Friday, August 12, 2005

❄ Iran [I]: ‘staging’

A key subject of the March 1946 Acheson-Lilienthal Report was staging: could nuclear prohibition be achieved as a series of steps, with performance of one step contributing the confidence necessary to undertake the next step?

The Question

How can Iran’s wish to exercise its NPT rights be reconciled with concerns that nuclear activities could lead to a weapons program?


Here is one approach. According to the Financial Times Service, South African president Thabo Mbeki

“ . . . met Hassan Rowhani, who was then Iran’s chief negotiator, two weeks ago to discuss a proposal which would involve shipping South African uranium yellowcake to Iran for conversion into uranium hexafluoride gas. This would then be returned to South Africa to be enriched into nuclear fuel.

“The proposal is designed to allay fears that Iran could use its facilities to develop nuclear weapons.

“Iran sees the proposal as an interim confidence-building measure, but says it wants to develop the whole fuel cycle for its own civilian use later.”

The key term, if this proposal proves to have legs, is ‘later’.

The Political Design Problem

Can staging contribute to a solution to the Iran impasse?


[1] Financial Times Service. Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Guy Dinmore, “SA offers solution to nuclear restart by Iran,” Irish Times, 11 August 2005.

[Political Design 2005.08.12 Post A06.]


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