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Argument: A nuclear Iran will spark an international arms race

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Howard LaFranchi. "If Iran goes nuclear". Christian Science Monitor. November 24th, 2004 - the greatest risk is how an Iran declaring itself a nuclear power would almost certainly set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

"We need to be much more worried than we have been that what we do with Iran will be a model for others," says Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington. "The real problem of Iran is how it sets an example for others to follow in the region."

An "overtly" nuclear Iran could result in a "large nuclear crowd in the Middle East," Mr. Sokolski says: Israel would go public with the nuclear armament it has been mum about, which in turn would put tremendous pressure on Egypt to stand shoulder to shoulder in the nuclear club. Syria, Algeria, Saudi Arabia - which would feel threatened by Iran's new status - would also feel pressed to ratchet up what are assumed to be varying existing programs.

Richard Russell writes in an October 2005 article titled "Arab Security Responses to a Nuclear-Ready Iran": "A deterioration in Turkish-American relations, coupled with failed efforts to gain entry into the EU, over time could lead Ankara to be substantially less confident in NATO’s resolve to come to Turkey’s defense in the event of a military contingency with Iran. The Turks might then calculate that they need to have their own, independent nuclear deterrent as a hedge against Iran’s nuclear forces, as well as future nuclear weapons aspirants to Turkey’s southern borders."[1]

Richard Russell writes in his 10/2005 article,"Arab Security Responses to a Nuclear-Ready Iran" that, "The Saudis are likely to view Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons as a substantial Iranian effort toward politically and militarily dominating the Gulf. The Saudis probably would suffer a sense of political humiliation that the Iranians have the political prestige or reputation for power that accompanies nuclear weapons. Iranian nuclear weapons would add already substantial political-military incentive for Saudi Arabia to pursue its own nuclear weapons capabilities. The Saudis have limited conventional military capabilities to defend their large geographic space from outside threats, the most serious of which, Iran and Iraq, could be armed with nuclear weapons... A Saudi nuclear weapons capability would work strategically to shore-up Saudi insecurities vis-à-vis Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities, but also against potential hostile actions in the longer run from Israel, Iraq, and the United States. The Saudis have already taken several steps in this direction. In the 1980s, unknown to the United States, they secretly negotiated for and purchased intermediate range CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China."

Richard Russell writes in his 10/2005 article, "Arab Security Responses to a Nuclear-Ready Iran" that, "If, in response to Iranian nuclear weapons, Turkey and Iraq pursue nuclear weaponsoptions, Syria will see its power position in the region deteriorate even further. Turkish or Iraqi nuclear weapons will add to the already strong Syrian strategic incentive to pursue nuclear weapons because Damascus views Israel as its most formidable security threat. The Syrian regime is isolated politically and might calculate that it has no other means to ensure its survival other than a nuclear deterrent. Damascus might calculate that it has no alternative to running the risk of Israeli military action in the near and medium terms in order to achieve a margin of security in the longer run under a nuclear umbrella. The Syrians have a rudimentary nuclear infrastructure upon which to build."

Richard Russell writes in his 10/2005 article, "Arab Security Responses to a Nuclear-Ready Iran" that, "Cairo is likely to view Iran’s nuclear weapons as another blow to the Egyptian worldview as the leader in the Arab and Islamic worlds. As journalist Nicholas Kralev observes, 'Egyptian politicians, intellectuals, and journalists are worried that their country is losing its status as a major regional player in the Middle East.' The blow to Egyptian prestige because of Iran’s nuclear weapons status may not be sufficient in and of itself to alter Egypt’s restraint from a nuclear weapons program, but it adds to an already large pile of incentives to pursue nuclear weapons... Cairo could look to nuclear weapons acquisition as a means for the political prestige needed to shore-up Egypt’s domestic security situation and sagging political stature in the Arab world. Egypt might look to Pakistan as a model in this regard; a poor state, but one in which popular support for the nuclear program worked to Musharraf’s political advantage at home and abroad. Arguably, Pakistan benefits from more international attention and American assistance than would have been the case had Pakistan not had nuclear weapons. Cairo also could calculate that only nuclear weapons could bring sufficient political pressure on Israel to engage in serious arms control talks, much as they had between the Americans and Soviets during the Cold War."

KT McFarland. "The Doomsday Scenario – A Nuclear Iran?". Accuracy in Media. July 10, 2008 - "if Persian Shiite Iran gets nuclear weapons, then Sunni, Arab Saudi Arabia will want its own nuclear arsenal to offset it. And Israel is already thought to have nuclear weapons. This would set off an arms race - a nuclear arms race - in the most unstable, volatile region in the world."


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