Wise words indeed from John Mueller (False nuclear fears cloud our judgment on Iran, 17 February). Aggressive counter-proliferation policies come with a massive human cost – you only need to look at Iraq to see the consequences. And the lessons are clear: current escalation of tension over Iran’s nuclear programme must not take us there again. All the indications are that an attack on Iran would start a protracted war which would be ruinous for the region and have significant economic and resource consequences for the wider world. It would be good to see the nuclear weapons states getting off their soapboxes about Iran, reflecting on the consequences of their own nuclear weapons possession, and taking some serious diplomatic steps to resolve the actual nuclear problems of the region. This year sees a major UN conference to secure a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Backing from the US and UK to bring all parties to the table – including nuclear-armed Israel – would be a major step forward for the region.
Dr Kate Hudson
General secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
• Your leader (20 February) states: “To date, Iran has not broken the provisions of the NPT.” In reality, the IAEA declared Iran to be non-compliant in 2005. Iran’s failure to disclose its enrichment facility at Natanz and the Arak heavy water reactor were only the most blatant of many breaches. Iran was caught again in 2009, when the Fordow enrichment facility was uncovered. In November 2011, the IAEA, a cautious multilateral body not given to alarmism, spelt out in detail the structure of Iran’s weapons programme.
Yes, we should use diplomatic pressure to seek a negotiated solution. But we must approach negotiations with eyes open to what Iran is really doing, to its capacity for deceit, to the urgency of the situation, and to the consequences of failure. Should Iran not be stopped, it will in all likelihood acquire nuclear arms, or the capacity to construct them at will. Given that, we need to keep all options on the table, and send a clear message of resolve.
Dr Toby Greene
Head of research and analysis, Bicom
• You report (US urges Israel not to attack Iranian facilities, 20 September) that our foreign secretary William Hague, predictably on-message, denounced Iran, apparently with a straight face, for its readiness to commit "utterly illegal activities in other parts of the world".
Um … industrial sabotage (Stuxnet)? A sustained programme of assassination of civilian Iranian physicists?
While I would be pleased to see the Iranians dump their theo- and autocratic regime on human rights grounds, I don’t see that the west has any grounds for complaining about predictable reprisals for its egregious behaviour.
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
• William Hague tells us “we have to be concerned” that Britain could be within range of Iranian nuclear weapons (Report, 18 February). Might Iran be equally concerned that they are within range of ours?
Peter J Diggle
• Is it too early to begin the planning of a futile mass demo in London?
South Petherton, Somerset
from (author unknown)