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A Practical Guide to Diffusing the Iran Crisis and Halting Nuclear Proliferation

The Ball is in America's Court

There most definitely is a diplomatic solution to the crisis being manufactured over Iran's nuclear ambitions – but it goes much further than the current impotent suggestions being offered for jaw-jaw rather than war-war with Iran.

The US must honor its own agreement under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), put a halt to the development of new nuclear weapons, and take up Putin's offer of several years ago to cut our mutual nuclear arsenals of about 10,000 weapons to 1,000. Once the US and Russia get down to reasonable numbers approaching the arsenals of the other nuclear weapons states – China, UK, France and Israel, who have stockpiles in the hundreds, and India, Pakistan, and North Korea who have less than one hundred bombs in their arsenals – then we can take up China's offer to negotiate a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons and call all the nuclear weapons states to the table.

Civil society has already produced a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention drafted by experts, lawyers, and policy makers in the Abolition 2000 Network, which was introduced into the UN General Assembly by Costa Rica as a discussion document.  It lays out all the steps for dismantlement, verification, guarding, and monitoring the disassembled arsenals to insure that we will all be secure from break-out.

Coupled with that, we must take up Russia and China's proposal, offered every year for the past four years in the UN to ban all weapons in space.  That is a pre-condition for Russia and China's agreement to abolish nuclear weapons as they do not want to be dominated from space, as the US Space Command perceives its mission.  We must also supercede the NPT's guarantee of an "inalienable right" to so-called "peaceful" nuclear technology, upon which Iran is now lawfully relying, by establishing an International Sustainable Energy Agency as we phase out nuclear power.  Since every nuclear power plant is a potential bomb factory we wouldn't be dealing with a full deck if we attempted to eliminate nuclear weapons without phasing out nuclear power.  The negotiations and dismantlement could be done within 10 years, which is how long it would take Iran to enrich its "peaceful" technology to make a bomb.  By that time, with the whole world making nuclear weapons and nuclear power taboo, we should be able to convince Iran that it would be acting illegally under these new conditions. 

All of the other nuclear weapons states have stated that they would be willing to give up their nuclear weapons, numbering in the 100s or 10s – if everyone else does.  So the ball is in America's court.  The US has been the biggest block to the world's ability to stop nuclear proliferation.  It's totally naive to think that anything less than the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and their evil twins – nuclear reactors – would actually work.  To think otherwise is a clear indication that we're not dealing with reality and condemn our planet to a state of perpetual war – with unimaginable catastrophes.  Giving peace a chance by negotiating an end to the nuclear age is the only practical way out of our terrifying dilemma.


Alice Slater is the President of GRACE. She is a founder of Abolition 2000, a global network working for a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons, and serves on its International Coordinating Committee and as the Convener of its Sustainable Energy Working Group. She is a member of the YES! Speaker's Bureau.

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