Iranian nuclear bomb would trigger arms race: Iran ex-official

VIENNA Wed Dec 5, 2012 9:03am EST

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

Credit: Reuters/Raheb Homavandi

Related Topics

VIENNA (Reuters) - A nuclear-armed Iran would cause a regional arms race and make Tehran more isolated and vulnerable, according to a former Iranian negotiator who argues that the Islamic state is not seeking to build nuclear bombs.

Israel and the United States suspect Iran is developing a nuclear arms capability and have not ruled out military action to prevent it from obtaining such weapons of mass destruction.

Iran says it is only seeking nuclear energy. But its refusal to suspend atomic activity which can have both civilian and military applications, and its lack of openness with the U.N. nuclear agency, have drawn tough Western punitive measures.

Former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, now a visiting scholar at Princeton University in the United States, said Iran recognizes that if it were to become a nuclear weapons state Russia and China would join the United States and "implement devastating sanctions that would paralyze the Iranian economy."

Moscow and Beijing have backed a series of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against Iran since 2006. But they have criticized tougher unilateral steps by Washington and the European Union targeting Tehran's vital oil exports.

"Based on Iranian assessments, the possession of nuclear weapons would provide only a short-term regional advantage that would turn into a longer-term vulnerability," Mousavian wrote in the National Interest, a foreign policy journal.

"It would trigger a regional nuclear arms race, bringing Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia into the fold sooner or later," Mousavian, added.

Mousavian held his post before conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over from his reformist predecessor Mohammad Khatami in 2005.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, tweeting Mousavian's article, said "these points of view by a very well informed person are worth noting". Sweden is a member of the 27-nation EU, which has ratcheted up the sanctions pressure on Tehran.

Most Iranian politicians believe that having nuclear weapons would be an obstacle for Tehran's access to technological cooperation with developed countries, Mousavian said in the article headlined "Ten Reasons Iran Doesn't Want the Bomb".

"They do not want to see Iran come under the kind of extreme international isolation levied against North Korea," he said.

The allegation that Iran could use nuclear weapons, if it acquired them, against the United States or Israel "makes no rational sense," Mousavian said.

"Any provocation by Iran against two states that possess thousands and hundreds of nuclear weapons respectively would result in Iran's total annihilation," Mousavian said.

Israel is widely believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal but neither confirms nor denies this under a "strategic ambiguity" policy to deter Arab and Iranian foes.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl, Editing by William Maclean)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (3)
reality-again wrote:
Abraham Lincoln said you can’t fool all the people all the time, but the Iranian regime seems to believe they are an exception, because that’s what they’ve been trying to do for years, including now.

Dec 05, 2012 8:29am EST  --  Report as abuse
boreal wrote:
The Jinni of the nuclear arms race in the ME got out of her bottle when Israel was helped and allowed to amass its own hidden nuclear arms secretly that up to date no one can inspect to death.

Dec 05, 2012 9:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:
@reality-again – Than can’t the Israelis be accused of “fooling all the people” or, at least, most of them? And they have a spectacular record of UN condemnations, an obvious involvement with nuclear power, and a clear record of “defiance of the international community” for a lot longer than Iran. And they didn’t sign the NPT treaty at all. They also seem to have a more profitable defiance posture than anyone else.

If one wanted to do stories about how countries can breech their own better natures in a time of stress, I’m sure the media can paint damming portraits of just about any regime on earth, if they really want to.

I just read one in the NYT Sunday edition that damned Jefferson to racist hell. So far Washington is still in Valhalla. Imagine, that man had his filthy hands all over the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

I tend to think of Iran as socially equivalent to this country about 50 years ago. And the Media doesn’t tend to look at what they are advised not to look at in the region. You can put it this way: if Iran was seen in a more friendly light and the international community thought it could get what it wanted out of the country, the stories would be adjusted to reflect that less critical attitude.

When the big powers want to go to war, they will, despite almost anything anyone says. Fooling the people is one of the tools in their arsenal. With the major media organs dominated by a few powerful owners, that has got to be easier than it ever.

However, I’m not sure anyone is getting quite what was expected from ten years of blood bathing in the ME.

In as much as the deaths in Syria are reported sloppily and without adequate investigation as to which side of the dispute is actually killing more of the victims, (both sides no doubt) it’s hard to say which side is the most murderous force.

Like most, I’m a consumer of news in the morning, and the choice seems to be: will I read stories with or without the smoke and “gravy”.

Dec 05, 2012 9:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.