chapter  1
23 Pages

Strategic implications of the Iranian nuclear programme JOAchIM KRAuSe AND chARleS KINg MAllORY , I V

The Islamic Repub lic of Iran’s (IRI) nuclear programme has been the cause of one of the most extended inter na tional crises of the past decade. It has the combined potential of derailing the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and of upsetting the already feeble regional secur ity balance in the Middle East. The inter­na­tional­com­mun­ity­has­been­unable­to­find­a­solution­to­the­prob­lem­posed­ by Iran’s nuclear programme so far. The prob lem con tinues to drag on without res olu tion. Multilateral institutions have been unable to solve the issue to date. The prob lem has become an extremely divisive issue for the inter na tional commun ity itself. The most promising efforts in engaging Iran so far have been undertaken by the EU3+3 or P5+1.1 At least until 2005, Iran seemed to show some kind of responsiveness. Since that time, all efforts to resolve the issue have failed­in­view­of­the­defiant­attitude­of­the­Iranian­leadership,­namely­its­President Ahmadinejad. For the time being, both sides are trying to buy time – for different reasons and with different expectations. While the P5+1 as well as the broader inter national com mun ity hopes to buy time in order to convince the Iranian leadership to­ give­ up­ its­ fissile­ mater­ial­ enrichment­ programmes­ and­ other­ programmes­ involving sensitive technologies, the Iranian side is trying to buy time in order to make more pro gress on exactly these sensitive programmes and to create as many faits accomplis as pos sible. Time is running out for an amic able diplomatic solution, yet no one really is able to state how much time is left to achieve this. In dealing with the Iranian nuclear programme, the inter na tional com mun ity is faced with six different but interrelated issues:

1 How to assess the stra tegic relev ance of the Iranian nuclear programme? What are Iran’s intentions? Which cap abil it ies have already been acquired and which are in the making?