Middle East — 10 April 2006

The referral of Iran to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month, and the accompanying rhetoric from Tehran and Washington, has increased international concern over the likelihood of another military conflict in the Middle East.

Following the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, there is now much greater public scepticism about the claims of Western governments and the capabilities of western intelligence services. At the same time however, there is real concern about the prospect of the Iranian regime, in a volatile region, acquiring nuclear capabilities.

The speakers will address the official stances of the U.S. and Iranian governments, as well as addressing some of the following key questions:

  • What is the likelihood that the Iranian nuclear programme is genuinely a
    peaceful one, and if a covert military programme exists, how far away is Iran from producing deployable weapons?

  • Assuming that Iran were able to successfully develop nuclear weapons, what are
    the possible global and regional ramifications? Could the world possibly live with a
    nuclear Iran?

  • As the official nuclear powers retain their existing arsenals and develop new systems (U.S. development of tactical nuclear weapons, British renewal of Trident), does this contribute to the determination of non-nuclear weapons states to develop their own capabilities?
  • What if any type of action should be taken against Iran, should military options be taken off the table?

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