The US foreign policy towards Iran has only strengthened Tehran’s nuclear ambitions over the past two decades. Leaders who had abandoned their nuclear programs to improve relations with Washington — Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya — were forcibly overthrown with the participation of the US military.
Iran has been counted among the “axis of evil” and threatened with invasion despite helping the United States in overthrowing the Taliban. The unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan despite Iran’s compliance with all the terms of the agreement also generated skepticism in Tehran regarding the advisability of negotiations with Washington.
Donald Trump’s recent visit to North Korea showed Iran how the United States treated actual nuclear powers and countries that were seeking to get their own nuclear weapons. Despite the freezing of its nuclear program, Iran is on the verge of war with the United States today while North Korea, a country with about twenty to thirty nuclear warheads, is engaged in dialogue with willing to compromise Washington.
The US attack on Iran will demonstrate to the leaders and people of the Islamic Republic that the only way to guarantee the security of the country is a rush to nuclear weapons.
Supporters of limited military strikes mistakenly believe that Tehran will submit in the event of an attack. Iran proved its steadfastness, having beaten off the Iraqi invasion in an eight-year war during which up to 1 million Iranians were killed. In addition, the war with America may actually be useful to the Iranian regime, since the people will support the country’s leadership in confrontation with a foreign aggressor.
But even a well-organized US air campaign will not be able to destroy all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and therefore stop its nuclear program. As a result, Iran will direct all available resources to develop nuclear deterrence, and the world will lose the possibility of a peaceful resolution of the problem.
On the other hand, neither the United States nor Iran has any real plans to unleash a war but an increase in tensions may lead to negotiations. Donald Trump’s words concerning the “decreasing desire to make a deal with Iran” are also, most likely, exclusively rhetorical. As for Iran, Tehran can afford to behave as tough as possible: the country has nothing to lose because of serious sanctions.
Despite its hostility, the regime in Tehran has been coexisting with the United States for forty years and its government is even willing to cooperate in the field of common interests. It is not too late to reduce the escalation and move towards a solution that would preserve security in the region and prevent a war between the US and Iran.