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War on Iran Is Not the Answer

Posted by Jill Marie Parillo on May 27, 2008

The United States needs to stop focusing on a policy which includes: sanctions, preconditions and threats of attack. A new US policy must include direct engagement, in order to successfully swap incentives for concessions. This new policy must be future oriented, so to deal successfully with future threats to the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) calls on Congress to:

  • Sponsor resolutions or hearings which will promote direct negotiations with Iran without preconditions. Take this action with the goal of offering Iran incentives in exchange for concessions from Iran.

Sanctions are not Diplomacy:
Through three consecutive resolutions since 2006, the United States has led an effort with European allies to sanction Iran. In response, Iran consecutively weakens International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cooperation. Full and enhanced IAEA cooperation is needed to verify that nuclear energy technology is not being diverted to a weapons program.

Preconditions:
Current U.S. policy states that the U.S. would talk with Iran, but only after Iran stops enriching uranium. Iran has made very clear that it will not negotiate with preconditions. Negotiations are the only way to swap incentives for concessions.

Threats of War are not the Answer:
Threatening Iran with a military attack only increases tension in U.S.-Iranian relations and increases the possibility of war. A military attack on Iran would have enormous human costs. Military and civilian deaths in just the first wave of attacks against Iran would be expected to be in the thousands.   Furthermore, an attack on Iran would likely plunge the entire Middle East into further chaos and violence, disrupting public health services and putting the well-being of thousands more civilians at risk. An attack on Iran would validate the arguments of those in Iran that support nuclear weapons acquisition for security reasons.

New Future Oriented Policy of Diplomacy:
The United States must get Iran right, since this case is not atypical of the problems the United States will face in the future. The loophole in the nonproliferation regime which allows a nation state to build peaceful nuclear technology (for energy) and then withdraw from the treaty to use that technology for bombs must be closed. The United States will not convince non-nuclear nations to forgo sensitive nuclear technology (dual-use technology for energy and weapons) without incentives. These incentives, like nuclear disarmament, can only be offered through direct, unconditional negotiations.

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