Military Intervention in Iran: Why and How

March 7, 2007

The Middle East continues to be a source of unending international drama and conflict. In addition to the recent history of invasion, war, the perpetual Palestinian-Israeli conflict and ongoing nation-building efforts by the United States in Iraq, Iran is working to enrich uranium in defiance of the United Nations. Despite Iranian claims that its uranium enrichment program is strictly for peaceful energy development purposes, much of the world believes the true intent is to develop nuclear weapons in violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (commonly referred to as the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT).

Although development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes is not prohibited by the NPT, much of knowledge gained along the way is directly applicable to weapons development. Further, while Iran may not be the only state pursuing uranium enrichment, its continued belligerence toward Israel, the West and even some of its Arab neighbors makes the situation there especially tense. Thus, the United States, along with the rest of world, is forced to consider the options and alternatives for dealing with the crisis. Recent developments in North Korea, as well as the nuclear activities of other nations, provide object lessons in the approaches that each side might take.