Robert Wright notes that even the reformers in Iran are in favor of a nuclear energy program:
Why don’t we offer Iran something its public cherishes the acknowledged right to enrich uranium in exchange for radically more intrusive inspections, along with ratification of the additional protocol? A version of this idea has been advanced by a group of experts that was convened by the American Foreign Policy Project and co-chaired by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and the aforementioned Gary Sick. It’s worth checking out.
I’m not betting that Iran would accept this deal, but I don’t see the downside of finding out, and that’s something we’ve never done; no comparable deal has ever been put on the table. The closest such overture was a 2008 offer that would have imposed tougher inspections but denied Iran the right to enrich uranium as allowed under the N.P.T. until “the confidence of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of your nuclear program is restored” which to the average Iranian means, “not until America says so.”
It’s worth emphasizing that it’s not unusual for a country to possess a full-spectrum of scientific and technical aspects of nuclear technology without building nuclear weapons. Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and I believe some other smaller European countries are in that boat. What’s more, Iranians seem committed to enrichment even if it means sanctions...