Iran and six world powers — the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia, France, and Germany — have concluded talks on Iran’s nuclear program. They have agreed to return to the table and continue to negotiate its future in March and April. Both sides seem more willing to compromise than before, each backing away to some degree from hard-line stances. However, if the six nations negotiating with Iran were to allow the country to continue producing medium-enriched uranium (20% enrichment), they would allow a great threat to grow stronger.
The United Nations has already passed sanctions against Iran, which have damaged its economy. The six world powers would lift parts of these sanction if Iran were to restrain its production of medium-enriched uranium that could be further refined and converted to bomb-grade material within weeks or months. However, the world powers are not calling for the total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. This is likely a negotiating tactic; the world cannot afford for it to be anything else.
Although Iran has been seemingly more responsive to the negotiations, this is likely a delay tactic. Iran is already immersed in political infighting, and the current administration has an upcoming election. It could suffer politically if it were to pursue, or seem to pursue, any course that could continue the sanctions. These factors are likely driving Iran to the bargaining table. How sincere the Iranian administration is about bargaining away its nuclear program in exchange for political stability and a better economy will be much clearer after the June elections.
If the world powers were to allow Iran to continue to refine medium-enriched uranium, they be acting against their interests, the stability of the Middle East, and the safety of all nations. The current Iranian administration has firmly and consistently demonstrated its commitment to its ideological and typically aggressive goals. Even if extraordinary factors such as the impending election temporarily sway Iran towards negotiating, Iran will not abandon its dream of nuclear arms. It goes without saying that nuclear power would mean that Iran would be on much stronger ground in future negotiations and confrontations.
Besides the ability to directly threaten and attack neighboring states and Israel, one of the greatest threats that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons would pose is state-sponsored terrorism. The Iranian regime could use nuclear weapons to sponsor horribly effective terrorist activities worldwide to advance its ends. By placing nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists, Iran could attack whoever it likes without claiming direct responsibility. This potential scenario must be foiled. If the six nations negotiating with Iran are to fulfill their responsibility to create a more secure planet, they must ensure that Iran cannot develop nuclear capabilities.