Iran has been in the news for apparently developing nuclear weapons. This analysis looks at the debate and what it means for the Middle East, Israel and the USA.
An analysis of the debate over uranium enrichment and possible nuclear weapons in Iran
With all of the turmoil in the Middle East, it seems you can’t turn on your television without hearing about the threat of nuclear weapons. After all of the talk about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, the focus now appears to be on Iran. Many countries, especially Israel, are greatly concerned about Iran’s efforts toward a nuclear weapons program.
Iran claims that their need for nuclear power, specifically uranium enrichment, is due to the ever growing population and the need to industrialize the country. They state that their uranium enrichment program is strictly for peaceful purposes and that they are only trying to increase their sources of energy. However, the U.S. and Israel believe Iran does not have a need for uranium enrichment since it would be more expensive than generating oil power. They fear that if Iran succeeds in acquiring these destructive weapons, they might fall into the wrong hands such as militant groups connected to the Iranian government or even terrorists. If Iran’s weapons program is successful, it will put some pressure on other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Syria, who feel they are caught in the middle, to produce weapons of their own.
The threat of a nuclear arms race is possible but many people feel that some countries would encounter much difficulty in obtaining them. For instance, Egypt relies too much upon foreign aid and would no doubt face pressure from the international community. While Saudi Arabia definitely has the financial resources to purchase the weapons and technology, a program of this sort would take years to develop and require a security agreement from either the U.S. or Europe.
Recently there has been some debate in the international community about the U.S. being biased in their opinion of who should be allowed to have weapon capabilities. Israel, a close ally to the U.S, has possessed nuclear weapons for years. In fact, they are the only country in the Middle East known to have such weapons. The U.S. defends their position by stating that Israel is not likely to use their weapon capabilities on other countries in the Middle East unless absolutely necessary. They feel that Israel must have these weapons in order to protect their borders and lessen the threat of an attack by other countries. Iran, on the other hand, is perceived by the U.S. to be a threat to Israel and the rest of the Middle East community. The U.S. believes that if Iran is able to develop weapons, they will use them to gain control over other countries and possibly pose a terrorism threat.