At various times under both the Shah and the mullahs, Iran sought regional hegemony; at other times, under both regimes, it made overtures to the United States and even to Israel. Thus there is little reason to think that Iran would behave any differently than the Soviet Union or Communist China with nuclear weapons. If we could live with those rogue nuclear states, which were willing to sacrifice millions of their own people to advance an eschatological ideology, there is scant reason to think Iran poses a more serious threat.
One could go further and suggest that a nuclear Iran might even be beneficial to the United States. The nuclear stalemate played an important role in American efforts to contain the Soviet Union, and containment, in turn, had the effect of “mellowing” the regime, as George Kennan predicted in his famous Foreign Affairs article. Why should we not expect a regional stalemate involving the United States, Israel, and Iran to have a similar effect by simultaneously bolstering each nation’s territorial security without providing any of them with the means of conquest against other states?