Iran’s nuclear power: the world must prepare for the inevitable to happen

America’s plan for missile defence in Europe is explicitly designed to guard
against a future threat from Iran. The central purpose of this shield would
be to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran from blackmailing America’s Nato allies.

Meanwhile, the Gulf states, who live in the shadow of Iran’s nuclear-tipped
ambitions for regional dominance, are also investing in theatre missile
defences. The only rationale for these schemes is to minimise the risks
posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.

Even in Israel, experts talk sotto voce about how the country would adapt its
security policy if Iran were to cross the vital threshold. The first move
would probably be for America to provide an explicit guarantee of Israel’s
security, akin to the pledge in Article Five of Nato’s founding treaty.

However a nuclear-armed Iran might become far more belligerent. Iranian
influence in the Middle East could expand as it funnels more weapons and
support to extremist allies, particularly Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in

In extremis, Iran could provide some nuclear security guarantees of its own.
Suppose Hizbollah were to bombard Israel with its Iranian-supplied arsenal
of missiles. When Israel prepares to retaliate, Iran issues a pointed
reminder that it now has nuclear weapons. What would have been a local
crisis then becomes a regional confrontation with the possibility of nuclear

Meanwhile, the oil price rises through the stratosphere.

Living with a nuclear-armed Iran might mean enduring just such a scenario.

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