Yellow cake in the Middle East

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By Skip Carlson

A nuclear-capable Islamic Republic of Iran is a grave threat to the national security of the United States of America. It is essential that the United States leads the effort to prevent one of the most dangerous countries in the world from nuclear capabilities.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Israel, the one country that faces the greatest existential threat from a nuclear-capable Iran. I traveled there with a small coalition of Pro-Israel activists from across the country. During the trip we were briefed on the security threats Israel faces and how they combat them. I gained a sense of what it must be like to live under the fear and threat of an impending nuclear strike from a neighboring country. Luckily, unlike Israel, we don’t have that looming security threat over our heads here in the U.S. Yet, the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran to the United States, whether a direct attack with a weapon of mass destruction or the dire negative consequences of them just possessing the capability, is more real and pressing than ever.

One negative effect on the U.S. economy would be the cost of oil in America would skyrocket. A nuclear-capable Iran would be able to coerce oil-exporting nations afraid of not accommodating a nuclear regime in Tehran. OPEC nations that agreed to Iranian demands to reduce their production of oil would raise the cost of oil, thus forcing Americans to pay more at the pump. From food to cars, this would have a significant impact on our entire economy. An Iran that dominates and manipulates other Arab countries would mean massive widespread economic instability.

A nuclear-capable Iran could become the power player in the Middle East, thus putting the lives of U.S. soldiers at an even higher risk. With troops stationed all over the Middle East, including countries neighboring Iran, their situation would become dangerously precarious. Not only would the military need to keep a vigilant eye on Iran, but terrorist groups and insurgents such as Hamas and Hezbollah that target U.S. troops would receive dramatically increased support from Iran. An already extremely volatile region would turn into a powder keg, and an impossible situation for our military.

Iran currently leads the world in sponsoring terrorist groups. It is a terrifying thought that regimes such as Hamas and Hezbollah would have the availability of nuclear materials as well. It would basically be nuclear blackmail, and with terrorist groups possibly equipped with nuclear weapons, the threat would be uncontrollable for U.S. national security. That threat would grow even closer to America’s shores with these terrorist groups in alliance with South American countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

A nuclear-capable Iran could create a frenzied arms race in the Middle East. Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt have already hinted they would develop such a capability and with Iran setting the tone, they would follow suit. The result would be an increasingly unstable Middle East with a rising Islamist influence.

As more states acquire nuclear weapons, the threat of nuclear arms falling into terrorist hands  escalates. Nuclear weapons would likely spread elsewhere around the globe, increasing the danger from such weapons for generations to come. The more countries that possess nuclear weapons dramatically increases the likelihood that these weapons will actually be deployed.

American influence would be weakened most of all in the Middle East. Iran could more successfully pressure Middle Eastern countries to adhere to Tehran’s wishes and ignore America’s wishes. Our ability to work with many Arab countries would be diminished if they felt threatened by a nuclear-capable Iran. America would be seen in the region as weaker and as having failed in its objective to prevent Iran from obtaining such capability. Our world influence would diminish, as Iran’s would soar.

America constantly faces foreign threats that are a danger to the liberty, freedom and security we enjoy. Iran’s nuclear capability will continue to be one of the most pressing threats to our national security. It is essential the U.S. leads the effort to stop Iran from achieving nuclear-capability, before it is too late.

Skip Carlson is a junior from Denver studying economic. This viewpoint represents his opinions and not necessarily those of The Universe, BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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