Iran believes nuclear weapons are necessary for their security
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Nuclear weapons play a role in securing Iran's independence and national security. Khamenei, Defense Minister Shamkhani, IRGC Commandant Safavi, and former IRGC head Mohsen Rezaie argue that Israel and the United States are determined to destroy the Islamic revolution and that Iran has no choice but to continue its nuclear program and aggressively defend itself. Expediency Council Head Rafsanjani usually sides with them and has commented that possession of nuclear weapons would substantially enhance the status and bargaining power of Muslim countries, yet he has also hinted in preelection interviews that he is the only candidate who could negotiate with the EU and the United States and stand up to Khamenei on this issue. These hard-liners accuse the negotiators of being incompetent and making significant technical and legal concessions to the Europeans. Rezaie and other hard-liners also claimed that Iranian officials had turned over significant quantities of secret intelligence information to the EU , thereby undermining Iran's "deterrent capability".
The primary motivation behind Iran's nuclear weapons program is its desire to defend itself from an attack. It is surrounded on all sides by enemies and has learned from the Iran-Iraq war that WMDs can be decisive in a conflict and from the U.S. invasion of Iraq that mere possesion of a nuclear weapon could deter similar efforts at regime change in Iran.