As the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board prepares to meet on September 19, a group of prominent experts and former officials from the United States and Europe have signed a U.S.-Europe Statement on Iran. The Statement underscores the importance of preventing nuclear proliferation to Iran. It calls on the United States and Europe to make clear to Iran that it can win significant political and economic benefits if it foregoes a nuclear weapons program but that it will pay a heavy political and economic price if it does not.
U.S. signatories include Samuel R. Berger and Anthony Lake, former national security advisers; William J. Perry, former secretary of defense; Strobe Talbott, former deputy secretary of state and now president of the Brookings Institution; James B. Steinberg, former deputy national security adviser, now vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Studies program at Brookings; Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Francis Fukuyama, professor at Johns Hopkins University; and Philip H. Gordon, senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. European signatories include George Robertson, former NATO secretary general; Ana Palacio, former Spanish foreign minister; Douglas Hurd, former British foreign secretary; Nicole Gnesotto, director of the EU Institute for Security Studies; David Hannay, former British ambassador to the United Nations and European Union; Narcís Serra, former Spanish minister of defense; Lawrence Freedman, professor of War Studies at King’s College, London; and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform.
The statement expresses disappointment in Iran’s rejection of a recent offer by Britain, France, and Germany to provide Iran with support for a civilian nuclear energy program—as well as far-reaching political and economic incentives—in exchange for Tehran’s agreement not to develop its capacity for nuclear enrichment and reprocessing. The European proposal, which had explicit support from the United States, would have made it possible for Iran to acquire Western nuclear reactors and fuel for the civilian nuclear energy program Iran claims to need. Yet Iran rejected it out of hand, removed International Atomic Energy Agency seals at its nuclear facility in Isfahan, and resumed the process of uranium conversion.
“As European and American leaders have said many times, an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would be dangerous and destabilizing. It could lead to further nuclear proliferation, provide cover for Tehran to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy and could be a fatal blow to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT),” the document declares. “Given Iran’s past track record of hiding significant aspects of its nuclear program, moreover, allowing Iran to develop enrichment and reprocessing capabilities—even under an international inspection regime—would be extremely risky. Doing so would leave Iran one short step away from a nuclear weapons capability—with which it could easily proceed, once the full fuel cycle was in hand, by withdrawing from the NPT and asking inspectors to leave.”
“The credibility of western nonproliferation policy is now clearly on the line. The European Union and the United States have a strong common interest in bringing Iran back to the negotiating table and persuading it to change course,” the document concludes. “The best way to do that is to make clear to Iran that it can win significant political and economic benefits if it foregoes a nuclear weapons program, but that it will pay a very big political and economic price if it does not. Such an effort will only work if America and Europe stand united.”
Among the specific proposals in the Compact:
The signatories of the U.S.-Europe Statement on Iran are drawn from the group that on February 17, 2005, issued the “Compact between the United States and Europe,” a detailed and comprehensive proposal for transatlantic cooperation on the key foreign policy issues of the day. In their 11-page Compact, written in the form of an agreement between governments, the signatories offered specific proposals for dealing with Iraq, Iran, peace prospects and democracy in the Middle East, China, the International Criminal Court, climate change, the Geneva Conventions, Afghanistan, U.S.-European relations, the developing world, Sudan, and the United Nations.
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