Even a latent nuclear Iran could incentivize other countries in the region to pursue nuclear weapons capability
[ Page 5 ]
In addition to technology transfers, a latent nuclear Iran might spur a proliferation of similar capabilities in the Middle East. As Obama has stated clearly, if Iran develops nuclear weapons, “It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons. So now you have the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.”17 The risk of a regional nuclear arms race would certainly be less severe than if Iran had a complete nuclear arsenal, but Iran would still be only months away from the bomb, and leaders in these states might hedge their bets and begin pursuing a latent nuclear weapons capability that would allow them to join the
Acquiescing to the Iranian nuclear deal would reverse the decades long U.S. nonproliferation strategy of attempting to limit the spread of sensitive nuclear technology by allowing Iran to retain the ability to enrich uranium. The likely consequence of the completion of the deal is that other countries will demand the same capability, including Saudi Arabia.