In recent years, Iran has come to the forefront of US National Security Concerns. Iran has been aggressively pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. This presents a major security issue for US interests. A nuclear Iran could have potentially devastating consequences for the Middle East and could also cause major problems between Israel and other Arab states. It is certainly in the United States’ best interests to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear state, however, the question remains of how to best stop Iran from becoming the ninth nuclear state.
Iran has been on the radar of US intelligence agencies since 1979 when the pro US Shah was ousted and replaced with a fundamentalist regime. Throughout the 1980s, Iran paid little to no attention to nuclear weapons. In the 1990s, however, Iran began to quietly develop nuclear technology. Finally, in 2005 with the election of Ahmadinejad, Iran began rapidly advancing its goals of becoming a nuclear state.
The major concern of course is what Iran could do with a nuclear weapon. While Iran does not have the missile technology to launch weapons at the United States, Iran does have the requisite technology to target Israel, some parts of Western Europe, and various US assets in the Middle East. Even if Iran did not plan to use its nuclear weapon, however, the affect of a nuclear Iran would be a destabilized Middle East.
With the removal of Iraq as its main competitor, Iran sits as the most powerful state in the Middle East. It has used this power to influence the elections in Iraq, fund the terrorist group Hezbollah, and support Shiite states over Sunni states. Iran also frequently threatens the state of Israel. Ahmadinejad made a famous statement once saying that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” It is also important to consider that Iran sits in the region where the vast majority of oil is exported from. A nuclear Iran could cause financial markets to panic over the potential impact on oil. Iran already has the power to cause a significant number of problems, and a nuclear Iran could be very terrifying for US national interests.
The research that I am undertaking is to analyze the specific threats Iran can make against the United States, and also to determine what the best set of solutions would be. Diplomacy, containment, and military action are the solutions that are generally discussed. The ramifications of each of these solutions, though, is crucial to analyze. It is very important that in solving the problem of a nuclear Iran, the United States does not create a bigger problem.