The UK and Israel have signed a 10-year agreement to strengthen their cooperation and prevent the Iranian regime from further developing its nuclear power. Iran launched its nuclear program in the 1950s and, after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, began to clandestinely develop its nuclear program. Throughout the 2000s, Iran was accused of noncompliance with its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is thought to have been conducting secret experiments and tests to create nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and has conducted recent inspections into Iran’s nuclear activity. Since 2019, they have gathered evidence to support suspicions that Iran has further developed technologies like centrifuges and that the nation holds well over the permitted amount of enriched uranium. This behaviour raises suspicions for the organization and for other nations looking to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.
In response to this, countries like the UK and Israel are looking for methods to counter Iran’s nuclear proliferation. The agreement to be signed between the two nations is a trade and defence act that will allow the countries to work closer on issues such as cybersecurity and tackling Iran’s nuclear weapons. This action shows that slowing nuclear growth in Iran is at the top of their agenda and that it is a pressing issue that other nations should consider.
According to Reuters, Israel is concerned that other countries will remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for insufficient caps on their nuclear program. Nations may often choose to take this action and attempt to “negotiate” with nations like Iran to weaken their nuclear programs. The problem is that nations often continue to develop their programs and violate treaties because they have no incentive to tell the truth and follow the rules. History has shown that nations will do this. Iran has been accused of doing exactly this due to a lack of enforcement to tell the truth. Instead, nations should attempt to crack down further rather than accept a certain cap on nuclear capabilities. Stricter sanctions can be implemented in an all-or-nothing style to reiterate that this issue is not something that states will take lightly. Another option that may work best for some states is to implement incentives in exchange for reduced nuclear activity. In addition, terms should be outlined that allow for inspectors to do an in-depth job on a nation’s current nuclear activities to prevent cheating.
The recent agreement outlined above is important to lead the way in enforcing non-proliferation. It is unclear exactly what this program entails, but the nations will be able to combine their security sectors to determine which methods are best suited to halt Iran’s nuclear activities. Collaborative agreements and treaties are often successful as nations can put forth their respective specialties and have a greater joint effect on others. Efforts like these in the past have typically proven successful; various NPTs have been put forth, and many nations have appeared to abide by the rules. They push states to take collective action and typically include various consequences for other actors in the agreement if one party decides to falter. The problem has been with nations that hide their actions and work clandestinely so that they can work around agreements without being caught.
While past efforts have shown some levels of success, it is believed that there is still a long road ahead in deterring nuclear programs across the globe. The UK-Israel agreement is a promising start as other nations may follow suit and revise old treaties or create new plans. Collaboration and the sharing of information will be important factors in maximizing the efforts to stop nuclear proliferation. Nations should not settle for countries that proclaim that they will reduce their nuclear programs. Greater actions should be taken to move towards the abolishing of nuclear weapons in various countries altogether. This may be in the form of harsher sanctions, or in some cases, negotiations and offering benefits to those that comply with agreements, such as aid. Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons, along with the idea that other nations are building up their nuclear arsenals, generates extreme worry. It may even be important for nations like the U.S. to offer to reduce their nuclear capabilities to match the efforts of others and further incentivize countries to follow. To maintain peace and security, countering the issue of nuclear proliferation will need to remain high on policymakers’ agendas. This will require methods of close cooperation, strict punishments, or powerful incentives.
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