Law and Politics

Start Free Trial

What are the security implications for United States if Iran obtains a nuclear weapons capability in the near future? Be sure to include a succinct discussion of the major points one must consider in such a determination, and evaluate weapons capability on those points. 

Quick answer:

If Iran were to attain a nuclear weapons capacity in the near future, there would be major security implications for the United States. These would include security concerns for American allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, a potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and an unwelcome expansion of the "Nuclear Club."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Because the United States has always been a strong ally of Israel, an Iranian nuclear threat could involve Washington in any war between Tehran and Tel Aviv. In fact, the importance of defending Israel was one reason put forth by the George W. Bush administration for invading Iraq in 2003. Israel already possesses nuclear weapons, and it would probably employ them if there were an existential threat to its statehood.

Faced with a possible Iranian nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia is the second-most threatened American ally. Iran and Saudi Arabia are mortal enemies, and they compete for influence throughout the Middle East. Saudi Arabia would probably seek atomic weapons in response to an Iranian nuclear capacity, and Riyadh (the Saudi Arabian capital) would ask Pakistan for assistance. A nuclear-arms race in the already turbulent Middle East could be disastrous.

Iranian possession of nuclear weapons would mean an additional member for the world's "Nuclear Club." Although almost all national leaders are loath to use these weapons, accidents and miscalculations are always possible. In addition, some nuclear powers, such as North Korea, are belligerent and unpredictable. Early members of the "Nuclear Club" do not want further proliferation of atomic weapons. Some countries claim that they have an equal right to possess nuclear weapons. There are few, if any, ways to stop them from developing their own. After the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an American invasion of Iran is not a viable option.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial