By John Dale Grover
Putting Iran in a tight spot will only bolster the hardliners’ arguments to get nuclear weapons. And what happens if regime-change advocates get their wish and the people in the streets attempt to topple the Iranian government? Who would take charge? Or what if the Ayatollah dies or hardliners win elections in 2021? In any of these scenarios, it is easy to imagine what would happen if Iran’s nationalistic military took over—it would become even more hostile and violent. They would certainly ramp up military support for Iran’s allies and further needle America’s partners. The military might help other groups to kill more Americans in the Middle East, or try to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran is a bad actor, but it is not currently after a nuclear bomb, or actually so threatening that sanctioning American allies is worth it. Washington should focus on deterring actual nuclear powers like North Korea, China, and Russia—not waste its energies elsewhere.
This piece was originally published by Defense One of May 6, 2019.
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