Countries around the world are slowly showing their anxiety of such a nation potentially possessing capabilities of immense means of destruction when their ideologies and past actions suggest such aggressive behaviours. Yet there is no proof to say that Iran does in fact own any nuclear weapons, and they have repeatedly expressed that their nuclear facilities are purely for peaceful and technological purposes. First in this paper I will summarize the argument against the possibility of a nuclear Iran. Second, I will do the opposite and summarize the reasoning for the possibility of a nuclear Iran.
Finally, I will conclude with the argument that the world can exist with a nuclear Iran. A variety of arguments against Iran owning nuclear weaponry has been voiced. One of the leading arguments is the fear of nuclear hyper-proliferation. Iran is a relatively powerful nation whose footstep is felt and is very engaged in international affairs concerning its part of the globe. The fear of hyper-proliferation is that once Iran officially has proprietorship of nuclear war devices the surrounding countries and nations of the Middle East will commence an arms race.
This would be terrible for a multitude of reasons, the first being that certain countries in the region have shown to be extremely unstable. With radical revolutions still fresh in the blood of its populace Egypt and Syria are perfect examples of countries that do not possess a stable form of government. Nuclear weapons in such states pose an extreme risk because of the lack of regulation; those arms of mass destruction could easily fall in the wrong hands. The second is living in a world filled with nukes is not ideal.
The NPT Treaty, signed by all of the world’s nations except a select few, was created in order to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and attempt at increasing the disarmament of the already existing ones. As this treaty was signed by relatively all countries it must logically follow that they believe in its ideals of slowing down potential nuclear warfare. Another argument is that Iran has shown over and over again its aggressive tendencies as well as its support of violent resolutions. Iran regularly threatens Israel with extinction.
Iran has sent major weapons to terrorist organizations such as the Hezbollah in Lebanon and radical rebels in the Gaza Strip to use on Israel. Iran also sent weapons to the Syrian President Al Assad’s regime making it considerably harder for the Syrian population to overthrow their tyrannical oppressor of many decades. Lastly, a nuclear Iran could create a hegemonic Iranian power in the Middle East. With its extremely strategic oil deposit position, this would be very bad for the western world considering Iran’s extreme anti-western policies.
There are numerous arguments as to why the world can live with a nuclear Iran. One of the leading arguments for it is deterrence. North Korea, a radical regime who threatens to set ablaze the capital of its neighboring country on a weekly basis, possesses quantities of nuclear armaments. Instead of instigating combat the major powers aimed to deter and contain it; so far this has been extremely successful. Even though this terrifying regime holds in their possession a multitude of nukes, Asia is able prosper and has lived in peace for many years.
During the Cold War the USSR was considered an extremely radical regime, one that due to the arms race had ownership of massive amounts of nuclear weaponry. Again, instead of creating mass conflict, the US aimed to deter and contain it and was very successful. Another leading argument is that not only would a physical conflict with Iran be excessively costly in multiple aspects, but an attack from outsiders could spur a movement of nationalism and rally the populace of Iran together.
Considering the size and capability of the country, the ample population, the probable lengthiness of the affair, and the territorial aspect such as the mountain ranges and distances from ports, this would not be a low-cost event. Many American politicians as well as President Obama himself have stated identical answers; it would be devastating to the American economy. This would not only be a disaster financially, but with the local terrain American deaths would more then be guaranteed. This would also undoubtedly infuriate the citizens into a movement maybe more radical than the ones they currently are in.
Even if this event would come to be successful for the west, what would happen after? This would not encourage western values or affiliation and could injure the reputation of America in the Arab world. With Iran’s current budget for its nuclear program being 300 million dollars, which is nothing compared to its oil revenue, it will only take a few years for the country to reconstruct their nuclear facilities and recommence as before. Although both sides of this debate demonstrate considerable deliberation and thought one has come out victorious. The western world can live with a nuclear Iran.
This is not to say that it is a decent notion for Iran to construct nuclear weapons. It is not decent for any country to create nuclear weapons as the horrendous destruction caused by these torturous weapons cannot properly be put on a crime scale. The damage inflicted not only obliterates any living organism in the vicinity of the blasts but remains and either slowly poisons to death anything and everything it comes across or mutates it for years to come whether living or not. Iran’s methods of dealing with international relations are abhorrent and should not be condoned.
Yet as menacing as Iran appears to be on the global level the repercussions of acting on it and doing anything more than deterrence and containment toward this country is too much of a risk. One of the reasons why the west can live with a nuclear Iran is that although not on friendly terms, Iran has never directly threatened the west. They do have multiple anti-western policies yet they have never threatened their wellbeing. Iran has been very threatening and aggressive towards certain other nations such as Israel, yet Israel is a state that has been established for over sixty years and possesses over 200 nuclear weapons.
This is not suggesting a termination of the alliance between the United States and Israel, but more of a slow and progressive estrangement in its aid. As previously mentioned before, a physical conflict with Iran could be devastating on the American economy. Some have argued that a pre-emptive war would not be a necessity for other countries to prevent a nuclear Iran and that by simply initiating tougher sanctions and doing everything that is short of war would be sufficient in thwarting Iran from building nuclear weaponry.
There are many problems with this statement the first being that this action has already been done. The sanctions on building nuclear warheads are incredibly strong. The second problem with this is that to have a rule of law that is respected there needs to be an element of enforcement. There can be tougher sanctions put on the regulation of nuclear weapons, but if there is no one to enforce these rules then they are absolutely futile. If this train of thought is logically followed through it becomes apparent that enforcement is necessary in certain cases, war being the necessary implementation.
Hence war is a necessity in some cases. This applies to Iran, and the west does not have a budget to follow it through. Another reason why the west could live with a nuclear Iran is that there currently is a country in the Middle East whose possession of nuclear weapons did not initiate an arms race, this country being Israel. Countries like Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar all have substantial oil infused treasuries, budgets that could easily commence a nuclear agenda without a second thought.
They are residing in the Middle East and did not feel the compulsion or the requirement to initiate an arms race; why would countries fill the need to do so with Iran? There is no evidence that any hyper-proliferation would ever occur. When North Korea declared it was growing a nuclear arsenal the surrounding nations did not attempt to create their own. This is also true with China, when it announced its ownership of nuclear weapons neighboring countries did not react in any sort of arms race.
Israel is an extremely controversial country in the morals of the Middle Eastern population. It is more controversial then even Iran’s Shite regime. Many countries do not appreciate its existence, whether they publicly claim so or not. This is not to say that there are countries conspiring in its destruction, but to say that it would have been an easy justification to start constructing nuclear facilities due to the fact that the country is slowly but steadily engulfing all of Palestine.
Lastly, the western world can live with a nuclear Iran because as previously stated deterrence has been successful. There are only a select few countries that have ownership of nuclear weaponry. Unfortunately, some of these countries are a part of dangerous regimes such as North Korea or unstable governments like Pakistan, yet due to proper deterrence and containment there not only has not been a nuclear war but there is no reason to believe there will be one in the future.
Proper deterrence has also been successful in preventing other countries to attempt creating many more nuclear facilities and arsenals. This is what the west should be focusing on, not imaginary Iranian nuclear weapons that do not exist. If Iran declares its ownership of multiple nuclear weapons and its intention to use them, the western world has a right and an obligation to try to prevent this awful scenario for happening. Yet until this day comes, Iran has a right to build nuclear weapons.