Revelations that Iran is operating at least two covert uranium-enrichment facilities
may bring much more than the usual tough talk and sanctions. Experts
anticipate the news could usher in significant changes in how the world
deals with nuclear weaponry and rogue states. Russia and China, two
states which have traditionally declined to join Western pressure on
Iran's nuclear programs, may finally come around. Iran, for all its blustering and posturing, may align the world's great powers in a way that Bush (and
perhaps Obama) never could.
- Going Public Designed to Bolster Sanctions Marc Lynch wondered why Obama would choose to reveal the program, of which he known for years, at this moment. "The timing of the announcement, immediately following the consultations at the UN and the G-20 and just before the Geneva meetings, makes it seem extremely likely that the Obama administration has been waiting for just the right moment to play this card. Now they have. It strengthens the P5+1 bargaining position ahead of October 1, changes Iranian calculations, and lays the foundations for a more serious kind of engagement," he wrote. "I actually think that this public revelation makes war less rather than more likely."
- Paradigm Shift on Nukes, Proliferation, and Terror Marc Ambinder predicted a rapidly changing world with regards to how states think about nukes. "History is conspiring against nuclear proliferation in a way it never has before," he wrote. "The advent of stateless terror, the easy and rapid transfer of technology across borders, the diffusion of nuclear know-how and the isolation of rogue regimes have convinced leaders of the world's most powerful nations that the status quo is unsustainable. Even Russia and China, with vested financial and security interests in Iran and North Korea, are recognizing the basic logic: in a world where nuclear weapons move freely, the chances of a destabilizing nuclear explosion are growing."
- Opportunity for Russia and China to Play Key Role The Guardian's Adrian Pabst suggested
that this is an opportunity for Russia and China, usually reticent to
sanction Iran, to get involved and defuse tensions between Iran and the
west. "So far, US-led efforts to increase pressure on Iran have failed
large part because of Russia's hostile stance in the UN security
council," Pabster wrote. "If Russia drops its opposition to further sanctions, China is
agree or at least to abstain because Beijing's policy is to avoid
isolation within the UN security council – except to block
international interference in Chinese interests in Sudan or foreign
meddling in 'internal' issues such as Taiwan and Tibet."
Pabst explained that the West alone can't solve Iran. "US-led punitive measures also tend to be counter-productive, as they turn countries into pariah states and embolden repressive regimes. Here Russia has a key role to play. Moscow is better placed than the west to help Iran develop its domestic economy by modernising the oil and gas sectors," he wrote. "None of this will guarantee Tehran's compliance with international demands to disclose all its nuclear-related activities. But Russian leverage can make an important difference in defusing the growing tensions that threaten the entire Middle East."
- News is Repudiation of Bush-era Policy Taylor Marsh argued this proved Bush's Iran containment policies didn't work. "This secret enrichment happened under George W. Bush's nose, while he and his team were too busy ostracizing Iran into an 'axis of evil', instead of trying to actually engage them," she wrote. "Not that this would have changed the outcome, but let's be clear that the Republican idea of sitting Iran in the world corner sure as hell didn’t work."
- Time to Reconsider Missile Defense? National Review's John J. Miller wondered if we should return support to a missile defense shield and, by extension, a policy of military containment. "Remember the central rationale of Obama's decision to cancel the missile-defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland?" he asked. "It relied on new estimates of Iran's ability to build ballistic missiles. With today's news, it makes you wonder how reliable these estimates really are—and whether missile defense, given Iran's capacity to surprise, deserves a second look."