Since 2003, Iran has been accused by members of the international community of attempting to build nuclear weapons. While their argument has remain that their pursuit of nuclear technology is to...

Since 2003, Iran has been accused by members of the international community of attempting to build nuclear weapons. While their argument has remain that their pursuit of nuclear technology is to create new energy source for it citizens, the international community has remained skeptical of their ambition. 

1. Should force be used if necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring Nuclear weapons? Why or why not.

Expert Answers
caledon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Would the world be a better place if Iran had nuclear weapons? I would argue that it would not, and therefore it should not possess them. I believe that force can, and should be used, by the nations threatened by Iran's weapons, because it is right for them. Put it another way; if they don't prevent Iran from gaining these weapons, they put themselves and their citizens at a greater risk than before Iran had the weapons, while Iran and its citizens benefit. This is a definite loss of power, and therefore "wrong", from the perspective of those nations.

War has always been a matter of some hypocrisy when it comes to "inviolable human rights"; consider, for example, that murder becomes legal in war. Likewise, despite the fact that we might argue that everyone is entitled to defend themselves from aggressors, there are uncountable cases of nations attempting to prevent each other from acquiring weapons and weapon technologies in order to gain or maintain a strategic edge. The Baruch Plan, for example, was an offer by the United States to give up its nuclear arsenal, and turn over both its technology and oversight to the United Nations, in the interests of nonproliferation. However the Soviet Union vetoed this plan, hoping instead to develop its own weapons and maintain a military advantage.

Using force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is a simple idea, but difficult to execute.

  • For one, it would demonstrate a violation of Iran's sovereignty and a blow to its international reputation. The aggressor nations would be directly challenging Iran's honesty as well as its right to control its own military. This would be immensely hypocritical if the aggressor nations have nuclear arms themselves.
  • Second, how would the force be applied? And how would it ensure that Iran would not acquire weapons? An analogy might be drawn to the Israeli attack on Iraq for similar reasons, Operation Opera. Use of force means either flying into Iran, landing troops there, or seizing its international assets and shipments. All of these actions can, and have, in the past, been considered acts of war.
  • Another important element is the role of the United Nations. Ostensibly, nonproliferation and nuclear oversight is the UN's domain, and "taking matters into one's own hands" is a violation of international procedure, respect and manners. Israel was widely condemned in the aftermath of Opera. However, this is essentially all that happened; Israel was not attacked, and its actual punishments were minimal in comparison to the military victory it achieved. This points to another important disparity between philosophy and reality.

Laws are meaningless without the will and the strength to uphold them. Israel demonstrated that an act of war, with the backing of powerful allies, a powerful military, rapid action, against a controversial foe, with weak judicial oversight, could be successfully accomplished with little or no real danger to Israel. Likewise, Iran is a controversial enemy, and whether or not forcefully preventing their acquisition of nuclear weapons is right has no bearing on whether or not that morality can be enforced. We might argue that, in these cases, might makes right. What we say is right is not as important as what we practice.