Proposed Ban on Attacking Nuclear Sites

The Iranian government has called for an international ban on attacking nuclear installations.  On Wednesday, the Islamic Republic requested a UN conference to discuss and vote on the issue.  The request may be considered at the previously-scheduled meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in September.

Iran’s proposal comes in the wake of suggestions that airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, which Western officials believe are being used to develop atomic weapons, might be carried out by Israel or the US if such a step was deemed necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring the Bomb.  Hardliners in Israel and the West believe that Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped at all costs, but others argue that the consequences of an attack could be disastrous and airstrikes would ultimately prove counterproductive.  It is unclear if the Obama administration would be willing to attack Iran to prevent a hostile regime from developing a nuclear arsenal.

Even if the proposed ban is voted on and passed by the UN General Assembly, it will have little effect on world affairs.  Only the UN Security Council could take steps to enforce the ban, and the US, which has veto power in the Security Council, would never allow that to happen because it considers military strikes a legitimate counterproliferation policy option.

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