Iran Goes Nuclear?

PorLander Michel 

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Abogado – Internacionalista / Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara

LLM en Derecho Internacional / Universidad de Leiden

Correo electrónico: lmichel@miderainternational.co

The current victories of ISIS in Iraq appear to be overshadowing equally significant advances of ISIS in Syria and Libya, as well as the conflict in Yemen, and seem to have distracted the public at large of a nuclear Iran and its reaction when faced with a geo-political tide on its borders.

It is the belief of this author that Iran may become a nuclear power in the medium term, although Iran is interested in sanctions being removed there are several internal political and external challenges which are likely to strengthen a hard line within Iran to push through with nuclear development as a security guarantee.

The proposed gradual lifting of sanctions, combined by an increasingly expansionist ISIS that is, more than likely, still receiving funds from State and Non-State actors and an assertive Saudia Arabia may push Iran to reconsider its stance on relinquishing nuclear weapons development as it may see this as the only option which guarantees its long term security. To balance this there is no doubt that the lifting of sanctions could dramatically improve the economic reality of Iran today, with the sale of oil and gas on the international market which would bring much needed revenue which would be a blessing, provided that Iran enact policies that, on the long term, make the Iranian economy overly dependent on natural resources as its silver bullet to solve all economic woes lest it share the fate of Venezuela to name but one example.

provided the right long term policies were enacted by government and debt was kept in check, amongst others, Iranian oil and gas would provide and important source of revenue although it would risk the country becoming overly dependent on the energy sector which would be disastrous on the medium and long term.

Although the spirit of the government at present aims towards the lifting of sanctions should the type and extent of the sanctions being lifted be deemed too slow or, insufficient, it is unlikely that the conservative line of Iranian politics favour ending its nuclear weapon program.

In addition, a more assertive Saudi Arabia and the expansion of ISIS on its border may lead Iran to favour nuclear weapons as a last resort to ensure its security. Possible changes in American policy may also lead to a harder stance from within Iran. It is this authors belief that the weapons development program has not stop and will not until such time as Iran perceives it has sufficient guarantees for its long term economic stability and where it does not see itself as being subject to western intervention.

The thaw between Iran and Iraq would also suit a nuclear Iran as Iraq would probably not have an issue selling Iranian oil as its own, for a cut, which could reduce the effectiveness of future sanctions although, the history of sanctions, demonstrates that they are not sufficient, by their own, to force a nation to comply so long as there is the political will in the country being sanctioned to move forward despite the sanctions.

The possibility of unilateral action by Israel to stave off a nuclear Iran would also have significant fall out however it would be less than if Iran went nuclear as Saudi Arabia would also seek to follow suit. Nuclear weapons in the region would change the geo-political landscape for the foreseeable future as well as make an intervention to destroy the nuclear weapons and facilities in the nuclear armed country an extremely challenging endeavor without disregarding a reaction from the attacked nation.

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