Essay: 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty went into effect in 1970 and requires the 189 Nations involved to review the Treaty every five years. This treaty represents the foundation to keep the spread of weapons of mass destruction from spreading to every nation on the globe. The next review is set for May, 2010 and faces a situation where it is believed that Iran has acquired nuclear capability despite its constant denial. Iran claims its work with nuclear material is for peaceful use, however, the government recently stated that it has every right to make WMD’s if it so chooses.

In talks with France, Germany and Britain last year, Iran agreed to temporarily suspend it’s enrichment program. The United States is not officially involved in the talks, preferring to make its thoughts and intentions known through the Europeans. Europe is working to make the suspension permanent in return for better trade deals. However, many NeoCons in the US are calling for preemptive strikes against America’s former ally.

Most experts feel that the ongoing talks are a good sign despite the aggressive rhetoric coming from some unofficial circles. Some American policy wonks see Iran’s stance as a bad sign, that Europe will never be able to give up enough to make Iran happy and permanently nuke free. So having the program temporarily suspended is as good as it gets for the rest of the world. Some question what it is that Iran is doing covertly while the talks are continuing. Others believe that the United States must get directly involved if the talks are to succeed. Many believe that the only way to achieve anything at all is for the US to agree to lift all economic, trade and political sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian nuke program started back in the time of the Shah fueled by gifts from its giant ally, the United States. The plan, at the time was to build 20 nuclear power reactors. Two plants were begun but ended up getting bombed by the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war. The nuke program was suspended in 1979 following the Iranian revolution. Present day Iranian plans call for the construction of 15 power plants and two research reactors. R&D efforts also took place during the time of the Shah with American blessings. Iran signed onto the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in 1970 and since 1992 has allowed for inspections of its nuclear facilities. These days it is believed that Iran is using many facilities to enrich uranium and turn it into weapons grade material. They are using a number of sites to cut down detection or attack.

Most governmental experts do agree on one point and that is Iran’s nuclear weapons and future ambitions will be number one on the agenda when all parties meet in New York later this year. Iran has already agreed to attend the convention review with many analysts saying this will lead to dramatic and heated debate. 180 countries are expected to be in attendance at the conference slated from May.