Europe concerned about Iranian missiles and Turkish proliferation
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Two possible concerns may temper European acceptance of a nuclear Iran. The first is Iran’s increasingly capable ballistic missile program. The current generation of Shahab-3 missiles has a range just short of Europe’s southern flank. Speculation that Iran may pursue longerrange Shahab-3 variants or develop a newer, longer-range Shahab-4, -5, or -6 version may fuel concerns that Europe could be subjected to nuclear blackmail. In that case, Europe would likely try to shore up NATO ’s southern and Mediterranean orientations. The other concern is Turkey. Already within range of the current Shahab missile, Ankara could decide to pursue its own nuclear agenda to counterbalance a nuclear-armed Iran. This would place original NATO members in a precarious position in regard to their southernmost NATO ally and probably would be more destabilizing than a nuclear-protected Gulf. While unlikely to spur additional nuclear proliferation in the European region, Turkish nuclear weapons acquisition could increase tension within the NATO alliance and raise pressure on the Gulf States to do the same.