Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Also, Santa is married to the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny was arrested for domestic battery.
It could not be more clear that Iran is spending vast resources on its nuclear program and violating sanctions for one purpose: to obtain nuclear weapons. And in my opinion, the recent sharp increase in aggressive behavior by Iran indicates they already have working nuclear bombs. The more power a criminal has, the more aggressive his behavior. A sudden increase in aggression indicates a new increase in power.
How could Iran have nuclear bombs when they are not known to have produced any weapon-grade uranium? Natanz was originally a covert uranium enrichment facility, until it was discovered by @ThegoodISIS by analyzing “commercial” satellite photography (and now we are back to fairy tales). Then Fordo was built hundreds of feet under solid rock, as the second covert facility, soon discovered by intelligence agencies. Iran wants a covert facility. They have the will, money, and other resources. It is likely that they built a third facility, and it was not discovered. And now they have had enough time to complete such a facility, equip it with advanced centrifuges (probably just the IR-2m), and accumulate plenty of WGU. Previously, according to reports from the IAEA and the Institute for Science and International Stuff, Iran completed all the other components needed for an implosion nuke based on uranium (and small enough to eventually be fitted on a missile).
Why does Iran want nuclear weapons?
In an interview just before he was sworn in as Prime Minister (2009) of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu described the danger of Iran getting nukes:
“In unusually blunt language, Netanyahu said of the Iranian leadership, ‘You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.’ ” [The Atlantic]
The leaders of Iran are extremist “Twelvers”. They not only believe in a series of 12 prominent Muslim clerics who succeed Mohammad (PBUH). They also believe that the 12th of those Imams never died. He was born in the 10th century A.D., and he is believed to be hidden in this world. Now in the extremist version of this belief, this Imam (al-Mahdi; the guided one) will only be revealed when the leaders of Islam conduct an apocalyptic war with the West, and kill all persons in the world who refuse to convert to Islam. Then, during this war, al-Mahdi makes his reappearance (with Jesus as his lieutenant) and leads the faithful in the war and in the subsequent establishment of a worldwide Islamic caliphate (kingdom).
The leaders of ISIS also have the same (or a similar) belief. That is why they call themselves “Islamic State” — they seek to establish a worldwide Islamic State. They are also extremist Twelvers.
As I understand it, many Muslims belief devoutly in the series of 12 Imams who followed after Mohammad. And many believe that the 12th Imam is hidden in the world. The extremists then depart from the usual understanding, in that they believe that an apocalyptic war is needed for al-Mahdi to reappear.
The leaders of Iran certainly think that they will win because Allah will help them in the war. But they still need soldiers and weapons. And, of course obtaining nuclear bombs would be necessary for such a war to be at all feasible.
If Iran has (or soon obtains) nuclear weapons, what will they do with them?
Will Iran simply begin a nuclear attack on the West? They cannot. They are not able to produce a large number of nuclear bombs. If they run out of nukes, they will be obliterated by conventional weapons: bombs, cruise missiles, attacks from air, land, and sea. If they have only one or two nukes, these might be taken or destroyed in a special operations mission (a commando raid). So they need anywhere from four to six nukes to make any use of them. Once they are down to a couple of nukes, it’s over.
The most likely plan is for Iran to produce several nukes, disperse them to several hidden locations (including one or two for quick deployment against the U.S. and Europe, and then reveal that they have nuclear bombs. Next, they would engage in nuclear blackmail. In this way, they keep all of their nuclear bombs, and yet obtain a great increase in power.
The revelation that Iran has nukes might be private or public. In one scenario, Iran schedules a meeting with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, and at that meeting, Rouhani confides one or a few leaders of Saudi Arabia that Iran has nukes. Then he makes a number of demands. I don’t know how extensive the demands would be. I don’t think Iran would simply take control of the nation. But Rouhani might demand that the kingdom cut ties with the West, or turn over some weaponry to Iran, or give Iran regular financial payments, or the like. Eventually, Iran would simply replace the Saudi Royal Family as rulers with their own puppet government.
When Rouhani met with the prime minister of Japan recently, he asked that Japan not participate in naval exercises with the U.S. Japan complied with that request. And while I don’t think Rouhani blackmailed Japan into that decision, it does establish a pattern that might soon include nuclear blackmail. Rouhani travels (or holds meeting in Iran) supposedly to establish better relations with the nations around Iran. Instead, the goal will be to surreptitiously obtain control over those nations. Then, as time passes, one nation after another sees a new set of leaders rise to power: extremists under the control of Iran.
The other possible scenario is that Iran might make a public disclosure of its nuclear arsenal. The subsequent blackmail of other nations would then be done openly, and rather quickly. The result of this approach is harsher and less predictable. A public outcry against Iran might pressure some nations to take military action, when they would prefer not to do so.
Iraq is a different case. Iran cannot blackmail the current regime in Iraq, as they are too closely allied with the U.S. The more likely approach here would be for Iran to disclose to the remaining elements of ISIS that they have nukes, make a pact with them, and then help them take control of Iraq and probably also Syria.
Iran cannot engage Pakistan in nuclear blackmail, not only because they also have nukes, but also because of the tensions between Pakistan and India, both nuclear nations. If Iran upsets that balance, a nuclear war might ensue on their borders. That would be too dangerous, even for Iran.
Then Afghanistan has too many U.S. forces, and the U.S. could easily increase those forces. It does not seem that Afghanistan would be a good target for nuclear blackmail.
On the other hand, Turkey might fear a nuclear Iran enough to make many concessions, especially since Turkey is a majority Muslim nation. The population is perhaps not as friendly toward the U.S. and Europe as the government of seems to be.
Soon enough, the West will realize that nuclear blackmail is underway (assuming the convert approach is used). But there is nothing the U.S. and Allies can do. Europe’s politicians are as averse to using military force as they are averse to being voted out of office. The population of Europe is not willing to support military action against anyone.
And in the meantime, as this blackmail is underway, Iran will undertake a public breakout to rush to produce as much weapon-grade uranium as possible, and as many more nukes as possible. In this way, they will shore up their position as a nuclear power, and move closer to the actual use of nuclear bombs.
Without nuclear missiles (yet), Iran would best use its nuclear bombs by putting one on a commercial ship, and sailing it into a harbor in a Western nation. They would like to nuke Israel. But the “Samson option” is well known. Israel has many nuclear missiles and the will to use them. Even one nuclear bomb used against Israel would destroy the entire nation. So they would have nothing to lose in wiping Iran from the map.
Given that Iran cannot nuke Israel, the next best target (from their point of view) would be New York City. There are more Jews in NYC than in any other city or nation outside of Israel. And such an attack would also destroy the United Nations headquarters — located conveniently right next to a waterway off of New York harbor. And the same attack would be devastating to the United States, which Iran calls “the great Satan”. New York City is a center of economic strength for the U.S. and the West, and a center for travel as well as a major port used by the U.S. navy. So NYC is the most likely first target, once Iran decides to start using its nuclear bombs.
But in my opinion, Iran is not ready for the major war that such an attack would initiate. Rouhani is President, but he is not Supreme Leader. And it is doubtful that Ali Khamenei would support the use of nuclear weapons in war. He probably would not even support nuclear blackmail, as he seems to believe that nukes are contrary to Islam. So Khamenei may soon die, suddenly, of suspicious causes. Rouhani has aspirations to conquer the planet, and he is not going to let Khamenei stand in the way. When Hassan Rouhani becomes both President and Supreme Leader of Iran, then the aggressiveness of Iran will increase to a frightening extent.
Iran already has nuclear weapons, as indicated by their recent increase in aggressive behavior. The next step is to engage in nuclear blackmail, to increase their political power in their own region of the world. They will also ramp up their nuclear program, to make as many nukes as quickly as they can. The ultimate goal is a major war against the West. The path to that destination likely includes nuclear blackmail, as a way to exercise the power of possessing nuclear bombs, with less destruction. Nuke a nation and you destroy it. Blackmail a nation, and you control its military and wealth. Which is better?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news
Ronald L. Conte Jr.