The United States Policies in the Face of Irans Nuclear Ambitions

Irans acquisition of nuclear weapons has been an issue of concern for a long time. This is because it is bound to pose a significant security threat not only to the United States of America but also to the rest of the world. These fears are today even more real with Irans intention to acquire half a dozen theatre level nuclear weapons within the next year. In light of this, the US government has been forced to re-analyze its policy on nuclear weapon proliferation, its foreign policy toward Iran and most importantly, come up with a pre-emptive attack strategy to counter this threat.

My administration has in the past stated that it is working towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons. This position will not change and will remain a vital point in the U.Ss efforts to make the world a better, peaceful and secure place for all peoples. This is especially applicable to the Iranian case seeing that there lies an opportunity for nuclear weapons originating from the country finding their way to the hands of terrorist or militant groups in the Middle East.

The US will in the next year put in place a number of policies intended at ensuring that Irans possession of nuclear weapons becomes of minimal threat to the international system.  As has for a long time been the case, the US will continue to pursue a non-military solution to the nuclear stand-off.  It is widely agreed that the first and most appropriate choice in conflict resolution should always be dialogue.  It will continue to seek for dialogue and negotiation between it and Iran on ways of finding an amicable end to the nuclear stand-off.

It will be first important for the US government to send a signal to Iran that it does not only seek to bring to an end the nuclear stand-off.  It will be seen that an agreement between it and the US and Iran will also result in the normalization of relations between them.  Normalization means that the current tense relationship between the two countries will come to an end allowing for the lifting of sanctions, possible trade arrangements between the two and cessation of all hostilities.  Therefore, the US will begun taking measures to address these issues that have created contention between the countries.
Engagement with Iran as argued by Wisner (2006) will serve to rebuild the relationship between it and the US but also reduce the likelihood of future security threats. This policy has worked before in almost similar circumstances with the former Soviet Union and China.  There is very little reason why the same will not work in Iran

In addition to engaging the Iranian government in bilateral negotiations, The US will immediately embark on a process of seeking and consolidating from its allies in the international community aimed at convincing the Iranian government to give up its nuclear ambitions by altering the risk-benefit equation. The risks put forward for Iran will include penalties like asset freezes, travel bans and political gestures to trade and investment. These, according to Einhorn (2006) will be coupled with incentives like free trade, and the lifting of existing economic sanctions (p.14).

Another strategy that will give the US at least a temporary length of time and allow it to employ other contingency measures will be destabilizing the leadership in Iran and therefore destructing it from its nuclear ambitions. The US will attempt to destabilize and if possible, change Irans political leadership.  Pollack et al (2009) have noted that, like any other country, Iran despite having nuclear capabilities, is still vulnerable to internal problems with possibility of internal revolution. Regime change in Iran will be achieved through taking advantage of the existence within Iran of opposition to the ruling regime.  For example, as Soloski and Clawson (2005) have noted, there are moderate groups within the Iranian society who are willing to cooperate with the US.  It may also require the assistance of Irans neighbors to destabilize Irans regime (p. 212).

This will not only draw Irans attention away from its nuclear activities but also provide the US with more time to strategize on alternative ways of dealing with the stand-off.  In order to achieve this objective, the US will heavily rely on support from both its allies in the Middle East and also its existing, though limited support within Iran.  This will require increased cooperation between the US and these countries and improving our image in the Iranian society.

The US will also during this year come up with ways of ensuring that the countrys defense capabilities are capable of preventing Irans nuclear possessions from threatening US interests.  This strategy, according to Schake and Yaphe (2005) will involve reassuring its regional allies, improving the countrys defenses and sending Iran unequivocal signals

To reassure its regional allies, the US will portray to the international community an image of Iran that is prosperous, powerful and governed by the rule of law.  This will in effect give Iran the political and economic status that it is seeking through international engagement as opposed to based on its nuclear status.  It will also reassure the international community in case the US will be required to use another method to tackle Iran (p.63).

My administration will also seek to improve its own military defense capabilities.  It will develop its ability to destroy incoming warheads and missiles.  This will involve enhancing its ballistic missile capabilities, improving Coast guard monitoring and improve screening at US ports of entry (p.64).
Finally, the US will continue to give Iran a firm and predictable response to any of its military and political threats while providing definitive red lines that should trigger a US response if and when crossed.  My administration will continue to make it clear that the US is committed to defending its territory and citizens, honoring its pledges and security assurances to its friends and allies, maintaining its freedom of military operations , avoiding where possible conflict and most importantly, improving relations with Iran as circumstances will merit (p.71).

While these strategies are intended to prevent the worst from occurring, they stand a chance of not succeeding and will therefore leave the US with no choice but to use military means. This will have better chances of success when military action against Iran is pre-emptive.  While this will most likely result ion more conflict, there are a number of military operations that the US will undertake to ensure its safety.

The US will enhance its operations and military forces currently present in the Middle East.  This is aimed at reducing its interests in the Gulf regions vulnerability to Iranian attack (p. 68).  This will also play a deterrent role for Iran and in effect buy time to improve its strategies.  The US government will also place a premium on weapon systems in the Gulf region.  This will create a virtual encirclement of Iran and therefore prevent missiles from leaving the Iran airspace (p. 69).

Measures will also be taken to reduce Irans capabilities to reach its intended targets. These will include increasing the number of military holdings in one prepositioned site while a the same time reducing them in another, reducing the values of independent ports and air fields and dispensing US forces in smaller units (p. 70). These steps will aid in reducing the potential damages that may be caused by the theatre level nuclear weapons.

In light of the cost and consequences of it making a pre-emptive military attack on Iran, the United States will continue to view the use of is nuclear weapons as a last resort when all other methods have failed. It will however continue to hold the option of using them if its enemies use them first (p. 70)
Irans acquisition of have half a dozen theatre level nuclear weapons within the year is a move that the US is forced to counter. It is an indication that our past policies toward Irans nuclear ambitions have failed. However, it is imperative to note that the issue is very sensitive and will require the US to decide a way of countering the Iranian threat that poses the least risk to its interests and the International Community.

Of the policy options available to us, engagement stands out as the best move to make in order to resolve this nuclear stand-off. This policy is not intended at legitimizing Irans actions and neither does it mean that the US tolerates the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons. It is however a move that is bound to bring forth a long lasting solution to the differences that it has with Iran. It will also save the country and the international community from the losses that will be incurred if and when the country takes military action against Iran.


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