Expect a nuclear domino effect in the Middle East if Iran gains weapons capabilities, experts say

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The United States will have a hard time stopping Middle Eastern nations to pursue nuclear capabilities It should Iran available a nuclear weapon and must work to repair relations with allies in the region to minimize concerns, experts told Fox News Digital.

“It is obvious that if Iran goes nuclear, it will threaten the very existence of all Sunni and neighboring states in the Gulf,” said Brigadier (Reserve) General Amir Avivi, founder of the Israel Defense & Security Forum. “Nobody will have the right, neither the United States, nor Europe, nobody will have the moral right to tell someone in the Middle East that they cannot defend themselves.”

While the United States continues to launch a new one Joint comprehensive action plan (JCPOA) – also known as the Iranian nuclear deal – the greatest concern remains Iran’s ability to obtain nuclear weapons. The plan has limited Iran’s nuclear capabilities for a period of 10 years on centrifuges and 15 years on the amount of enriched uranium it can possess.

Critics argue that the plan only delays the path rather than interrupting it by providing Iran with permanent advantages ahead of time; supporters believe the gap will allow a new generation to take power and strike new deals. It is a bet that the countries of the region do not seem to support.

“There will be no stability. There will be wars. There will be proliferation,” Avivi added. “This is a huge existential threat.”

Israel, long at odds with its Muslim neighbors, has found itself increasingly in discussion with the Gulf states to strengthen ties in the face of a potential threat from Iran.

“This is the most worrying thing about proliferation and the scenario where not only Saudi Arabia, but also Egypt, Jordan, the Emirates and so on are moving towards nuclear weapons,” he said. “And I think this is not just a threat to the Middle East, it will create a completely different planet, a new era for the globe and endanger everyone.”

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Some analysts have argued that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would buy a weapon from Pakistan “the next day”. Robert Einhorn, a Brookings member and former State Department senior official, told Fox News Digital how Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Farhan Al-Saud once defined the relationship between the two countries as a relationship that it does not require any kind of written commitment.

But he doubts Pakistan will respond as Saudi Arabia thinks. Pakistan rejected Saudi Arabia’s appeal to join an anti-Houthi coalition and help in the Yemen conflict in 2015, which Einhorn sees as an indication of a fraying relationship.

“If there was any understanding, you know, decades and decades ago, on a general level, I am very doubtful that the Saudis can take it to the bank,” Einhorn said, adding that obtaining a nuclear weapon by of Iran would prove “disturbing” to the area.

Einhorn stressed that the US must work to address Saudi Arabian concerns and ensure Riyadh does not feel the need to acquire a nuclear weapon, but this will prove difficult as regional allies remain concerned that the US is standing. ” disengaging “from the region.

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“It was a concern of the Obama administration, it was accelerated with the Trump administration … and now with Biden, with the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and the perception that the United States is moving away, I believe, has helped create a real concern, also on the part of the Saudis and the Emirates, about the reliability of the United States “, he said.

Currently, it ranks Saudi Arabia and Iran as the top two countries that could pursue nuclear weapons, followed by South Korea and Japan, and then NATO ally Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2019 stunned the world when he said found it “unacceptable” that other nations ban his country from obtaining nuclear weapons, with many arguing that the declaration was more about Turkey’s overall position in the region and the world than any clear-cut nuclear ambition.

Ipek Yezdani, a diplomatic journalist focused on Turkish foreign policy, said Turkey “never had this kind of ambition”, but relations with the United States will prove vital to how Turkey responds to any regional proliferation. .

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“If Saudi Arabia decides to develop its own nuclear weapon after Iran, I think Turkey would not feel comfortable in terms of regional security and stability issues,” he explained. “It depends on Turkey’s relations with NATO at the time.”

“If Turkey feels trapped in a region full of countries that will develop their own nuclear weapons, perhaps Turkey will have this kind of agenda too,” Yezdani said.

Secondary fear of the deal remains Iran’s alleged financing of terrorist activities in the region, which critics say would only increase once Tehran gains access to approximately $ 130.5 billion in frozen assets and new profits from renewed manufacturing and trade. of oil.

But the US has a role to play and must do the work needed to stabilize the region for as long as it can, according to Einhorn.

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“The United States should remain militarily engaged in the region,” Einhorn said. “We should try to strengthen the Abraham Accords and develop a coalition of like-minded countries that are ready to resist Iranian progress. We should provide a lot of material assistance to these countries.”

“I think we can contribute to stability in the region,” he added.