The first question that must be asked is, why does Iran want nuclear weapons, really why does any country want nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons are expensive to build and upkeep and the very possession of them label your nation as a miscreant in the international community. The political damage caused by the possession of nuclear weapons really out weighs the limited tactical and strategic benefit of possessing them.
Nuclear weapons are weapons that can never be used, the founding members of the Nuclear Club all hold to the idea publicly that they will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. Privately they also hold to the promise that who ever uses a nuclear weapons first will be the next to be destroyed. And thusly is born the deterrent theory of Mutually Assured Destruction, who every fires first is assured to be the second to die. And that frightening little balancing act of annihilating power has worked to keep us from destroying the world for over half a century.
With the danger that being in the Nuclear Club poses to oneâ€™s continued existence it seems like no sane nation would want to join it. But throughout history no nation has every developed nuclear weapons because they wanted to, it has always been because they thought that they needed to. We developed Nuclear weapons in WWII because Nazi germany was developing the same weapons to use against Britain and the Soviets. The Soviets stole our nuclear plans because after WWII the US showed itself as being the pre-eminent power and willing to confront their expansionistic tendencies. The Western European nations developed their own nuclear weapons when faced by overwhelming Soviet forces along the Iron Curtain. China developed nuclear weapons when it found itself stuck between the US and USSR during the cold war. India developed nuclear weapons when the nuclear armed China sided with Pakistan over the contested Kashmir region, and Pakistan developed nuclear weapons shortly there after out of fear of a bolder nuclear armed India. And lastly Israel developed nuclear weapons (though they do not publicly admit to possessing them) as an added deterrent against invasion by Arab nations (as if the series of spankings that the IDF has handed Arab armies since 1948 has not been enough).
Even North Koreaâ€™s development of nuclear weapons is done more out of fear of invasion than desires for conquest and the spread of terror. The war between the US and North Korea has never officially ended and we have nuclear armed submarines parked off the coast of North Korea waiting for the order to blast the country into dust. The Pyongyang government hopes that the deterrence of the nuclear annihilation of Seoul will be enough to keep US forces from finishing what was started in 1950.
This brings us to Iran. Iran now has three borders that have American troops on the other side. They have known nuclear weapons in Israel pointing their way. And they have an American President who has sworn to carry out â€œregime changeâ€ upon them. Iran is at this point terrified that they are going to be invaded, and they have nothing to deter such an invasion other than a well practiced strategy of attrition warfare, a strategy that the US is well known for being able to counter. So what does this leave the Iranian government but to join the Club and hope that a couple of nuclear bombs can keep their borders safe for another generation.
Do I want Iran to have nuclear weapons? No, but as India and Pakistan have shown in their surprise membership, we do not get to choose who joins the club. We can invade Iran and pre-empt their ability to develop their own weaponâ€¦ but all that is going to do is encourage every other nation that believes that they may one day be on the wrong side of our ire to speed up their own programs. That is our choice. We can make life so hard on Iran as to make the development of a nuclear weapon economically devastating, or we can invade them and scare every other developing power into stepping up their own programs. Because we unfortunately set a bad precedent when we invaded Iraq on the suspicion of their development of weapons of mass destruction instead of North Korea who was known to have them. We will not invade nations who are in the Club.