Jonathan Brewer is currently a member of the UN Panel of Experts on Iran created pursuant to UNSCR 1929 (2010). The opinions in this article are the author's own and nothing should be construed as representing the views of the Panel or drawing on the work of the Panel. We thank Christopher Hobbs for comments on an earlier draft of the article.
Iran's nuclear challenge: nine years and counting
Version of Record online: 1 JUL 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). International Affairs © 2011 The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Volume 87, Issue 4, pages 923–943, July 2011
How to Cite
BOWEN, W. Q. and BREWER, J. (2011), Iran's nuclear challenge: nine years and counting. International Affairs, 87: 923–943. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2346.2011.01011.x
- Issue online: 1 JUL 2011
- Version of Record online: 1 JUL 2011
The technical and political evidence that Iran is seeking to establish a ‘nuclear hedging’ capability has gradually increased over the past nine years. The regime in Tehran has continued to insist that its nuclear ambitions are purely civilian in nature and it has resisted the international community's dual-track policy, encompassing both negotiations and sanctions, to persuade Iran to be fully transparent about its nuclear activities and plans, and to suspend work related to uranium enrichment and plutonium separation. While the prospects for a negotiated solution currently appear slim, the regime does not yet appear to have decided whether, or when, to produce nuclear weapons and to break out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is essential, therefore, to maintain and if necessary to build up the pressure on Iran and to strengthen efforts to disrupt its procurement of technology and materials for its nuclear programme. It is also imperative for the international community to maintain negotiations and also consider alternative diplomatic approaches to enhance the prospects of keeping Iran focused purely on civil nuclear ambitions, while at the same time resolving questions related to the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme.