April 11, 2006, in the Iranian Holy City of Mashhad, near Turkmenistan and the Afghanistan, the ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proudly proclaims that the Iran "has joined the nuclear countries. After 20 years of research, carried out for a long time from the prying eyes of the United Nations, the Islamic Republic came April 9 last to enrich uranium to 3.5 with a cascade of 164 centrifuges. The ultimatum set by the UN Security Council to suspend all such enrichment activities expires April 28 or what new sanctions could be decided. Tehran has however not ceased to assert that its objective is to use this technology for purely civilian purposes of nuclear energy production. However, American, European and, to some extent, Russian and Chinese, which differ from the West on how to deal with the new nuclear crisis, suspect the Iran want to achieve to make one day the Supreme weapon.
"There is a bundle of evidence and concordant evidence according to which the Iran has a military option" in its nuclear research, summarizes Bruno Tertrais, of the Foundation for strategic research (FRS). Widely, says an expert of the Ministry of defence in Paris, because the Iran did not need to enrich uranium for its future power plants, Busher-1 and Busher-2, since the Russia must provide legally under international law the fuel necessary for their operation. In addition, the boundary between civil and military nuclear is more political than technical.
Risk of chain reaction
Experts still have difficulty in agreeing to determine the horizon to which the Iran should be equipped with nuclear weapons. Some announce it end of 2008, others did not believe before 2009-2010. "The real issue was launched three years Silvan Shalom, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, is not whether the Iranians will have the bomb in 2009, 2010 or 2011, but when they have the know-how to make one.". In fact, the threat posed by this weapon of mass destruction very largely exceeds the case of the Iran.
Sixty years after the American bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in August 1945, which were to open an era of nuclear weapons, the world is on the eve of a new step with the challenge of one of the major principles become nearly universal: the non-proliferation. A principle enshrined in the Treaty of non-proliferation (NPT) entered into force in 1970 and signed by 189 countries, including the Iran and the North Korea. According to a diplomat responsible for negotiations on Disarmament in Geneva, a Iran with the nuclear weapon "would have a deeply destabilizing effect", because countries such as Egypt, even the Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States will be tempted to follow the movement. What might trigger a reaction chain in other regions and be a fatal blow to the NPT.
At the time of the entry into force of this Treaty, five States the United States, the Russia, China, the France and Britain officially had the atomic bomb and at least 20, throughout the world, had the intention to acquire. What is true, in Europe, for the Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Belgium, the Italy and the Sweden but for the Argentina and the Brazil in Latin America, Egypt, and the Iran, already in the Middle East, South Africa, Pakistan or the India in Asia.
The decline of the Libya
Many critics have denounced the highly discriminatory nature of this multilateral agreement, in fact, allowing the big five powers, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, maintain their strategic advantage without sharing legally. But, says a senior official, "30, the situation between the players would have been unmanageable, particularly because it would have altered the relationship between strategic powers." "The NPT, said a diplomat, referring to the famous phrase of Churchill on democracy, it is the worst regimes, with the exception of all others. Of course, the NPT prevented either the India or Pakistan, the two brothers enemies of Southeast Asia, to openly declare nuclear powers in 1998 while the first Indian test, described then as "peaceful", date 1974 or Israel, including the French, to move to this rank without the recognition, but without the deny technology. However, these three countries are not signatories of the non-proliferation Treaty. And, thus, are not illegal, on paper at least, said a diplomat, "even if the rest of the world is not ready to accept it". To defend the NPT, the major Western powers put also forward another argument: the success achieved with the Libya of colonel Gaddafi, who finally announced in 2003 its decision to renounce its weapons of mass destruction programs, paradoxically much more advanced that did the United States.
The Korea North, which announced its decision to withdraw from the NPT in 2003, and then said, two years after, be in possession of nuclear weapons, constitutes a case apart. Unlike the Iran, the country is located in a geo-strategic environment relatively more stable, stuck between China, on one side, and the Korea of the South, on the other, always under the US military umbrella. The objective of the last Stalinist regime in the world, which had been placed, in 2002, in the axis of evil by President Bush, Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the Iran, is defensive. The atomic bomb is to give it more weight in negotiations with Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow and Washington. In addition, is an expert in Geneva, the Korea of the North has never made test nuclear, remaining thus "in an extremely ambiguous without being able to position to affect the global strategic balance".
30,000 warheads around the world
But since the anti-American attacks of September 11, 2001, the world is confronted with another danger: that of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a terrorist network. Is the threat exaggerated, as some scholars tend to think The risk of this type of arms placed on the market was especially at the beginning of the 1990s, during the disintegration of the Soviet empire. But Bruno Tertrais notes that tactical weapons of the former USSR "age very quickly." In addition, important progress has been made in the control of transfers of materials and minerals necessary for the manufacture of a bomb.
It is in fact the existence of nuclear weapons remains the main danger for the world. The arms race between the United States and the former USSR during the cold war led to the accumulation of an impressive stock of nuclear warheads. Despite all the international agreements of disarmament and reduction, the eight "affluent" powers have retained some 30,000 warheads deployed or in reserve to 128.000 built since the first U.S. test in July 1945. This marks a very strong decay from the 69,000 of twenty years ago. But this stock is, according to estimates, approximately 5,000 megatonnes from very imprecise calculations, 200,000 times the power of the bomb used at Hiroshima. Of this total, several thousands of nuclear warheads are maintained in a State of permanent alert, ready to be launched in a few minutes if the order is given.
The obsession of Beijing
The distribution of this arsenal wrong cache an imbalance favouring qualitatively the United States over the Russia and the other middle powers. "America, thus said Bruno Tertrais, has a superiority that is not ready to be challenged. Most importantly, says, Washington firmly intends to take this state of affairs. Because if the end of the cold war partially sticky nuclear rivalry between the two superpowers of the time, the United States and the former USSR, the emergence of China tends to create a new geostrategic gap. Chinese nuclear development is marked by an obsession: to power an American threat. For its part, Washington will be all that Beijing does not, reach same "symbolically", parity. A situation that will last as long as the issue of Taiwan, the separatist Island, remains an issue between the two powers, adds the expert of the FRS.
Today, like the France, Great Britain, the Russia and the United States began a reduction of their nuclear arsenals. Under the terms of the Moscow Treaty in 2002 by the American Presidents George w. Bush and Russian Vladimir Putin, their two countries must reduce the total of their strategic nuclear warheads between 1,700 and 2,200 for each country of here at December 31, 2012, against approximately 6,000 currently. But tensions in the Middle East and Asia can only increase the threat of a new nuclear arms race. Since 1945, the nuclear "taboo" which is a weapon of deterrence not used on the battlefields of the atomic bomb has more been crossed. But for how long It does in any case not the path to the target set in 1995 by the signatories of the NPT: "full removal" of nuclear weapons in the world.