Last week, an international delegation met in Istanbul with the hope of securing a serious commitment from Iran to negotiate an end to its nuclear enrichment program. The talks, which resumed after more than a year without any negotiations, illustrated the broad global consensus against a nuclear Iran. It is critical that we too, as American citizens, fully comprehend the threat of a nuclear Iran to our national security and work in a bipartisan manner to prevent that end.
Although Iran continues to argue that its nuclear program is entirely civilian in nature, the international community has widely concluded that Iran’s nuclear program has far more insidious motives. For example, in its most recent report on Iran’s nuclear program, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) compiled over 1,000 pages of documents from more than 10 countries that demonstrated Iran has “at least 14 progressive design iterations” for an atomic warhead designed to hit a distant target. Knowing that its findings would be compared with the flawed Iraq intelligence that preceded the 2003 invasion, an entire section of the IAEA report was dedicated to “credibility of information.”
Unfortunately, if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon, it would inspire a Middle East nuclear arms race in a region that is already highly destabilized from the Arab Spring. It would be foolish to think that the nuclear weapons would remain sequestered in the grasp of Iran because countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among others, have already indicated their desire to develop nuclear capabilities if Iran were to do so.
Furthermore, Iran is known for its use of terror proxies across the globe, particularly its support of Hezbollah in Lebanon. If Iran were to build a nuclear weapon, nothing could stop them from sharing nuclear weapons with these terror proxies or other rogue states for use against American troops, civilians, and allies. And even if Iran does not share actual nuclear technology with their terror proxies, just being a nuclear power would vitalize Iran to increase its terrorist efforts against America, or as Iran’s leaders frequently say “the Great Satan,” without fear of retaliation. This would then put Americans in a much more compromised situation.
A nuclear Iran would also lead to stark economic ramifications for America because Iran would be able to leverage its new nuclear power to bully oil-producing nations into limiting exports, which would cause the cost of oil to drastically increase. This would then create a shock in our feebly recovering economy and would undermine any gains, however slight, from the Obama stimulus package and bank bailout. High oil prices would also limit domestic manufacturing and would significantly raise the gas price per gallon at the pump.
Therefore, a nuclear Iran would severely shuffle the hierarchy of world power and alter the current scheme of international relations in such a way that would undermine American influence abroad, particularly in the Middle East. After all, what rational actor would adopt an American-sponsored policy with the possibility of an Iranian nuclear retaliation?
For this reason, every American, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, should perceive the threat of a nuclear Iran as a threat to each individual’s family and pocket book — no one is excluded. The issue of Iran is not a partisan or polarizing issue; rather, it is an American issue, and an urgent one.