Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Robert Manning writes for The National Interest on the ways in which Japan’s nuclear experience may provide helpful insights on the way forward following the nuclear deal with Iran:
As the US-led international talks on Iran’s nuclear program reach the eleventh hour, recent “red lines” suggested by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, raise anew questions about whether Tehran will come clean on nuclear inspections and allow full transparency—the Gordian knot of the deal. Surprising as it may seem, Japan’s nuclear experience may offer some helpful ways to bridge the lingering trust gap and perhaps reduce Congressional skepticism of the nuclear deal.
In effect, a deal will leave Iran something of a “virtual nuclear state,” a status long held by Japan, with technical capabilities to obtain a bomb, but constraints from doing so—at least for fifteen years or so. Tokyo has a sophisticated civil nuclear power program that includes full fuel cycle activities, such as reprocessing spent fuel.