2013 Plenary 8: WMD: Whose Moral Dilemma?

With a deal having been reached just hours earlier on the freezing of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the limited relief of sanctions, panelists engaged in a particularly timely discussion about weapons of mass destruction. There was relative consensus on the panel that an interim deal has been reached,and the success or failure of the agreement will reflect equally on Iran as it does on the other signatories. Panelists and audience members felt the outcome of the process will demonstrate if Iran has truly abandoned its nuclear ambitions. Panelists also considered the intent of the current program in Iran and indicated that, if the singular intent is to remove particular weapons, it may be proceeding well. Panelists also weighed the relative injury on humankind of nuclear weapons versus other kinds of more conventional warfare.

Panelists debated the viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They disagreed on the importance of trust in the relationship with Iran; some panelists argued that a deal with consequences for breaking the agreement does not require trust. The “right” to enrich nuclear material was discussed given that Iran believes it to be a natural and inalienable right. The concept of a Pax-Iranica was raised with trepidation. Panelists concluded that much remains to be seen with the six-month deal with Iran and the outcome will have a lasting impact on the future of the region and relations with the West.