Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


The United States claims that Iran's uranium enrichment program is for the purpose of creating nuclear weapons, and is thus in violation of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Although the question of whether Iran has, or will soon have, a nuclear weapon is still speculative, the U.S. is adamant that even if Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon, it soon will, and all measures must be taken to prevent that from happening. This note analyzes whether the preemptive use of force in this context would meet traditional customary international law requirements as originally established in the Caroline Affair - namely, necessity and proportionality. This note also identifies the flaws in the preemptive use of force doctrine as a whole, as exemplified in its invocation before the Iraq War.