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1 Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Vol. XXXVI, No.2, Winter 2012 Iranians and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty C. Christine Fair* Karl Kaltenthaler* William J. Miller * Introduction Iran’s nuclear ambitions continue to vex the international community, bringing the Islamic Republic into ever-sharpening conflict with the United States and its key European allies (Dueck and Takeyh 2010)1 . Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state, claims that it seeks only to develop the full fuel cycle of a nuclear energy program for peaceful purposes rather than the pursuit of nuclear weapons. All NPT signatories are allowed to do so under Article IV of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty).2 Despite Iran’s claims that enrichment is a right conferred by the NPT, the United States and its allies believe that Iran is using its purportedly civilian energy program to develop a nuclear weapons capability covertly. Washington demands that Tehran end uranium enrichment on Iranian soil, fearing that Iran will *C. Christine Fair is an Assistant Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. *Karl Kaltenthaler is a Professor of Political Science, Director of Research Projects, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Akron. *William Miller is an Assistant Professor in the Public Administration program at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. 1 Dueck, Colin and Ray Takeyh. 2007. “Iran’s Nuclear Challenge.” Political Science Quarterly 122, 2. 2 Full text of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, available at Federation of Atomic Scientists, http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/text/npt2.htm. 2 eventually break out of the NPT and weaponize as North Korea did in 2006 (IAEA Board of Governors 2010)3 . To achieve this goal, the United States, working with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the EU-3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), and the European Commission, among others, has sought to increase the pressure on Iran in a variety of ways. While calls for military action were most prevalent during President George W. Bush’s tenure, President Barack Obama’s initial approach of engaging the regime through diplomacy has failed to fructify and thus the Obama administration too is considering punitive approaches (Cooper and Landler 2010)4 . Israel, which enjoys Washington’s support, is increasingly considering military action to retard Iran’s program (Levinson 2010)5 . Given the increasing international concern about Iran’s nuclear brinkmanship, numerous organizations have fielded public opinion surveys in Iran. These surveys tend to cover a range of issues pertinent to Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, inclusive of questions that seek to ascertain the degree to which Iran’s citizenry approves of the NPT, Iran’s commitment to the NPT, beliefs about other states’ commitment to the NPT as well as development of nuclear weapons (Global Opinion Trends 2002–2007: A Rising Tide Lifts Mood In The Developing World – Sharp Decline in Support for Suicide Bombing in Muslim Countries 2007; Mogahed 2008; Muslim Public Opinion on US Policy, Attacks on 3 The legality of this position is tenuous. Opponents—such as Iran—take refuge in Article IV. However, states found to be in violation of Articles I or II forfeits the rights conferred by Article IV. Article I of the NPT states “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.” Article II of the NPT states “Each non-nuclearweapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2766-0176
Print ISSN
0149-1784
Pages
pp. 1-31
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-01
Open Access
No
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