Fletcher in the News

Iran Nuclear Talks Pit UN Demands Against Atomic Treaty: Professor Glennon Weighs In


Prof. Michael Glennon

The political clash over Iran’s nuclear program reflects an equally implacable legal conflict between treaties that both sides say back up their positions.

Whether Iran has a right to enrich the uranium-235 isotope, used to generate atomic power and make nuclear bombs, is at the heart of a dispute that has raised the specter of war for the past decade. The primacy of the question may be the only area of agreement this week in the first round of international talks since Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s president on a pledge to resolve the dispute…

… “The obligations imposed by the UN Charter trump any inconsistent treaty, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Michael Glennon, an international-law professor at [The Fletcher School,] Tufts University near Boston, said in an e-mail. Challenging the legality of the UN’s actions “at this point would be diplomatic suicide,” said Glennon, who has advised UN atomic monitors and the U.S. State Department.

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