I’d be the first to agree that the world would be a safer place if Iran did not have nuclear weapons, that seems like a “no brainer” to me. But I’d also be first to recognize that an Iranian might see my “no brainer” as easy to say, coming as I do from a country with a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons.
If I were an Israeli I could easily wish Iran would not develop a nuclear capability. I don’t know that I could say that I didn’t understand, offensively and defensively, why it might be impelled to develop one. My own country is “understood” to have nuclear weapons although it does not openly acknowledge that it does. Whether it does or doesn’t, the fact that it is widely perceived to have them is surely a deterrent against attack from others. Wouldn’t it still be a deterrent if Iran had nuclear weapons? If both have them does it fate us (Israel) to a small-scale – but still large and costly – war with Iran because neither of us wants to confront a nuclear war?
Aren’t nuclear weapons a deterrent to their own use? As far as I know, there is no nuclear weapon use that can truly be precisely targeted. Radiation persists, is caught up in wind and water and spreads as nature rather than nations would wish. Despite some of the regimes that have nuclear weapons being among the least stable in our world, all I’ve been able to read suggests that they behave very responsibly about their weapons.
Once all the “responsible states” (especially those that already have nuclear weapons) begin to say that “Iran must not secure a nuclear weapons capability” are they not setting the stage, within Iran, for an absolute determination to get them? Pick another powerful state that would respond differently to others telling it what it must and must not do!