Many have worried that a nuclear Iran will trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Other countries in the region want to protect themselves from Iran’s nuclear arsenal, with weapons of their own. Allowing nuclear weapons in the hands of other unstable Middle East regimes could very well lead to a tragic, apocalyptic scenario.
Aside from the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of rogue regimes, the threat exists that a terror organization could acquire the bomb. In interviews with Time Magazine and ABC News in December 1998, Osama bin Laden stated that the acquisition of nuclear weapons “in defense of Muslims is a religious duty.”
It is unknown whether organizations like al-Qaeda have been able to acquire a nuclear warhead, but evidence suggests that they have tried. Furthermore, a nuclear bomb with force strong enough to kill tens of thousands can be packed into a backpack or suitcase.
In 2007, Princeton Professor Bernard Lewis explained how like many religions, Muslims have an end of days scenario. According to Islam, this will be the final struggle of good over evil. Ahmadinejad and his followers believe that time is now.
During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons pointed at each other, ready to be fired. However, there was an understanding that if one country fired, the other would certainly fire back leaving both countries in ruins. However, this concept is not sufficient to deter Iran from firing as Radical Muslims see martyrdom as the path to heaven and utter triumph.
During the war between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s, thousands of Iranian children were sent to clear mine fields with their bodies, wearing plastic keys symbolizing that the gates of paradise were open to them. Suicide bombers have since turned into an effective weapon for achieving terror goals. For Radical Muslims, it isn’t suicide. It’s religiously sanctioned martyrdom.
For the leaders Iran, losing tens or hundreds of thousands of citizens in a reprisal attack is not a problem. Ahmadinejad asked in a television interview, “Is there an art that is more beautiful, more divine, more eternal than the art of the martyr’s death?” On another occasion, he told Iranians that ‘‘a nation with martyrdom knows no captivity.’’
In light of the affection for death expressed by the Iranians, the question is clear: Do they have the ability to initiate a deadly nuclear war, and the will to push the button? And are we willing to find out the hard way?