James Forsyth

The consequences of Iran going nuclear

The consequences of Iran going nuclear
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Alex flags up Jeffrey Goldberg’s fascinating interview with Benjamin Netanyahu. Like Alex, I wouldn’t have voted for Netanyahu. If I was an Israeli, my preference would have been for Tzipi Livni’s Kadima. But I don’t think Netanyahu’s strategic analysis of the consequences of Iran going nuclear can be easily dismissed:

“Several bad results would emanate from this single development. First, Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella. This raises the stakes of any confrontation that they’d force on Israel. Instead of being a local event, however painful, it becomes a global one. Second, this development would embolden Islamic militants far and wide, on many continents, who would believe that this is a providential sign, that this fanaticism is on the ultimate road to triumph.

“Third, they would be able to pose a real and credible threat to the supply of oil, to the overwhelming part of the world’s oil supply. Fourth, they may threaten to use these weapons or to give them to terrorist proxies of their own, or fabricate terror proxies. Finally, you’d create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area—nearly all the Arab regimes are dead-set opposed to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. They fervently hope, even if they don’t say it, that the U.S. will act to prevent this, that it will use its political, economic, and, if necessary, military power to prevent this from happening.

Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The Middle East is incendiary enough, but with a nuclear arms race it will become a tinderbox,” he said.” Diplomacy, sanctions and a blockade should all be tried in an attempt to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear programme. But if it won’t, then the question comes down to which is worse: bombing Iran or a nuclear Iran. Alex says that nuclear Iran is undesirable but that we can live with the risk it represents. But I’m not so sure we can for the reasons outlined above.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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