The real threat of a nuclear Iran

Lots been written and said about Iran’s attempts to acquire nuclear capability (my latest post about Iran was how EU Sanctions are key in preventing a nuclear Iran). I think that most of us would agree that Iran’s attempts are not for peaceful purposes. Had it been for peaceful purposes, Iran would have not kept its nuclear project secret for so many years and continue to deceive the West by building underground sites to develop and enrich uranium.  I really recommend you , if you haven’t done it already, to read Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi’s book ‘Under a Mushroom Cloud’ .

There are many implications as a result of a nuclear Iran, one of them is a strategic change in the Persian Gulf where Iran will be able to dictate its foreign policy and coerce neighbouring countries to act in the interests of Iran – no wonder these countries are afraid of this possibility. But what mainly bothers us is the possibility of a nuclear weapon used by Iran against Israel.

I personally think that Iran will not be using such a potential nuclear weapon directly against Israel from the simple reason that it knows that Israel has a second-strike capability and aware of the consequences (similar to ‘Balance of Terror’ in the cold war). However the real threats of a nuclear Iran are: a.change the strategic balance in the Middle East and nuclear proliferation race in the Middle East, b. Iran can supply nuclear devices to its proxies.

It is the last point that worries me the most, since Iran already used different non-state actors to perpetrate terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets overseas and used Hezbollah against Israel for 30 years. In such a horrific scenario, Iran can supply Hezbollah with a small nuclear device which the Shiite organisation will then be able to use in the next armed conflict with Israel. Again, Iran doesn’t need to launch such a weapon, it has a long operative arm.

Which is why reports of an imminent deal in Geneva are very worrying and add more to the notion that President Obama tries to salvage his presidency by signing a deal with Iran. Obama’s fawning just prove once again that he is naive when it comes to international relations and foreign policy. His ‘reset’ policy with Russia was one of the absurd decisions ever taken by a US president, considering it ignores Russia’s actions since Putin came to power in the first time.

His miserable inconsitency in regards to Lybia, Syria and Egypt puts in question the decision to grant him Nobel Peace Prize before achieving anything for peace in the Middle East. Quite on the contrary, the situation became more and more fragile and it looks like Obama is concentrated on ‘last ditch’ effort before his presidency draws to a close.

Iran continue to insist that its red line is the ability to enrich uranium – this is an Iranian national interest according to President Rouhani. The question therefore is, why the US is keep withdrawing from its red lines, when it has leverage over Iran? the economic sanctions had massive effect on the Iranian regime and economy and must be continued until Iran fully stops its nuclear program and hands over all the nuclear material it produced so far.

There is no need to appease Iran or Rouhani because of his latest PR stint at the UN. We’ve been following the developments for years and know that the Iranians are masters of deception when it comes to talks and negotiations, its time and time empty promises which simply buys the Iranian regime more time. The P5+1 has to toughen its approach to Iran and make it clear that only if Iran ceases completely from developing a nuclear capability, sanctions can be lifted up. Until then , Iran has to understand that all options are on the table, including military option.

About the Author
Tal Ofer is a former parliamentary researcher and now Deputy at the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He actively fights antisemitism and delegitimisation of Israel. In Summer 2014 he masterminded a campaign to target Tricycle Theater donors, which led to reverse of boycott of UK Jewish Film Festival.