I don’t think Iran is making claims that it actually has nuclear weapons. It is attempting to defy UN demands that it cease its purification of uranium for what it claims are "peaceful purposes." The main problem is that not a country in the world believes that Iran is only interested in nuclear energy. They want the bomb, no doubt.
How is the world, already in need of increasing amounts of oil, going to respond to Iran’s refusal to comply with the requests of the UN? Is the threat of Iran’s nuclear development enough to impose economic sanctions as punishment? I don’t think the major powers will do such a thing. Politicians tend to be rather short-sighted, so I doubt they will be willing to listen to the wailing and gnashing of teeth which would result from a decreased oil supply, even if they hope to prevent future nuclear development in Iran.
But what if they actually had the guts to punish Iran for its nuclear ambitions? Can Iran really back up threats against the countries of the UN? And if it can, with what? Anything besides oil?
Other than military force and economic sanctions/embargos the UN really doesn’t have anyother options. This goes back to the same question I posed in an earlier thread, namely does our dependence on foreign oil cripple our ability to influence foreign policy. I don’t see how one can refute such logic. Our oil dependence is too great. I would be hesitant to say that we are severely crippled by it, but certainly we are unable to weild as great an influence as we could.
Thus one could pose the question, would a reduction in foreign oil dependence allow the U.S. and U.N. to be more effective in influencing foreign policy through peaceful means? I’d say absolutely. I perceive that there are many who would say the only way for such governments to influence foreign policy is through military force, or threat of such force, period.
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