The Future of Iran

The Iranian dilemma reads like a spy novel. A secretive government bent on upending the international order beings to collect the materials necessary to create a nuclear weapon. After years of sanctions and antagonism by the world community, Iran finally declares its true project, a secret underground facility. In light of this new development, it seems possible that an aggressor could attack Iran.

Iran is developing nuclear weapons at an alarming rate. It was previously thought that they would have nuclear weapons in the next decade. Now it is possible that they would have nukes by the end of this decade. Furthermore, Iran has upset the international balance because it decided to use missiles capable of hitting targets in Western Europe, Israel and other areas of the Middle East right before negotiations were going to begin to discuss reopening its facilities for inspection. Due to these two developments, the European Union and UN Security councils have begun to consider military intervention to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The EU generally followed America’s lead in matters relating to Iran, but because many of its states are threatened by Iran, it could possibly be the first to strike to remove the threat. However, the UN Security Council is also a possible aggressor. It has passed several rounds of sanctions against Iran, but these sanctions have not slowed the progress of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. This is not to mention, Russia’s and China’s continued opposition to new sanctions that could hurt their oil interests within the region. However, with the development of Iran’s new facility, Russia and China, have begun to shift into alliance with the Americans because they fear that the rogue state could damage their cities and industries.  

Furthermore, Israel is another potent threat to Iran. It has nuclear weapons that have served as a deterrent to the ambitions of other Middle Eastern nations. With another nation having nuclear weapons, Israel would lose its ability to keep in line other Middle Eastern states. It could even be the prime target of Iran, which could severely destroy Israel’s industries and cities with a nuclear bomb. Israel does have some key interests in a non-nuclear Iran.  

The Iranian dilemma has also affected the relations it has with other Middle Eastern countries. If Iran continues on its current path, it is very likely that Egypt, Jordan and Syria will begin to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the Iran. This argument has religious roots in that Iran is Shi’ite and other Arab countries are Sunni. This division could also lead to a war that might just destroy the Middle East.
Although there are clearly many scenarios of war, there’s still the hope of peace. Obama did negotiate the opening of Iran’s nuclear sites to IAEA inspectors and Iran’s increasing negotiations with other nations. All these scenarios – war in the Middle East, various aggressors attacking Iran – are speculations about tomorrow. 

- Submitted by A. Maheshwari (WHA '13)