Tough talk and Iranian defiance have left the world worrying about possible itchy trigger fingers in Israel. The Israeli military could try a replay of the 1981 operation that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor. But this time the odds are stacked against destroying an Iranian nuclear infrastructure that is scattered among more than 20 facilities and has employed thousands of technicians.
The solution? A loyalty test can reassure both sides. Nuclear negotiators need to understand that Iranian leaders want to maintain loyalty to the promise they made to the Iranian public to uphold Iran's right to uranium enrichment. Equally important, Iranian leaders must understand that they need to prove their loyalty to the international legal system in order to preserve the peaceful nature of nuclear programs.
A potential trust-building deal would bind the US and other nuclear energy states to Iran as clients under the condition that Iran accepts more rigorous safeguards on its nuclear program.
The clients would agree to buy Iranian enriched uranium and spent fuel containing plutonium for a competitive price. This would ensure that Iran would not amass a large stockpile of enriched uranium and plutonium but would continually ship this nuclear fuel material to clients.
Iranian leaders would show that their intentions are truly peaceful if they accepted this deal. And by accepting it Iran would gain international recognition for its enrichment program and could crow that they have the world's superpower as a client. It would be a win-win situation.
Currently, missing elements cast doubt on Tehran's assertion that its enrichment program is peaceful in nature. To make nuclear fuel, an enrichment facility is not enough.