Monday, July 14, 2008

Reif and Tomero: The Rush to a Flawed Nuclear Deal

The Center’s Kingston Reif and Leonor Tomero rebuked Bill Emmott on the U.S.-India nuclear deal in Saturday’s Washington Post. The text of their letter to the editor is provided below.

The Rush to a Flawed Nuclear Deal
Saturday, July 12, 2008; A12

In his July 7 op-ed piece, "New Life for the India Nuclear Pact," Bill Emmott said that Congress must not allow India's close ties with Iran to hold up the U.S.-India nuclear deal and that the deal is worth pursuing.

In reality, the India-Iran relationship should be cause for concern. The two countries have undertaken two joint naval exercises, and Indian companies have been subject to sanctions by the United States for exporting expertise and technology related to weapons of mass destruction to Iran.

Ultimately, however, India's close relationship with Iran isn't the most serious problem with the pact. Rather than integrating India into the nonproliferation mainstream, the proposed deal would set a risky double standard that would shatter the delicate bargain upon which the global nonproliferation regime is based.

In addition, by increasing India's capability to produce nuclear weapons, the deal will exacerbate an already perilous nuclear arms race in South Asia, because Pakistan is likely to respond by expanding its own nuclear capability.

The Bush administration's desire to complete the deal before it leaves office cannot be allowed to come to fruition at the expense of key U.S. nonproliferation objectives. The deal should be left to the next administration and the next Congress, where, we hope, its numerous shortcomings will be remedied.

Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow

Director of Nonproliferation
Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation

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