Expect a nuclear domino effect in the Middle East if Iran gets weapons capabilities, experts say

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The United States will have a hard time preventing Middle Eastern countries from pursuing nuclear capabilities if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, and it must work to restore relations with its allies in the region to minimize concerns, experts told Fox News Digital.

“It is obvious that if Iran goes nuclear, they will threaten the very existence of all Sunni and neighboring Gulf states,” said Brigadier General (Reserve) Amir Avivi, founder of the Defense and Security Forum of Iran. ‘Israel. “Nobody will have the right, neither the United States, nor Europe, nor nobody will have the moral right to tell anyone in the Middle East that they cannot defend themselves.”

As the United States continues to develop a new Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – also known as the Iran nuclear deal – the biggest concern remains Iran’s ability to obtain weapons nuclear. The plan limited Iran’s nuclear capabilities for 10 years on centrifuges and 15 years on the amount of enriched uranium it can possess.

Critics argue that the plan only delays the way rather than stopping it while providing Iran with immediate and permanent benefits; supporters believe the gap will allow a new generation to take power and make new deals. It is a bet that the countries of the region do not seem to support.

“There will be no stability. There will be wars. There will be proliferation,” Avivi added. “It’s a huge existential threat.”

Israel, long at odds with its Muslim neighbors, finds itself increasingly in talks with Gulf states to strengthen its ties in the face of a potential threat from Iran.

“That’s the most disturbing thing about proliferation and the scenario where not only Saudi Arabia, but also Egypt, Jordan and the Emirates, etc., are heading towards nuclear weapons,” he said. he declared. “And I think that’s not just a threat to the Middle East, it’s going to create a whole other planet, a new era for the globe, and put everyone at risk.”

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Some analysts have argued that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia will acquire a weapon from Pakistan “the next day”. Robert Einhorn, a fellow at Brookings and a former senior State Department official, told Fox News Digital how Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Farhan Al-Saud once described the relationship between the two countries as not requiring no written commitment.

But he doubts Pakistan will respond as Saudi Arabia thinks. Pakistan has rejected Saudi Arabia’s call to join an anti-Houthi coalition and help in the conflict in Yemen in 2015, which Einhorn sees as an indication of a fraying relationship.

“If there was some understanding, you know, decades and decades ago, on some general level, I’m very doubtful the Saudis could bring that to the bank,” Einhorn said, adding that the Obtaining a nuclear weapon by Iran would be “disturbing”. “to the region.

Einhorn stressed that the United States must work to address Saudi Arabia’s concerns and ensure that Riyadh does not feel the need to acquire a nuclear weapon, but this will prove difficult as regional allies remain concerned about the “disengagement” of the United States from the region.

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“It was a preoccupation of the Obama administration, it accelerated with the Trump administration…and now with Biden, with the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and the perception that the United States is moving away, I think, has contributed to real concern, including on the part of Saudis and Emiratis, about the reliability of the United States,” he argued.

Currently, it ranks Saudi Arabia and Iran among the top two countries likely to acquire nuclear weapons, followed by South Korea and Japan, and then NATO ally Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2019 stunned the world when he said he found it ‘unacceptable’ for other nations to ban his country from obtaining nuclear weapons, with many saying the statement was more about the overall stance of Turkey in the region and the world than any other clear country. nuclear ambition.

Ipek Yezdani, a diplomatic journalist specializing in Turkish foreign policy, said Turkey had “never had this kind of ambition”, but that relations with the United States will prove vital to Turkey’s response to any regional proliferation.

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“If Saudi Arabia decides to develop its own nuclear weapon after Iran, I think Turkey would not feel comfortable with that in terms of regional security and stability,” she explained. “It depends on Turkey’s relationship with NATO at the time.”

“If Turkey feels trapped in a region full of countries that will develop their own nuclear weapons, maybe Turkey will have that kind of program as well,” Yezdani said.

The sideline fear of the deal remains Iran’s alleged funding of terrorist activities in the region, which critics say will only increase once Tehran gains access to some $130.5 billion in frozen assets and new profits from the resumption of oil production and trade.

But the United States has a role to play and must do the work necessary to stabilize the region while it can, according to Einhorn.

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“The United States must remain militarily engaged in the region,” Einhorn said. “We should try to strengthen the Abraham Accords and develop a coalition of like-minded countries that are ready to resist Iranian advances. We should provide significant material assistance to these countries.”

“I think we can contribute to stability in the region,” he added.

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