Experts Discuss Iran Nuclear Issue in Munich
High-ranking experts within the international diplomatic community, including Germany's Defense Minister, Christian Schmidt, gathered in Munich on the 17th of September to discuss Germany's role in the effort to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program. The discussion, held at the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, focused on Germany's current policy toward Iran, the threats that Iran's nuclear program presents to global security, as well as future policy options that may dissuade Iran from developing nuclear capability.
Also discussed was Iran's position towards Israel. Mr. Schmidt made clear that Germany holds Israel's right to existence as sacrosanct and that "any statements to the contrary on the part of Iran are totally unacceptable." He emphasized that the German government must fully support steps by the international community to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and he added that "the danger posed by the spread of weapons of mass destruction must be observed with great sensitivity."
General Klaus Naumann, former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, considered the deployment of nuclear weapons by Iran to be unlikely. But he declared that "if they were to be used, it would mean a catastrophe of global proportions." He went on to explain that with any increase in the number of states possessing nuclear capability, there would be a greater likelihood of human error, of the disappearance of nuclear material, or of an irrational action on the part of a given state. Also, he mentioned that "in the case of Iran, the possibility that nuclear material fall into the hands of terrorists is not to be ruled out."
Concerning the effectiveness of the current policy of sanctions against Iran, Svenja Sinjen, from the German Society for Foreign Policy, commented that the because of the difficulty of incorporating major players within the international community, namely Russia, China, and Japan, the sanctions program had failed. "Though the oil embargo is indeed effective, it remains in doubt as to whether it will convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program," she said.
Hanns-Dieter Herrmann, former Director of the Federal Information Service, clarified the situation concerning Iran's capability of enriching uranium and deploying nuclear weapons. "Through the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran's nuclear program is the most well-documented," he explained.