Looking Beyond a Nuclear-Armed Iran: The Major Implications of Nuclear Iran for the Middle East

Sayed Reza Hussaini


Iran has pursued nuclear weapons for over four decades. The basic reasons for this quest have remained unchanged in the face of the most crippling sanctions. Almost three and a half years after Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Pact (JCPOA), Tehran officially announced that it has enriched uranium up to 60%, very close to the 90% suitable for nuclear weapons. Iran is highly likely to be the world’s next nuclear state. A nuclear-armed Iran will be emboldened to accelerate its aggressive activities in the region and act against its neighbors with little fear of retribution. Moreover, Iran’s network of proxies would adopt a more confrontational approach towards Israel. Besides, Iran’s politics of threat can have serious socioeconomic consequences for Israel.

Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons could arguably set off a cascade effect, encouraging other major regional powers to move in the same direction. The West, particularly the United States, would seek to offset this risk by providing a “defence umbrella”. However, some might be reluctant to be openly protected by the United States or would find the umbrella questionable and choose nuclear option for both security concerns and prestige.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/ape.v5n1p50


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