‘The Right’ to Question Iran

As the United States and world powers prepare to sit down with their Iranian counterparts on October 1, much attention will be on what concessions, if any, Iran is willing to make on its nuclear program. Joseph S. Nye Jr., who pioneered the theory of soft power, says while he doesn’t expect any major breakthroughs from the talks, Washington nonetheless has a responsibility to push Iran to come clean. « If [the Iranians] develop nuclear weapons, there’s likely to be a chain of proliferation in the Middle East. This may make the prospect of nuclear weapons being used go up by a significant probability, » Nye says. « We have a right, as do their neighbors, to try to persuade them to forego that. » Nye says revelations of a secret uranium-enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom may strengthen Washington’s hand in negotiations. But more than anything, Nye says, President Barack Obama’s decision to engage Iran has shown other regional actors that U.S. foreign policy is increasingly multilateral.

Read interview on Concil on Foreign Relations


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