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Iran Goes Nuclear: Predictive Responses to a Wicked Problem

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Research paper

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The reality of a nuclear-armed Iran has caused the international community to become more cohesive in its approach to deter Iran from its nuclear ambitions. Economic, diplomatic, and military pressure caused Iran to accelerate its nuclear weapons development to safeguard its regimes survival. In 2013, despite severe economic sanctions, tremendous diplomatic pressure, and the threat of harsh military action, Iran succeeds in its quest to develop a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran poses national security challenges and the risk of profound economic and political instability to neighboring states and the international community. This paper considers only the regional implications that a nuclear-armed Iran will have in shaping decisions by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt in pursuing nuclear proliferation to balance the Iranian existential threat. A nuclear-armed Iran limits the international communitys options to a policy of containment and a strategy of deterrence to counter Middle East destabilization and regional nuclear proliferation. The collective failure to prevent a nuclear Iran poses regional implications and a wicked problem for the international community. In conclusion, Saudi Arabia is the most likely of the three countries to acquire nuclear weapons, but it would do so by acquiring them from Pakistan to avoid violating the NPT and fracturing its relationship with the West. Egypt is less likely than Saudi Arabia to seek nuclear proliferation due to its domestic issues, leadership in the Middle East Peace process, and potential damage to its relationship with strategic partners and the international community due to its departure from the NPT. Turkey is the least likely of the three countries to proliferate a nuclear weapon due to potential loss of NATO membership, loss of any chance of becoming a member of the European Union, and damage to its prestige in the international community due to its departure from the NPT.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Nuclear Weapons

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