Iran has been found in non-compliance with its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement, and accordingly is in non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).1 Iran is continuing its uranium enrichment program and heavy water-related activities in defiance of Security Council resolutions calling for their suspension. The IAEA is trying to resolve a number of matters indicating a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program, but Iran is not cooperating with the IAEA’s investigations. There are well-founded concerns that the Iranian enrichment and heavy water programs have a military objective – to give Iran the capability to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so. What is not clear is how far Iran intends to proceed down this path – will it cross the nuclear weapon threshold, or if not, how far short will it stop?
Amongst other issues, this paper addresses the commonly held belief that Iran is entitled to undertake uranium enrichment, and the closely related question whether nuclear hedging – establishing a nuclear weapon break-out capability in the guise of a civilian program – is a legitimate activity under the NPT. If a negotiated solution with Iran is achieved that allows for continued enrichment, this must also adequately address international concerns that Iran’s nuclear program has a military purpose. A “solution” that allows continued development of a military dimension would be pointless.