The US is reaching a critical point in their talks over Iran running a nuclear energy program. The US and other members of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) are seeking to prevent an Iranian nuclear program from gaining any steam. Iranian officials, although hushed, have assured the acting NPT officials any nuclear program is for energy purposes only. Obviously, nations like the US who consider Iran an “enemy” are concerned with the small Middle Eastern country’s abilities to acquire nuclear capabilities. The talks in the coming days will tell us more.
I’ve read a lot of articles regarding this issue. Many people are scared of a nuclear Iran. I’m the ever optimistic type of person, and I am not a fan of rampant panic and hysteria, so I’m going to attempt to clear some heads by providing some reasons why a nuclear Iran isn’t really a big deal.
Before I get started, you may be thinking, “that’s very naive and ridiculous of you to think, Dan, the idea of a nuclear Iran not being a big deal.” Honestly, you might be right. Maybe I am being totally boneheaded. But, that’s the fun of writing without being paid; you don’t have to be loyal to anyone but yourself. Annnnnnd away we go.
Currently, there are eight countries known to be “nuclear armed”. This means they may posses nuclear weapons and materials, but may not possess warheads or any sort of deliver method for a nuclear weapon. In other words, the technology is there, but the know-how may be lacking. Five of these countries are members of the NPT, which basically seeks to quell the spread of nuclear weapons and allows members to enjoy nuclear benefits of the members with nuclear capabilities. It’s sort of like welfare for bombs. The five countries part of the NPT are the US, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. The remaining countries in possession of nuclear technology are Pakistan, India, and North Korea. A ninth country, Israel, is “believed” to be in possession of nuclear weapons, because they are pretty tight-lipped about it, but just to clear up any ambiguity Israel definitely, 100% has nuclear weapons. Of these nine countries, you will recognize three as being direct allies to the US (Israel, UK, and France), one we will hang out with but are but basically only like since they gave us free pandas (China), and one frenemy (Russia, duh). Pakistan and India exist, but really they just hate each other more than anything (they hate each other because of the Kashmir region between the countries). Finally, we have the scary country, North Korea. North Korea, in addition to being everyone’s enemy, is known to spend an irresponsible amount of its hilariously low GDP on military excursions. Part of that went to the development of nuclear weapons. But, did you know North Korea is still decades behind the rest of the world in technological advances? While their neighbors to the South are creating talking robot lawnmowers that fly, North Korea is still fighting with guns you probably used in the Medal of Honor video game when you stormed Normandy Beach. Needless to say, North Korea has not yet developed the capability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. So, even if North Korea launched a nuclear bomb towards the US, it would likely travel 40 miles into the ocean before harmlessly falling into the water. All of this news is significant (and relevant, I swear) because it’s suggested Iran is nowhere near capable of launching a long-range missile. Their technology just won’t allow it.
But, what if another country swooped in and tried to help Iran? Today Iran has, literally, about five allies, which include Lebanon, Russia (kind of), Venezuela (but probably not anymore), Palestine (which I guess isn’t technically a country), and …. I guess that’s it. Lebanon and Iran are bros could Lebanon has Hezbollah, a “terrorist group” that hates Israel. Since Iran hates Israel too, they are friends. Iran and Venezuela were cool because Iran’s president Ahmadinejad and Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez hated capitalism. Chavez is now deceased, so I’m not sure if they are still seeing each other or not. Palestine, if you haven’t heard, HATES Israel, and since hating Israel seems to be a hallmark requirement in the Iranian Friendship Liberation, they teamed up with Palestine. And finally, Russia, who you may remember has nuclear capabilities, have always been in a loose alliance with Iran, helping out whenever the can. But if you remember correctly, so did we until a while ago. Russia probably wouldn’t help Iran develop the capability to deliver a warhead with malicious intent because if Russia wanted to attack the US, it probably would by itself. A less terrifying theory is Russia is a member of the NPT, meaning it’s unlikely they would aid anyone is actually creating nuclear weapons, since that would be the exact opposite of the term “non-proliferation”.
Iran hates America though? Well, they do, but not that much. In fact, the person who matters in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not Ahmadinejad, is kind of “meh” about America. Yeah, he’s been upset about our involvement in the Middle East, but he has also vehemently condemned the 9/11 attacks and generally hates the idea of terrorism altogether. It’s unlikely he would authorize a nuclear attack on America, knowing he might get one good cheap shot, but America (and our allies) would make quick work of turning Iran into a parking lot.
The main concern regarding any sort of Iranian aggression is anything directed towards Israel. Iran, as you may remember, hates Israel. The “meh” attitude towards America is staunchly countered with a “wanting to wipe their country from the earth” attitude towards Israel. However, much like America, Israel has one of the best militaries in the world. There’s a reason Iran always talks trash but never makes a move; because they know Israel would hit back much harder, and the consequences would be dire. Even if Israel was attacked, forcing the US to jump in and have their back, it’s likely Iran would be a smoldering pile of rubble before our planes even landed.
I may be naive, but it’s entirely possible Iran isn’t lying about their intentions with nuclear power. Nuclear energy is extremely clean and efficient, so a switch to nuclear power may be Iran trying to better themselves. Even if Iran wanted nuclear bombs, could you really blame them? Their greatest enemy in the entire world is rumored (and totally does) have a nuclear program. Two nations a stones throw away, Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Iran is stuck with nothing. Honestly, they might be feeling a little defenseless. What if the United States entirely disbanded it’s nuclear program, but suddenly Canada and Mexico started stockpiling nuclear warheads? That would make anyone uneasy, even if we are peaceful with the countries in question. It’s like when your neighbor gets a trampoline. Suddenly, you need that trampoline since both of your neighbors have one. It will make you feel uneasy if you don’t. Nukes are like trampolines, is what I’m saying. Russia had nukes in Cuba during the 60’s and the fact they even existed almost started World War Three. Imagine how vulnerable Iran must feel. I think I can understand them wanting nuclear weapons, especially for defensive purposes
I’m not suggesting a nuclear Iran is the greatest thing that can happen, because it’s not. Iran is a pretty volatile country, and it’s entirely possible having a nuclear weapon isn’t the ideal situation from a security standpoint. But keep in mind, a nuclear bomb has been used on an enemy twice in the history of history. Care to guess which country is responsible for both?
I’m just saying, a nuclear Iran isn’t the end of the world. If North Korea hasn’t managed to blindly explode themselves with an errant nuclear warhead, I think the rest of the world is going to be just fine.