As prospects for a preemptive strike on Iran remain ever present, the recent round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Baghdad on May 23rd, 2012 have resulted in a familiar stalemate. As a precondition for any deal to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment, Tehran requested immediate relief from economic sanctions as a show of reciprocity . Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili emphasized Tehran’s right to develop peaceful nuclear energy as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the P5+1 refused to scale back economic sanctions, insisting Iran suspend its 20% uranium enrichment program . As leaders in Tel Aviv assert that Israel may conduct military strikes against Iran before the US Presidential elections in November , Major General Hassan Firouzabadi of the Iranian Armed Forces reiterated Iran’s commitment to the full annihilation of the Zionist regime and the continual support of Palestinian autonomy . Even if Tehran reaches an agreement with the IAEA, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to rule out a military strike against Iranian facilities, demanding that Iran dismantle its uranium enrichment sites and use only imported fuel .
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich blasted the US for imposing new unilateral sanctions against Iran, describing the move as an irrational measure intended to the harm pace of negotiations . India has remained adamant against expanding sanctions on Iran , as New Delhi and Tehran agree to increase annual bilateral trade two thirds to $25 billion by 2015, confirming their intent to bypass US sanctions by making payments for a significant portion of its oil purchases from Iran in rupees . As further cooperation between the US and the Persian Gulf monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remains evident through their unanimous support of Syria’s armed opposition, Saudi Arabia remains a major beneficiary under the continued imposition of sanctions on Tehran from Washington. Japan and South Korea once accounted for 26% of Iran’s oil exports , now both Seoul  and Tokyo  have sought stable supplies of crude oil from Saudi Arabia. As South Africa turns to Saudi Arabia after halting business with Iran , the kingdom’s crude output is at a thirty-year high , as shipments to the United States quietly rise to 25% .
As a result of sanctions on Iran, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund predicts that oil prices could spike as much as 30% and hover around $160 per barrel if Iran’s crude oil exports fell sharply . As Iranian production hits a ten-year low as of March 2012, industry-wide fears of a recession-fueled fall in demand have prompted the reduction of total world oil production through the imposition of embargoes on Iranian oil; higher prices triggered by a supply squeeze from the sanctions work to further benefit international oil companies and producers like Saudi Arabia . In March 2012, the US granted Japan and 10 EU nations a six-month reprieve to gradually cut their imports of Iranian oil, lest they be subjected to their own financial sanctions and cut off from the US financial system . Under the 2012 US National Defense Authorization Act, Barack Obama can impose financial sanctions on foreign banks that carry out financial transactions with Iran’s central bank “for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran” .
As commodity prices in Iran continue to skyrocket, former Mossad director Efraim Halevy remarked, “The rial is going down, it’s gone down by over 50 percent. It’s almost impossible to describe the damage done,” while former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami forewarns, “When a national currency loses 50% of its value in a matter of weeks, economic collapse is at hand.” . As Iran struggled to replace it’s client base following the imposition of US-led economic sanctions, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke before the Israeli cabinet predicting the collapse of the Iranian economy . Haaretz reports the remarks of an unnamed senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, “These aren’t sanctions against Iran. Instead, they are sanctions imposed by the West to curb Israel’s attack plans, had Israel not spoken out about its intention to attack, none of this would be happening. The Iranians are frightened. You have to understand what’s going on there in stores; citizens grab food off the shelves because they are worried about an impending attack. Inflation is soaring and the currency has lost half its value. All this attests to fear.” 
MEK was founded in 1965 as a Marxist Islamic mass political movement aimed at agitating the monarchy of the US-backed Iranian Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group initially sided with revolutionary clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but eventually turned away from the regime during a power struggle that resulted in the group waging urban guerilla warfare against Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1981. The organization was later given refuge by Saddam Hussein and mounted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory, killing an estimated 17,000 Iranian nationals in the process . MEK exists as the main component of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a “coalition of democratic Iranian organizations, groups and personalities,” calling itself a “parliament-in-exile” seeking to “establish a democratic, secular and coalition government” in Iran . Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, UN special representative in Iraq Martin Kobler organized efforts to relocate MEK insurgents to a former US military base near the Baghdad airport, with the full support of the US Embassy in Iraq and the State Department to avoid violent clashes between the MEK and the Shiite-led Iraqi government .
Clinton Bastin, former director of US nuclear weapons production programs, has sent an open letter to President Obama regarding the status of Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear weapons . Bastin reiterates, “The ultimate product of Iran’s gas centrifuge facilities would be highly enriched uranium hexafluoride, a gas that cannot be used to make a weapon. Converting the gas to metal, fabricating components and assembling them with high explosives using dangerous and difficult technology that has never been used in Iran would take many years after a diversion of three tons of low enriched uranium gas from fully safeguarded inventories. The resulting weapon, if intended for delivery by missile, would have a yield equivalent to that of a kiloton of conventional high explosives” . The US-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has recently released claims that Iran’s total production of enriched uranium over the past five years would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons stating, “This total amount of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium hexafluoride, if further enriched to weapon grade, is enough to make over five nuclear weapons.” 
The United States has produced more than 70,000 nuclear weapons between 1951 and 1998 , while Israel possess a nuclear weapons stockpile ranging from 75 to 400 warheads . While the hazardous ramifications of Iran’s nuclear development pervade public consciousness, the fact that US legal doctrine has worked to further blur the line between conventional and nuclear warfare remains rarely acknowledged. The March 2005 Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff envisages “contingency plans” for an offensive first strike use of nuclear weapons against both Iran and North Korea, providing the legal mandate to carry out pre-emptive nuclear war, both in terms of military planning as well as defense procurement and production  The 2002 adoption of the Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review by the US Congress marked the cease of prohibition on low yield nuclear weapons and provided funding allocations to pursue the development of tactical nuclear weapons, such as bunker buster (earth penetrator) mini-nukes .
The revised Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations (March 2005) envisaged five scenarios where “the use of nuclear weapons might be requested,” namely, “to attack adversary installations including weapons of mass destruction, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons, or the command and control infrastructure required for the adversary to execute a WMD attack against the United States or its friends and allies” and “to counter potentially overwhelming adversary conventional forces”. The doctrine further cites, “Responsible security planning requires preparation for threats that are possible, though perhaps unlikely today. The lessons of military history remain clear: unpredictable, irrational conflicts occur. Military forces must prepare to counter weapons and capabilities that exist in the near term even if no immediate likely scenarios for war are at hand. To maximize deterrence of WMD use, it is essential US forces prepare to use nuclear weapons effectively and that US forces are determined to employ nuclear weapons if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use” .
The possibility of nuclear strikes against Iran pose staggeringly frightening implications for the human family, as the very nations crying foul about the danger of nuclear weapons have prepared the legal infrastructure to use them against others, preemptively. While trust towards the Iranian regime remains questionable among segments of the Iranian population and the international community, Tehran has complied with the IAEA and no evidence exists to implicate Iran with constructing a nuclear weapon. While the fiery rhetoric of Iranian and Israeli officials remains entirely counterproductive, Tel Aviv has shown the least initiative to constructively partake in diplomacy with Iran, as top Israeli officials refuse to even meet with US envoy to the P5+1, Wendy Sherman, who reportedly was sent to Tel Aviv to “reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security” . As Israel aggressively employs an apartheid policy domestically, nuclear-armed Tel Aviv boasts its right to strike Iran without consent from any other nation . As our species approaches the increasingly dangerous crossroads of the 21st Century, nations such as Germany, Russia, India and China must utilize their collective influence and technology to mediate this impending security crisis in the Middle East.
Although Iran has asserted its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology as a signatory to the nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, its uranium-based fuel has wrought negative and inaccurate accusations regarding Tehran’s intentions to weaponize. To ensure the further deflection of erroneous accusations, Iran can truly make an example of itself by phasing out uranium-based nuclear technology and shifting to a liquid fuel based on molten-fluoride salts used in Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) nuclear technology powered by thorium, an obscure, mildly radioactive metal produced as a waste product from the mining of rare earth minerals. Thorium is plentiful, easily accessible and energy dense, a metric ton produces as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 ton of coal . Thorium-based reactors consume their own hazardous waste and would serve Iran’s internal needs far more effectively than its current technology. As a nuclear fuel, thorium is both cleaner and safer than uranium and produces benign alpha radiation, unable to even penetrate skin .
The governments of China  and India  have expressed great interest in further developing thorium molten-salt reactor technology. Iran holds 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 17% of its natural gas reserves; the abundant supply of fossil fuel resources has indirectly discouraged the pursuit of alternative renewable energy sources . Iran has enormous potential as a producer of geothermal energy, particularly in the provinces of Azerbaijan and Tehran . There is no shortage of solutions to the current problems faced by the international community in its efforts to oversee peaceful energy technology in Iran. China, Germany and India could share their growing technical expertise with Iran to develop energy solutions that can never be used as a pretext for external military strikes. No credible basis exists to warrant the implementation of economic sanctions against Iran, which are ostensibly in place to coax social unrest and collapse the Iranian economy.
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