**Editor's Note: Due to an editor's error, Mr. Melman's article was incomplete on first publication. The article now follows in its entirety.**
TEL AVIV - Would you allow a pedophile to work in a kindergarten? Iran can't be allowed to have nuclear power without thorough inspections. There are several reasons to justify such a statement. First, all nations who are signatory members of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and have agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), known as "Safeguards Agreements," have committed themselves to declare and report their nuclear sites and allowed them to be inspected by IAEA inspectors. There is more to this issue than pure formality. Iran has broken its pledges in this regard. Iran has been cheating IAEA for nearly twenty years – building secret nuclear sites, purchasing nuclear material, conducting tests in plutonium and uranium enrichment, developing a warhead – all without declaring it. So how can Iran be trusted? How can the world believe that a permanent liar has corrected his ways?
Too many commentators have argued, wrongly, that the last U.S. National intelligence Estimate (NIE) exonerates Iran. It doesn’t. In fact, it is a powerful indictment. It substantiates the claims of many western intelligence and experts (claims that Iran has consistently denied) that Iran was involved in unlawful, clandestine efforts to build a nuclear bomb. The report reveals that Iran did have an illegal, secret military program in a blatant violation of its international obligations. The fact that Iran, for various reasons, put its military program on hold in 2003 doesn't mean that the country should be praised. You don't compliment a thief for halting his thieving activities. This is the norm.
It went also unnoticed that the report points out that Iran can easily, at almost any given moment, resume its military program. Iran continues to enrich uranium and by doing so makes a mockery of UN Security Council resolutions. It continues to develop its delivery means – long range ballistic missiles. So how can we believe Iran?
There is another interesting observation in the NIE. The report explains that one of the reasons for the Iranian decision to suspend the military program was the international pressure and its fears after the U.S. invasion of Iraq that Iran would be the next one. In other words, it was mainly the U.S.’s military pressure and coercive diplomacy that forced the "Nuclear Ayatollahs" to think twice.
Therefore, with all due respect to the good news emerging from the NIE report, we are not yet arrive on a safe shore. The burden of proof still lies with Iran. It's an Iranian obligation to show to the international community that it fulfills its international commitments and keeps its word.
If indeed Iran genuinely uses its nuclear program SOLELY for civilian purposes, the Middle East is going to be slightly a better place. If not, we shall soon see other nations in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, developing their own nuclear programs. Needless to say, the equation is clear: the more nuclear weapons are spread, the greater the risk of mass destruction that we face.
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