One of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables gives an interesting insight into the state of public opinion in Iran on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.
Ni Ruchi, a Chinese diplomat who had returned from visiting Iran, told staff from the US Embassy in Beijing that “considerable debate was taking place among ordinary Iranians over the utility of the nuclear program.
"Many Iranians did not see the use in having nuclear technology and saw it only as a source of problems, while others saw value in the possession of nuclear technology but were reconsidering this view because of progress in talks with the United States.
"In contrast, a more conservative constituency in Iran was disinclined to make any concessions to the international community on the nuclear issue. In light of this division in society, Ni argued, the Iranian leadership would not make concessions without meaningful and visible compensation”.
I'd say that if you replace the word “Iranian” with the word “British” you'd get a pretty fair summary of public opinion in the UK about the programme to replace Trident nuclear weapons. A majority see no point in replacing Trident, with recent progress in international arms control gradually encouraging others to adopt this position, but a hard core conservative minority remain determined to cling on to nuclear weapons at all costs.
And just like Iran, the British leadership is following the conservative line and refusing to make any concessions on the Trident replaxcement programme until other nuclear-weapon states do likewise.
Does this mean we can expect the UN Security Council to start pushing for sanctions against the British government?