720b9d0346f86fb003d62607_dr4030c.jpg

Answering Iran

Iran’s nuclear activities confront the world with difficult choices – acquiescence, military intervention, or ever-tighter economic sanctions. None is costless or risk-free, and neither the costs nor the risks are possible to calculate with precision.

NEW YORK – We know quite a bit about Iran’s nuclear program, and what we know is not encouraging. Iran is reported to be enriching uranium at two sites – some of it to levels of 20%, far beyond what is required for civilian purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency also reports that Iran is carrying out research to develop designs for nuclear warheads. In short, Iranian officials’ claims that their nuclear program is aimed solely at power generation or medical research lacks all plausibility.

Yet there is still much that the world does not know. For example, we do not know whether Iran is conducting secret activities at undisclosed sites, or when Iran could develop a crude nuclear weapon, with estimates ranging from several months to several years. We also do not know whether Iran’s divided leadership has decided to develop nuclear weapons, or to stop just short, calculating that the country could derive many of the benefits of possessing nuclear weapons without running the risks or incurring the costs of actually doing so.

Either way, Iran’s activities confront the world with difficult choices. None is costless or risk-free. Moreover, neither the costs nor the risks are possible to calculate with precision.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/HIFZQUB;
  1. abe10_TIZIANAFABIAFPGettyImages_shinzoabesmilingatcamera Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

    The G20 in Osaka

    Shinzo Abe

    Japan is advocating a system of “Data Free Flow with Trust,” an approach that attempts to allow the free flow of data under rules upon which all people can rely. And launching DFFT is just one of four major agenda items that Japan's prime minister has in store for the group's upcoming summit.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.