The US, keen to see Iran get rid of its entire arsenal, is under criticism all round because of its perceived double standards on this issue. The US has long been seen to be taking clauses of the NPT only seriously as and when they suit its international program and so shortly after the Iraq debacle could’t for shame be seen to be careless in Iran. An Iran as a nuclear power doesn’t fit in the US picture of the wider world one single bit however. The dilemma now is how to contain Iran –which is not cooperating adequately with international weapons inspectors and therefore not fulfilling its obligation as an NPT signatory- and not to create a situation of urgency.
Next Monday, EU negotiators and Iranian officials are meeting up to continue negotiations they started late last year. The US is not taking part in them, but is carefully watching over the backs of the three European countries conducting the talks, France, Britain and Germany. Iran has indicated it has warm feelings for the French. Discussions will center on a proposal that the Iranians have drawn up.
Meanwhile, the US’ Israel policy will have to be seen to be somewhat in tune with its wider efforts in the region during the key five year NPT conference in May. US comments that it is working on making the Middle East nuke free are conditioned by the statement that this is not going to be happening in the foreseeable future. This makes sense; the biggest threat to destabilising the Middle East region is Iran’s acquiring of nuclear weapons (which it might well be in the process of or have completed) and Israel’s non compliance to treaties it has signed. Both issues require patience and tact.
Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, Iranian born, recently said that the Jewish state would follow Europe in adopting diplomatic measures to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear capabilities, opening the way for diplomacy rather than going along US lines that might be tougher.