Dr. Barzegar is chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Science and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University and the director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran.
Nuclear terrorism was first identified by the United States as a unique concern at the Washington "Nuclear Security Summit" of April 12-13, 2010. At that meeting, President Obama maintained that access to nuclear weapons by terrorist groups was "the single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term, and long-term."1 This issue was highlighted again at the Seoul "Nuclear Security Summit," March 26-27, 2012. The U.S. view of this threat as critical and imminent will affect international politics, especially Iran-U.S. relations, from now on. For instance, here is the way the United States views Iran in the context of nuclear terrorism in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR): "The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear-non-proliferation obligations"2 — except the states that the United States deems to be in violation of the NPT: Iran and North Korea. The United States explicitly threatens non-nuclear-weapons states in its official doctrine, emphasizing the deterrent and weaponization aspects of Iran's nuclear program, on the one hand, and refuting Iran's potential to counter nuclear terrorism by excluding Iran from nuclear-security summits, on the other.
From an Iranian perspective, the issue of nuclear terrorism can incorporate both challenges and opportunities in interstate affairs, including Iran's relations with the West. The challenges can be discussed from three perspectives. The first is the probability and imminence of nuclear terrorism to the international community and individual states like Iran. Will the United States adopt a broader interpretation of the use of force in the form of preemptive war under the pretext of a new threat to international security? Some analysts believe that the United States is exaggerating this issue. Second, one might argue here that the main objectives behind raising this issue include the world powers' monopoly over nuclear arsenals, maximizing their control over global nuclear subjects dominating the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), controlling nuclear fuel and crushing the resistance of independent nations. Third is the emphasis on the issue of deterrence and the relationship between nuclear terrorism and comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Some analysts in the West argue that the issue of nuclear terrorism is raised mainly to divert public attention away from comprehensive nuclear disarmament. From an Iranian perspective, however, the main U.S. goal in raising this issue at the regional level is essentially to maintain a balance of power and deterrence in the region in order to ensure Israel's nuclear monopoly. Such challenges have made Iran pessimistic about the issue of nuclear terrorism, particularly when the country, despite possessing nuclear materials, has so far not been invited to any nuclear-security summits. These meetings impose commitments on Iran without offering it any privileges.
However, the threat of nuclear terrorism could bring about opportunities to advance cooperation and confidence building between Iran and the United States. Iran's nuclear reactor — the Bushehr nuclear plant — is operating with nuclear materials, and the Russians are to hand over control of the facilities to the Iranians shortly. Therefore, the cooperation of the West in ensuring the safety of Iran's nuclear materials could prepare the ground for further collaboration between Iran and the West. With the pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani now increasing hope for further cooperation, a positive gesture from the Western side could build confidence in Iran's domestic politics among Iranians and consensus among the political elites.
It is also important to have a realistic view towards the issue of battling terrorism. Linking nuclear and conventional terrorism, on the one hand, and deterrence and Iran's nuclear program, on the other, has distorted these threats. This situation has subsequently put undue pressure on countries such as Iran. In addition, nuclear terrorism can be a good starting point for regional cooperation. In this respect, the West's recognition of Iran as a nuclear state would encourage Tehran to offer comprehensive cooperation in tackling the threat of nuclear terrorism, especially at the regional level. Iran is situated at the center of the region in which most of the nuclear terrorist activities by groups such as al-Qaeda would presumably take place. Such an approach would undoubtedly lead to trust building, marking a turning point in regional and global cooperation.
Over the past three decades, extensive international measures have been adopted to counter nuclear terrorism. The most recent was the April 2005 endorsement of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The convention is the thirteenth international document to address terrorism and the first in the post-9/11 era.3 The first official document on countering nuclear terrorism dates back to the first U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, in 1994, under Bill Clinton's administration.4 The NPR called for the reduction of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons, the elimination of two-fifths of the U.S. nonstrategic nuclear forces (NSNF), the removal of all strategic bombers from constant alert, U.S. endorsement of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and conditional U.S. Negative Security Assurances (NSA) to members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).5
Simultaneously, documents advancing the positive international impact of disarmament were brought up, leading to the indefinite extension of the NPT at the Review and Extension Conference in 1995. Later, in the process of extending the NPT, the Clinton administration issued a declaration stating that the NSA excludes three groups of countries: non-nuclear-weapon states that invade the United States in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon state, states that invade the United States with chemical and biological weapons, and states that are not part of the NPT.6
The second turning point goes back to the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review under the George W. Bush administration,7 which embarked on the production of new nuclear weapons. The 2002 NPR can be considered a step backward in U.S. nuclear policies. The document explicitly declared Washington's readiness to deploy its nuclear weapons against those players posing threats to the national security of the United States and its allies. Subsequently, the arrangement of U.S. nuclear forces underwent a dramatic and more aggressive transformation. The 2002 deed provided no security assurances to states lacking nuclear weapons.8
The next turning point in the threat of nuclear terrorism was the aftermath of 9/11, when al-Qaeda turned terrorism into a global issue. From that point forward, the issue of countering al-Qaeda's attacks as well as those of similar violent groups became deeply embedded in American policy-making academic and research circles. Graham Allison's book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe for the first time pointed to the imminence and gravity of the threat to U.S. and world security, calling on the international community to find ways to avert it.9
The third U.S. NPR, under the Barack Obama administration, was another turning point,10 raised at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. The U.S. president for the first time officially announced, "The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization (particularly in the Middle East) obtaining a nuclear weapon."11 Two of the main points in Obama's nuclear posture are "deterrence" and "interdependent security."
Following the Washington Nuclear Security Summit, the leaders of 53 countries represented at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit reinforced their determination to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism as a key world challenge through firm domestic policies and international cooperation. However, some observers have highlighted the summit's contradictions as the conference urged that "on the one hand, countries such as Iran and North Korea should not possess nuclear stockpiles. On the other hand, the existing nuclear powers such as the U.S., China and Russia could continue possessing nuclear stockpiles and arsenals."12
As far as the definition of nuclear terrorism is concerned, and in light of the increasing number of countries achieving nuclear technology, the issue of preventing terrorists' access to nuclear materials is under consideration. Some Western views allude to evidence suggesting that terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Chechen rings and some Japanese gangs seek to gain access to nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium in an attempt to carry out terrorist operations.13 Four scenarios have been suggested, through which terrorists could pose a threat to global security. They might
1. disperse highly radioactive material by conventional explosives ("dirty bombs")
2. attack or sabotage nuclear-power installations
3. seize intact nuclear weapons
4. steal or buy fissile material for the purpose of building a nuclear bomb.14
Opponents of this perspective mainly criticize the exaggeration of the threat. They argue that the four scenarios have never happened and are very unlikely.15 On the other hand, the nuclear states are not so weak as to be unable to maintain their nuclear security. Knowing the hazards of nuclear weapons, every nuclear state exerts the most stringent supervision of its nuclear materials; they downplay the seriousness and imminence of the threat of nuclear terrorism and dismiss the theory as a tool its advocates can manipulate. Critics contend that, without the terrorists' access to nuclear materials, nuclear terrorism is impossible.16
On the other side, proponents argue that the four scenarios cannot be ruled out simply because they have not happened yet. They point to the catastrophic ramifications, including the devastating impact on large populations, of a nuclear terrorist attack and urge the international community to take preemptive steps to avoid such consequences. For example, the explosion of a "suitcase" nuclear bomb in a populous area could cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands.17 Since future access to nuclear material could enable acts of terrorism on a massive scale, it is considered a serious threat to world security.
From a conceptual point of view, nuclear terrorism is a turning point in studies of terrorism and nuclear deterrence. In fact, a synthesis of the two concepts presents a new challenge to the world whose scope will differ from one country to another. The controversy is not over the existence of the threat, but the extent of such threats. While the United States considers nuclear terrorism dangerous and imminent, and despite Washington's success in assembling more than 50 countries for the Washington and Seoul summits, other countries, such as Russia and China, view the gravity and imminence of nuclear terrorism differently.18
The views of countries such as Iran towards nuclear terrorism involve attention to the political aspects, double standards and exploitation of the issue as leverage against certain countries. One of the main issues at the nuclear-security summits was Washington's new pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states except for Iran and North Korea.19 Just ahead of the Seoul summit, President Obama urged Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear programs and avoid "confrontation," warning that the breach of international commitments would lead to certain consequences.20
Therefore, Iran considers the imminence of the threat of nuclear terrorism a grave challenge, leading to an escalation of U.S.-sponsored pressure against Tehran's nuclear program. From Iran's perspective, if the threat of nuclear terrorism is serious and imminent, countries like Iran that possess nuclear reactors and materials should have been invited to those conferences to offer cooperation in the campaign against nuclear terrorism. Here, of course, the ignoring of Iran's peaceful nuclear-energy capabilities and the fact that Tehran has not been considered a part of the game reveals a blatant contradiction in Washington's management of the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Meanwhile, Iran believes that nuclear terrorism has been turned into leverage against Tehran in an attempt to link nuclear terrorism to Middle East security.21 In fact, as far as the imminence of the threat is concerned, Tehran agrees with the critics that the threat is exaggerated. If Iran accepts the imminence of nuclear terrorism but cannot take part in the policy-making process, this will be unacceptable. The issue becomes even more sensitive for Iran as the United States links nuclear terrorism to the Middle East, simultaneously describing groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations sponsored by Iran. Attributing a military dimension to Iran's peaceful nuclear program and linking it to nuclear terrorism challenges Iran's regional and international position and undermines the country's security.
Iran has officially denounced its exclusion from the Seoul summit as due to South Korea's "prejudiced behavior and its breach of the ratifications of the previous nuclear security summit."22 Moreover, at the International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Tehran in 2010, Iran lashed out at the structure of the IAEA, calling for the formation of a nuclear watchdog independent of the West's influence.23 According to Iran, most of the world's nations consider the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors undemocratic. Iran's problem stems from the West's unfair stance towards the country.24
Following the emergence of the concept of nuclear terrorism in U.S. national-security strategy, the issue has been linked with nuclear activities in the Middle East. President Obama at the Washington Nuclear Security Summit explicitly described the access of Middle Eastern terrorist groups to nuclear weapons and materials as the single threat to America's national security.25 From this perspective, since global terrorism and nuclear terrorism are related to U.S. and world security, which partly depends on the political-security situation in the Middle East, Iran's nuclear program can affect the entire map. It is considered the major underlying threat.26 Based on this perspective, Iran's access to nuclear weapons would increase the likelihood of transferring them to groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which have close ties with Tehran and are considered by Washington to be "terrorists."27
The other challenge is that the battle against global terrorism and the concept of interdependent security carry an ideological weight due to their link to U.S. and world security. They can enable the United States and the West to adopt a broader interpretation of the use of force and a preemptive strike.28 Based on this logic, the United States, pushed by neoconservatives, embarked on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting global terrorism to maintain global or, to be exact, U.S. security. The strategy of fighting global terrorism also aims at maintaining global and regional security. This started in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the ideological framework of a zero-sum decisive war with an emphasis on the absolute victory of the United States and the West. Today, these wars — which have no winner or loser — continue mainly due to the ideological resistance of regional opponents, such as the Taliban, who mobilize local forces to fight against the foreign occupiers.
Perhaps U.S. policy makers seek to accelerate a global mobilization against Iran by linking the country to global terrorism and accusing Tehran of transferring nuclear materials to alleged terrorist groups.29 Due to the effect of the issue on world public opinion, Russia and China, which seek to portray themselves as responsible players in the global arena, will probably show less resistance to U.S. counterterrorism policies over Iran. Therefore, Iran believes that emphasis on the concept of interdependent security can pose a severe threat to Tehran. The United States could use this pretext to convince the international community, including the EU, China and Russia, that Iran's nuclear program is a grave threat to global security.
A U.S.-LED GLOBAL COALITION
The major challenge here is the manner of convening the nuclear conferences in Washington and Seoul. They were the largest conclaves other than the UN General Assembly following World War II to constitute a global coalition against a global threat. In the past, such coalitions were cemented on the threat from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The U.S. move indicates Washington's efforts to forge a new global coalition and assume its leadership. As long as tension continues in Iran-U.S. relations, Tehran considers the coalition an existential challenge. Iran does not oppose the nature of the coalition or even its leadership. Tehran's problem is that the coalition has been forged against Iran because of its independent nuclear program.
From Iran's perspective, the United States and the West are seeking four major objectives regarding nuclear terrorism. First, superpowers have a right to monopolize the use of force. Some Western opinion holds that the United States is forging a campaign against nuclear terrorism under the auspices of the five major powers to divert world attention from global nuclear disarmament.30 The issue is important for Iran, which feels the imminent threat of Israel's nuclear arsenal and favors a Middle East without such weapons. Meanwhile, Iran believes that the West, particularly the United States, spotlights the risk of nuclear proliferation in an attempt to monopolize the use of peaceful nuclear energy. This runs counter to the fair use of nuclear energy for the achievement of sustainable development. Iran believes that there should be a balance among the three major pillars of the NPT: nuclear nonproliferation, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and disarmament.31
Second, there is a maximalist definition of supervision of nuclear issues. One may argue that the United States and the West are exaggerating the threat of nuclear terrorism in an attempt to control, manipulate and define nuclear trends. By portraying the threat as imminent and grave — and assuming that Iran is part of it — the West legitimizes its full supervision of Iran's nuclear activities. At present, one of Iran's major challenges with the IAEA is the agency's maximal definition of its responsibilities and supervisory role under Western pressure. This approach is not applied to the other member states.32 Some nuclear-weapons states, such as India, Pakistan and Israel, have not even signed the NPT. Iran believes that the IAEA has gone beyond internationally accepted regulations by exerting tight control over Tehran's nuclear activities. Iran even claims that the agency and its inspectors are not safeguarding Iran's nuclear information adequately; the information has sometimes been used by Western countries to exert political pressure on Tehran.33 Iran believes a Western coalition is being forged inside the IAEA that will lead to disproportionate control over Iran's nuclear information.
Third, the West dominates and controls the technical and political trends within the IAEA, particularly through monopolizing nuclear fuel. Even Russia, which has different views from those of the West on some nuclear and global issues, shares the view of the United States on this matter and is not completely in favor of Iran's independent uranium enrichment. It would deprive Moscow of a monopoly over the economic benefit of selling nuclear fuel to Tehran. One of the major problems between Iran and the IAEA is Iran's independent model for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This model, which has some advocates in the international community, especially among the members of the nonaligned movement (NAM), is a new phenomenon for the IAEA. One may argue here that the agency's problem is how to find a way to adapt this new model to Western expectations.
Last but not least, there is the double standard regarding the West's nuclear cooperation with the Arab states in the region. Over the past years, Iran's nuclear policies, aimed at establishing sustainable development and technological advancement as well as acquiring international prestige, has attracted the attention of some of the Arab countries of the region. This issue will indirectly endanger the interests of Western powers. At present, the West is providing technological know-how and nuclear materials for the reactors under construction in Arab states in the region. In other words, while the West is exerting a great deal of political pressure on Iran through sanctions, it is helping the Arab countries achieve nuclear technology.34 This is happening despite the fact that in recent years some Arab states have been home to extremist groups such as al-Qaeda.35 Therefore, the existence of nuclear material in those countries increases the risk of terrorist access to them. This paradox imposes a fundamental challenge to the campaign against nuclear terrorism.
One of the reasons for the so-called imminence of the threat of nuclear terrorism is the issue of "nuclear deterrence."36 According to U.S. national-security strategy, America's security is connected to that of the Middle East and the world. One may argue that a major objective behind this strategy is to maintain a grip on the political and security trends in the Middle East and to control the development of its nuclear programs, especially in Iran. Some American strategists even believe that controlling the world means holding on to the Middle East — an impossibility without controlling Iran.37 From this perspective, a nuclearized Iran directly challenges traditional U.S. deterrence in the region.
Another point with regard to deterrence, as discussed earlier, is the argument about a possible transference of nuclear weapons to resistance movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which Washington regards as terrorist entities. One of the key U.S. objectives in the region is to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United States has always viewed Tehran's support for these resistance movements as a serious obstacle in the peace process. From the perspective of U.S. policy makers, any access of the resistance movements to nuclear materials or weapons will upset the regional balance of power to the detriment of the United States and Israel.38
Meanwhile, as far as nuclear deterrence is concerned, maintaining the regional balance of power and ensuring Israel's security are among the strategic objectives of the United States.39 Iran's nuclear-energy "capability," even in the form of independent nuclear fuel without a military dimension, is itself a source of deterrence that can disturb the balance, to the detriment of Israel's nuclear monopoly. Relying on tacit support from the West and a stockpile of 100 to 400 nuclear warheads,40 Israel has managed to maintain its traditional nuclear deterrence in the region. Iran's independent nuclear-energy program is considered a serious challenge to Israel's monopoly. Israel describes Iran's nuclear program as an "existential threat" because Tel Aviv directly links the issue to its security.41 In contrast, Iran favors the idea of a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East as a sustainable solution to avert Israel's nuclear threat. Here, the paradoxical U.S. approach and its double standard becomes clearer. While the United States exerts excessive pressure on Iran and emphasizes a military and deterrent nature for Tehran's nuclear program, Washington continues to support Israel by turning a blind eye to Tel Aviv's nuclear arsenals, which are considered a serious threat to the entire region.42 The paradox has led Iran to become pessimistic about U.S. policy on the issue of nuclear terrorism. In other words, the West unfairly associates Iran's nuclear program with the issue of deterrence and describes it as a threat to regional and global security.
Nuclear terrorism can be viewed as an opportunity to create trust between Iran and the West. If the United States and the West recognize Iran as a nuclear state and Iran assumes a role in some global nuclear issues, Tehran's pessimistic view about the imminence of nuclear terrorism is likely to change. Under such circumstances, Iran, as a nuclear state, surrounded by active terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda operating in areas including the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula can offer bilateral, multilateral and international cooperation within a framework regulated by the United States and the West to help prevent the access of terrorists to nuclear materials and maintain the security of nuclear facilities. By involving Iran in tackling the issue of nuclear terrorism, Tehran will offer the opportunity to optimize the rules on nuclear security. This will also prompt Iranian decision-making bodies to exert further supervision over nuclear materials in line with international rules and standards. Moreover, the international community will be able to exert control over Iran's nuclear program in line with the IAEA regulations. Meanwhile, such a positive gesture from the Western side is important in building confidence in Iran's domestic politics and consensus among the Iranian political elites in the process of the nuclear negotiations. Excluding Iran from the issue without giving the country any advantages in return will merely impose some commitments on Tehran. This will likely constitute an obstacle to the campaign against nuclear terrorism on Iran's side.
One way to facilitate the campaign against nuclear terrorism is to return to a realistic approach to conventional terrorism and its roots. The issue of the threat of al-Qaeda's terrorism to global peace and security came under serious consideration after 9/11, with the adoption of George W. Bush's new strategy against terrorism, in which fighting groups such as al-Qaeda was directly linked to U.S. security and, subsequently, global security as the key principle.43 The United States launched the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by legitimizing the fight against al-Qaeda's terrorism as a global threat. In these wars, any victory over rival forces, including the terrorists, local warlords and opposing governments in the region, were considered the triumph of the international community and a step towards so-called global security. As discussed earlier, the major challenge in this type of campaign is rooted in the idea of victory in wars that are unlikely to have a winner.44 In this respect, the United States has turned a national-security threat into a global-security menace, imposing huge costs to governments and nations worldwide.
President Obama's spotlighting of the concept of "nuclear terrorism" and linking it to the al-Qaeda threats in his "nuclear posture" is a reincarnation of Bush's policies. The threat of al-Qaeda's access to nuclear weapons and materials has been defined as the key menace to the security of the United States and the world.45 The issue of nuclear terrorism has lost its technical importance and turned into a political-security and ideological issue. At present, nuclear terrorism has presented the global community with an unidentified, complex and unpredictable threat requiring advanced tools and know-how. This view of nuclear terrorism has frayed the ties among nations, resulting in a more realistic attitude towards the campaign against conventional terrorism at the regional and international levels.
Conferences on nuclear terrorism could provide a good start for enhancing regional cooperation. Involving Iran as a nuclear state in nuclear activities and discussions would encourage other regional countries to take part in such cooperation. The existing double standards on regional nuclear policies, supported by the West, could be phased out, and concerns over Iran's nuclear activities could be allayed. Obviously, the active participation of a nuclear state in nuclear-related activities, including the security of nuclear facilities and the campaign against nuclear terrorism, will lead to the country's positive contribution to global nuclear cooperation. Furthermore, nuclear cooperation with Iran will lead to a kind of cooperation on comprehensive regional security.
Due to the contradictions and ideological and political characteristics of the Middle East, one should argue that a political-strategic issue such as tackling nuclear terrorism could be a motivation for further regional political-security cooperation on the Arab-Israeli peace process or the idea of a NWFZ in the Middle East. A campaign against nuclear terrorism, including all regional countries, can be a point of regional consensus. It is in this context that Iran supports the expansion of peaceful nuclear activities in the region and on different occasions has supported the nuclear activities of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Any nuclear cooperation offered by countries in the region can lead to collaboration in other areas, such as the fight against nuclear terrorism or regional peace and security.
The issue of nuclear terrorism constitutes both challenges and opportunities for Iran. The first challenge is the concept of "interdependent security." After the concept of ideological war against terrorism and interdependent security entered the U.S. national-security strategy, the issue of nuclear terrorism became connected to the interdependent security of the world, the United States and the Middle East, highlighting Iran's nuclear-energy program as the major threat to this security. On the other hand, the connection of these two concepts with global and U.S. security authorizes Washington to broadly interpret the use of force, thus conducting preemptive strikes against other countries. The second challenge is the formation of a U.S.-led global coalition and the hegemonic objectives behind Washington's leadership. From Iran's perspective, the formation of the coalition within the framework of nuclear conferences poses restrictions and challenges against Iran as it pursues a peaceful nuclear program. Not only do such coalitions deny any opportunities to Iran; they present a series of threats to the country. The third challenge is the issue of nuclear deterrence and the balance of power in the region. The emphasis on the imminence of the threat of nuclear terrorism has diverted attention from the desirability of the comprehensive nuclear disarmament of the Middle East, particularly of Israel, and has intensified pressures on countries such as Iran. From this perspective, one of the U.S. objectives behind its emphasis on nuclear terrorism is maintaining Israel's nuclear monopoly.
However, the issue of nuclear terrorism incorporates a number of opportunities, including the building of trust between Iran and the West, positing a realistic view of the issue of battling conventional terrorism and advancing regional cooperation. If the West adopts an accommodating approach and recognizes Iran as an independent nuclear state, the country, which is surrounded by terrorist organizations outside its borders, can offer constructive cooperation in regard to the campaign against terrorism. The collaboration will itself build further confidence between the two sides, serving as a promising start for further collaboration on regional peace and security. This approach can also put an end to the traditional regional "balance of power" as a confrontation between countries such as Iran and Israel, shifting the situation towards a "balance of security" in the region. A realistic view of comprehensive nuclear disarmament and the "regional zero" is an urgent issue calling on all the regional countries, even Israel, to share in a long-term interest.
Despite the likelihood of nuclear terrorism as a critical threat to the future that affects the issue of nuclear security, the imminence of such threats should not be exaggerated. This approach will create a securitized and politicized atmosphere within the international community, as well as among states and nations. The exclusion of Iran, which possesses nuclear materials and reactors, from nuclear-security conferences has brought about new challenges regarding Tehran's relations with the world powers and deepened its distrust towards Western countries. The United States and the West should adopt a more realistic view towards the threat of nuclear terrorism and, at the same time, pay more attention to the issue of regional and global nuclear disarmament. While the threat of terrorists' access to nuclear materials and weapons should not be minimized, the imminence and gravity of nuclear terrorism should also not be exaggerated. Any issue related to the nuclear threat is a global-security matter requiring a consensus among members of the international community. Excluding Iran, a state possessing nuclear materials, from nuclear-security summits will have negative effects on regional peace and security.
1 Remarks by President Obama and President Zuma of South Africa before Bilateral Meeting, White House, April 11, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-and-….
2 See "Nuclear Posture Review Report," U.S. Department of Defense, April 2010, http://www.defense.gov/npr/docs/2010%20nuclear%20posture%20review%20rep….
3 "International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism," United Nations, Doc. A/RES/59/290, April 15, 2005, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?Symbol=A/RES/59/290&Area=UNDOC. See also Rohan Perera, "International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism," United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/pdf/ha/icsant/icsant_e.pdf.
4 "Nuclear Posture Review," http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/doctrine/dod/95_npr.htm. See also Janne E. Nolan, An Elusive Consensus: Nuclear Weapons and American Security after the Cold War (Brookings Institution Press, 1999).
7 Stephen Young and Lisbeth Gronlund, "A Review of the 2002 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review," Union of Concerned Scientists Working Paper, May 14, 2002, http://www.ucsusa.org/assets /documents /nwgs/npr_review.pdf.
9 Graham Allison, Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe (New York: Times Books/Henry Holt & Company, 2004).
10 "Nuclear Posture Review Report," April 2010.
11 Remarks by President Obama and President Zuma of South Africa before Bilateral Meeting, April 11, 2010.
12 "Seoul Communiqué at 2012 Nuclear Security Summit," Council on Foreign Relations, March 27, 2012, http://www.cfr.org/proliferation/seoul-communiqu-2012-nuclear-security-….
13 Matthew Bunn and Andrew Newman, "Preventing Nuclear Terrorism an Agenda for the Next President," Belter Center for Science and International Affairs, November 2008, 3, http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/ files/uploads/ Preventing_Nuclear_Terrorism-An_Agenda.pdf. See also Graham Allison, "Assessing Obama's Nuclear Summit," Daily Beast, April 17, 2010, http://www.thedailybeast.com /articles/2010/04/17/ obamas-nuclear-mistake.html.
14 William C. Potter, Charles D. Ferguson, and Leonard S. Spector, "The Four Faces of Nuclear Terror and the Need for a Prioritized Response," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59904/william-c-potter-charles-d…. See also Charles D. Ferguson, William C. Potter, Amy Sands, Leonard S. Spector and Fred L. Wehling, The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism (Monterey Institute-Center for Nonproliferation Studies Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2004), 3, http://jeffreyfields.net/427/Site/Blog/30F67A03-182C-4FC7-9EFD-A7C321F6….
15 Christoph Wirz and Emmanuel Egger, "Use of Nuclear and Radiological Weapons by Terrorists?" International Review of the Red Cross 87, no. 859 (September 2005): 507-508, http://www.labor-spiez.ch/de/the/as/pdf/irrc_859_Egger_Wirz.pdf.
16 Michael A. Levi, "The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit," Council on Foreign Relations, March 25, 2012, http://www.cfr.org/energy-security/seoul-nuclear-security-summit/p27724.
17 Matthew Bunn and Andrew Newman, "Preventing Nuclear Terrorism," 6-7. See also Graham Allison and Douglas Dillon, "Can Seoul Summit Tackle Biggest Threat to U.S. Security — Nuclear Terrorism?" Christian Science Monitor, March 26, 2012, http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0326/ Can-Seoul-summit-tackle-biggest-threat-to-US-security-nuclear-terrorism.
18 Wu Chunsi, "NSS Initiatives in Seoul: Admirable But Still a Long Way to Go," Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), March 31, 2012, http://www.siis.org.cn/en/zhuanti_view_en.aspx?id=10143.
19 "Nuclear Posture Review Report," April 2010. See also Kenneth R. Bazinet and Leo Standora, "Outliers like Iran and North Korea Are Exceptions to New Policy on Nukes, Obama Says," New York Daily News, April 6, 2010, http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-04-06/news/27060884_1_nuclear-weap….
20 Kathleen Hennessey, "Obama Urges North Korea and Iran to Drop Nuclear Programs," Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2012 , http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/26/world/la-fg-obama-korea-20120326.
21 Kayhan Barzegar, "Nuclear Terrorism, Iran, and the NPR," Word Bulletin, April 26, 2010, http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=57644.
22 Remarks by Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, "Iran Criticizes South Korea for the Selecting Invitation of Countries to the Nuclear Security Summit" (In Farsi), Mehr News Agency, March 9, 2012, http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=1555463.
23 See the speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Tehran, April 17-18, 2010, http://www.mfa.gov.ir/cms/cms/Tehranicd/en/Files/Ahmadinejad.
24 See the remarks by Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman of the Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the weekly session with domestic and foreign reporters (in Farsi), Islamic Republic of Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 29, 2012, http://www.mfa.gov.ir/NewsShow .aspx?id= 4238&menu=210 &lang=.
25 "Obama's speech at the Nuclear Security Summit, April 2010," Council on Foreign Relations, April 13, 2010, http://www.cfr.org/proliferation/obamas-speech-nuclear-security-summit-….
26 Victor Sal and Bryan Early, "Are We Focusing on the Wrong Nuclear Threat?" Foreign Policy, May 24, 2012, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/24/are_we_ focusing_ on_the_wrong _nuclear_threat?page=full.
27 Kayhan Barzegar, "The Balance of Power in the Persian Gulf: An Iranian View," Middle East Policy 17, no. 3 (Fall 2010): 79.
28 See Kayhan Barzegar, "Nuclear Terrorism, Iran and the NPR."
29 "U.S. Officials on Obama's Trip to Nuclear Security Summit," IIP Digital, U.S. Department of State, March 30, 2012, http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2012/03/2012032125….
30 Stephan Walt, "Nuclear Posture Review (or Nuclear Public Relations?)," Foreign Policy, April 6, 2010.
31 See the speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Tehran, April 17-18, 2010, http://www.mfa.gov.ir/cms/cms/Tehranicd/en/Files/Ahmadinejad.
32 Remarks of President Mahomoud Ahmadinejad in an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF.
34 See Matthew Fuhrman, "Oil for Nuke: Mostly a Bad Idea," Christian Science Monitor, February 29, 2008, http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0229/p09s02-coop.html.
35 Eric Lichtblau and Eric Schmitt, "Cash Flow to Terrorists Evades U.S. Efforts," New York Times, December 5, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/world/middleeast/06wikileaks-financin….
36 See "U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century," The New Deterrent Working Group White Paper, Center for Security Policy Press, July 2009, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/upload/wysiwyg/center%20publicat….
37 Noam Chomsky, "The Iranian Threat," June 29, 2010, http://www.zcommunications.org/the-iranian-threat-by-noam-chomsky.
38 Kayhan Barzegar, "The Balance of Power in the Persian Gulf: An Iranian View."
39 Mitt Romney, "How I Would Check Iran's Nuclear Ambition," Washington Post, March 5, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mitt-romney-how-i-would-check-ir… /2012/03/05/gIQAneYItR_story.html.
40 Chuck Freilich, "Decision Time in Jerusalem," Journal of International Security Affairs, no.18 (Spring 2010): 55.
41 See Chuck Freilich, "The United States, Israel, and Iran: Defusing an ‘Existential' Threat," Arms Control Today, November 2008, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_11/freilich. See also Kayhan Barzegar, "Turkey-Iran Relations: Implications for Israel's Regional Strategies," Islamic World Strategic Studies (in Farsi) 11, no. 44 (Winter 2010).
42 Stephen M. Walt, "The Arrogance of Power," Foreign Policy, May 25, 2012.
43 See Steven N. Simon and Jonathan Stevenson, "Afghanistan: How Much is Enough?" Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 51, no. 5 (October–November 2009): 47–67, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00396330903309857.
44 Kayhan Barzegar, "The U.S. War on Terror after Bin Laden," Iranian Diplomacy, May 11, 2011, http://www.irdiplomacy.com/en/news/70/bodyView/12639/0/The.U.S..War.on….
45 Remarks by President Obama and President Zuma of South Africa before Bilateral Meeting.