The issue of Iran obtaining nuclear weapon capabilities has swamped media outlets for almost a year now, but many have not talked about how American national security and foreign interests would be jeopardized if Iran were to obtain nuclear weapon capabilities. The fallout that would ensue from a nuclear Iran would entail severe consequences for America. There are four main consequences: the increased threat to U.S. soldiers and military bases in the Middle Eastern region, the likelihood of these nuclear weapons getting into the hands of terrorists or rogue states, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and oil prices skyrocketing. These four consequences that could face us if a nuclear Iran comes to be are huge issues; any one of them alone could be a big problem for the U.S., let alone all four.
Many skeptics have pointed out that Iran has admitted to building nuclear capability in order to develop medical isotopes, a small quantity of radioactive substance used in nuclear medicine procedures for cancer treatment. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that not only has Iran enriched higher levels of uranium than needed to make medical isotopes, but it has introduced advanced centrifuges, built impenetrable nuclear sites and has engaged in tests to simulate nuclear explosions – none of which are necessary to develop medical isotopes. It is clear to the United States and the international community what Iran’s true intentions are.
The issue of oil prices exploding is something that many political analysts haven’t stressed enough. We’re at a point where our economy is completely stagnant – with little good economic news coming in every day – and raised oil prices would only further this trend. The cost of energy prices for people of all wealth classes, as well as small business owners, could reach historic highs. This would result in the price of doing business and maintaining a household to become even more difficult, and we could potentially lose the little traction we’ve gained since the recent recession.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has on many occasions stated his anti-American sentiments. In January, he met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and together they reaffirmed their anti-U.S. alliance. Iran continues to not allow the IAEA to view its nuclear facilities and has not ceased enriching its uranium. This has ultimately led the U.S., and other nations, to run out of diplomatic options. Once the uranium is enriched to a certain level, the time needed to fully enrich the substance to weapons grade is very short.
The United States and the European Union strongly believe in using all diplomatic options possible to stop Iran and will do so until the decided red line is crossed in order to prevent war. President Barack Obama has stated that Iranian nuclear weapons are unacceptable, and the administration will not endorse a policy with a nuclear-armed Iran. But in the meantime, the U.S. is still waiting for conclusive evidence of Iran’s intentions; however, when the moment strikes that the world is positive of Iran’s nuclear intentions, it will be too late for action and the world will be unprepared. Many nations in the international community (such as Canada, the U.S. and many European countries) are continuing to strengthen sanctions and embargos against Iran, which are intended to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program, while allowing its government to keep its sovereignty. As of now, these actions have not been enough to convince Iran to abandon the millions of dollars it has invested in its nuclear program. Though diplomacy is above all options on the table, the U.S. has attempted to negotiate with an irrational regime for several years while the Iranian centrifuges continued to spin.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has clearly stated that he has no doubt that Iran is indeed pursuing a nuclear weapons program, and expressed his deep concern for the likelihood that extremist religious organizations will gain access to these weapons of mass destruction and use them against the United States. The Iranian government supports Hezbollah publicly, and has supplied the organization with weapons in the past.
If Iran’s progress towards nuclear weapons capabilities is not stopped, America and the international community will be left with few options. A nuclear Iran represents one of the largest challenges to the security of the American people, as well as people worldwide. The potential for Iran to develop nuclear weapons gets closer every day and America needs to take the lead in making sure Iran does not develop these weapons, or no nation will be safe.
David Kaufman is Collegian contributor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.