and transferred to the any poor diocese in regions of Africa or India, as the entire continent.

      Can Pope demanded such thing (change in the Church) by the Gospel?

      Yes, he can but he won’t because he must be deceived and evil as all other wicked in all churches are and will remain as they will.

      Not even different parishes (that are poor) take part of the funds from other parishes (in the same diocese) in order to meet their needs. It is that “spirit of separatism” that even Apostol Paul could not rebuke enough and cut it of in the wicked members: Corinthians (who were also charismatic church and extremely pagan-wicked that practiced Church-charismatic disorder).

      Nothing has changed. They always have produced wicked offspring and have remained extremely evil, even to this day and their offspring is spiritually excommunicated.

      Look and see all churches-wicked (including wicked dioceses of Roman Rite).

      • Gene Schulman March 19, 2015 at 9:04 am #

        What does this, or any of your above comments have to do with the subject of this post? For goodness sake, Kata, can’t you control yourself? Richard has may times implored you to stick to the subject, instead of blathering on about “evil churches” and the like.

      • Kata Fisher March 19, 2015 at 9:12 am #

        Gene: I added on to Jerry’s argument (from my perspective).

        Is not like Pope can’t rove with his problem with me. Lol

      • Kata Fisher March 19, 2015 at 10:32 am #

        Gene – I just said a Pope-joke and you have nothing to say?

        I am disappointed….

      • Kata Fisher March 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

        I note about what Jerry wrote:

        I just read report that explains how much women are accursed (from Biblical perspective).

        Regardless my perspective – I have a question about

        Women/child rights:

        Would this have anything to do with with (any part) of analyses of geopolitical situations, as well? Women/child rights.

        I do not believe that this particular report is looking at all Geographical areas and is not reporting actual facts – at least not representation of the cause/effect facts (at least not all representative facts).

        Condition of women/child ( women/child right that can’t be separated from each other) is not always due to poverty (that is not imposed by external forces) itself or lack of democracy.

        It would always reflect in irrational laws that are implemented / illegal laws (that same is true for illegal/fake rule of democracy). All this, in fact, subjugates, and discriminates at the core of the societal order.

        Meaning, the societies should mind child-rights before anything else.

        Would child-rights be legitimate geopolitical focus.

        I do not know why are they minding women rights, at all. Why are women not minding child-rights instead of women rights? (I do wonder from Biblical perspective).

        I myself am mother of three legitimate girls – and while me or my husband never violated their human rights … wicked church came and violated their human rights. Thank God they were born before wicked churches manipulated my spiritual condition – who knows I may have given birth to satanic heathens.

        While I say this not to be mean – only rational toward diabolic culture at rove.

  7. rehmat1 March 20, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Kata Fisher – in case your Zionist rabbi didn’t tell you – the Organized Jewry has long declared both Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby being kosher. Francis is the first ‘Zionist lodge’ pope while Welby has German Jewish ancestry.

    • Kata Fisher March 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm #


      You are worse then Gene – you try to get me say silly things.
      What can I say that may help you all redeem your sins?

      Or perhaps, you would not know the truth? I ‘ll add to your truth – or bewilder the truth.

      “Francis is the first ‘Zionist lodge’ pope” — would be hard to believe without being shocked that Pope has had misters – made harlots out of women.

      lol, making harlots out of women is on Roman rite resume – ever since the girl in Gaza was raped by Samson and Delilah has raped Samson…or that must be another Church “Benjaminite’s” / and tribes of Israelites who’s ancestors stole virgins at another temple…
      (It becomes almost hilarious after that).

      (I think that is the accurate interpretation) and so suitable for this point in time.

      We have heard before from Rabbi Ira that Mother Theresa was a whore of a nun…OMG! (I understood that… I do not think that I misunderstood Rabbi).

      About Francis?

      – who has done that/ had harlot or a whore, all together within a Roman rite – it was said that they had illegitimate children, as well (various bishops/popes with their mistresses)?

      But seriously, sweet Francisco? Who could believe?

      I am Church-Charismatic – its irrelevant for me what counterfeit church does and sexually immoral and unredeemed tribes, all together. It has nothing to do with me.

      If Pope does / did it – that would not shock me.

      Look and see what’s going on with Muslim girls in Saudi Arabia and else where — they make them cover up themselves (while is of advantage for women to practice that tradition, unless they have another tradition)

      but they force women to all bizarre behavior? (not always) while they think they can pul women’s their skirts way from them, and make them / force women to be harlots to them while they are at it without consequence? (That is all evil religion).

      We curse the wicked in natural and spiritual mind.

      Do you know that girl from Libya that was raped? And she stormed into a lobby of a loge (where unmarried people sleep together and concive illegitimate chioldren – that never become legitimate)

      there where where journalists were hanging out she stormed in – I saw her!

      I was told by a “fairy” (yes, a fairy-like filetto lepricano far speaks: straight out lie?)…

      and like God does not speak and has not told filetto lepricano that she cursed wicked Gaddafi, and she destroyed him.

      I know it is true because as evil SOB touched – he was given over to Satan – but Church cross the path with the wicked to tell them that their children are in Satanic seals and blasphemy of God’s Spirit – so they not only learn how evil they are – but how evil their offspring is, and is about to become.

      What about Zionist Delilah’s lodge:

      (Wrenched underpants of zionist lodge – but not the Zion of God-Jahowah):

      Don’t let the girl find out you secret? lol.

      I do not know for Church-Charismatic that is like the smell of a skunk in your armpits (lol).

      You do not know how the skunk is … but I tell you I have lived here for a long time, to learn, and really remained blessed just besting inside the house – or only discern by Spirit of God when I should and can avoid getting hit by a skunk. Rocky Mountains are full of them (I think) they are just everywhere…

      I did observe Pope Francis braking Church Order and Church teaching – but I am not worried…Church/es are given over to Satan at any given day … I mean, they are really. And Pope can do that, in natural while is done in spiritual 😀

      Church Charismatic that has overcomes the power of Satan that was imposed curses anyone in the Name of YAHW and in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, even the Pope by Spirit of God.

      Church does not have to lift the finger to condemn anyone – just by open mouth ad hominem /speak the Word of the Spirit while our mind rushes out the well of condemnation and no well of Salvation upon the wicked and confirms the will of God bestowed upon Church Charismatic that is in no consequence to and with children of devil, and those who are after the devil.

      I would tell you more about that subject, but I have to study – I have a pile of Church stuff I have to go trough (Laughter).

      I do not mean to add to your destress – but I won’t tell you a lie.

    • Kata Fisher March 20, 2015 at 5:01 pm #


      I have to tell you something:

      I just had a reflection:

      “Monica Lewinsky”

      I was like “Huh” …?

      And then I had another reflection:

      “She was raped – and that has not occurred to her mind.”

      And I was like “Huh…?” Raped – by how?

      And then I looked up what she is up to…

      And I have another reflection:

      ” This nation is accursed because of that woman.”

      And I was thinking” Why is that?

      I have no further reflection…about that — but I’ll let you know if I do get any other reflection about that.

      This is mind boggling to me.

  8. Beau Oolayforos April 21, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    On the subject of Republican Senators’ letter to the Iranian leadership, for what it’s worth, I came across a quote by Bismarck, from around 1882:

    “Not all countries are able to offer the same guarantee that their obligations
    will be strictly executed, especially in countries in which the legislature
    exercises more influence than the dynasty. With England, for instance,
    there could be no permanent alliance, because in England, domestic
    politics take precedence over foreign affairs. Political parties which alternate
    in the government of a country do not necessarily recognize the obligations of
    their predecessors…” (Die Grosse Politik der Europaischen Kabinette,
    1871-1914, Vol III, p.207 – via S.B. Fay,
    “Origins of the World War”)

    The first public statement I heard from Donald Rumsfeld following the Bush victory in 2000 was about “moving beyond” missile treaties to which the US had been signatory.

    • Richard Falk April 21, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

      Interesting! And becoming more relevant. If the Iran agreement is subverted by these
      Republican tactics, the peoples of the Middle East, and especially Iran, will pay a heavy price.
      Iran’s hard liners are likely to exert greater influence, inflaming Israel, and what follows
      would not be pretty.

  9. hasby_alawi December 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm #


    Have you seen all that stuff? It’s so good, Ilove it! Just take a quick look

    Speak to you later, hasby_alawi


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