How I Learnt To Stop Worrying & Love (Iran’s) Bomb

An Iranian nuclear weapon should be supported, not opposed.

I once took part in a Backbencher debate where I stated I would support military action against Iran to stop them gaining a nuclear weapon. Turns out I was fairly wrong.

In fact I have to say I agree with Olly and Lee; Iran getting a nuclear weapon isn’t the end of the world, (pardon the pun). In fact it’s a good thing.

After the illegal invasion of Iraq and months of searching for those WMDs Reagan sold the Iraqis in the 80s to use against Iran, Iraq crumbled and shattered. Before the invasion, Iraq and Iran had balanced each other out, the two regional powers had engaged in a seven year long bloody war with each other, which saw the first use of gas attacks since the First World War and US warships bombarding Iranian oil platforms. (It is also the only conflict where both sides have used ballistic missiles against each other and the only one where there has been helicopter air-to-air combat) Seeing as the US had already played their hand and backed the Iraqis, the 2003 invasion made no sense, to build up and ally only to violently bring him down, but that is what they did and now they are desperately trying to pump up Saudi Arabia to counter the ever growing and vengeful Iranian regime.

The image pro-interventionists like to paint is a crackling Ahmadinejad overlooking a map of the United States & Israel, plotting with a red marker which city will receive the nuclear tipped ICBMs first. Turns out that’s also crap, what was the key ingredient behind the Cold War? Russia and the US being power hungry… or being scared? Worried about the utter destruction and removal of their nation, their families, their home, their everythings from history, they were scared. That is what sparked the arms race and what fuelled it every step of the way.

So you have to ask yourself, what is Iran afraid of? Iraq is no longer the former threat it was, Saudi Arabia is struggling to match, could the threat be coming from Asia in the East? Unlikely, as Iran receives much support from some nations in that area. The answer is simple, Iran is scared of Israel. Sabre rattling has increased day by day, with US Senators pushing to greenlight an Israeli strike on Iran & Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu holding up the bomb card during a speech to the UN. To top this off, Israel has in its possession 80-200 nuclear weapons.

In the face of all this, wouldn’t you want the safety of a nuclear weapon to ensure you’re left alone?

Because that is what it is; the ultimate deterrent. Should Iran ever be attacked or invaded, tanks and men can slowly be ground down and crushed, whereas the nuclear bomb allows for a last ditch dead man’s hand against an aggressive foreign force. They would never use a nuclear weapon against Israel or the US or anyone else for that matter; they won’t be the aggressors because it would lead to the utter and total destruction of Iran, in the same way North Korea won’t use a nuclear weapon because the people who lead these nations live like gods, they are idolised and live in luxurious palaces packed with servants to serve to their every need.

Would you give that up to die in a sudden ball of flame?

Yes, Iran is hardly the most liberal nation on earth, it isn’t as often as bad as many make out; many religious minorities are given protected status and a seat in the Iranian parliament, however the Bahai faith is oppressed. Homosexuality is punishable with public flogging and sodomy is punishable with death by hanging. Iran isn’t the homeland of liberal and progressive thinking either, with several leading LGBT activist expelled from the countries, steps are being slowly taken in the right direction though. Even Sharia Law is being (very very) slowly rolled back. This isn’t an argument against them possessing nuclear weapons though. I’m sure we would all like to see Iran be more tolerant and liberal but if we start using this as an argument against them processing nuclear weapons, does that mean Israel isn’t fit to have the very same weapons for their actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip? The excessive murder of civilians and disproportionate force used against civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals (that all totally have weapon stashes below them, honest). Palestine is being oppressed by Israel in the same way LGBT rights are being oppressed in Iran.

Iran having the bomb won’t destabalise the region; far from it. The fear that they will pass weapons on to a terrorist organization is hugely unlikely because it will be traced back and Iran would pay dearly for it. A nuclear armed Iran may actually go a long way to restoring the peace in the Middle East because no longer does it have a need to be scared, it’ll be on even footing with the likes of Israel and may very well finally open the door to friendlier talks between Iran & the West.

For anyone who disagrees with the above, how do you plan on stopping Iran?

It has the 8th largest army and the 6th largest reserve force, along with an extensive ballistic missile program which has led to Iran stockpiling thousands of missiles. It also has a large collection of advanced battle tanks & air superiority fighters. In short, it’ll going to be a long hard fight. To crack that nut will require the full might of Western (read American) military power, in a time of recessions and budget cuts; we have not the ability, nor the will to fight a war on that scale. The British and American armies are fatigued and demoralized from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have no desire to go fight in another war, no matter how much we will be promised a quick victory, the lessons from the past decade proves that no such thing exists in modern warfare, only the long lasting battle for hearts and mind while watching where you put your feet.

And quite frankly, I’m growing really attached to my legs, thank you very much.

Gareth Shanks is the current chairman of Friends of Palestine in UKIP. He writes about military matters, Palestine and things that make society tick. He’s a self-described Neville Rebel and tweets as @Garethshanks

For more on Iran, check out work by Backbencher’s other writers, Lee Jenkins and Olly Neville


  1. I can’t agree that Iran getting the bomb would be a *good* thing – well, for them, yes, but clearly not for the West. It would considerably alter the balance of power in the Middle East, and not in our favour. Consider how nuclear weapons seem to have emboldened the regime in North Korea, and it should be obvious that a stronger Iran is not something we should welcome.

    That said, I also agree that going to war with Iran to try to stop them going nuclear would be extremely foolhardy, and potentially disastrous. The best option seems to me what the West has actually been doing – putting pressure on Iran with sanctions and threats on the one hand, while undermining their nuclear programme through covert action on the other. But if those tactics don’t work and Iran does get the bomb, we’ll just have to learn to live with it.


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