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Perilous Path: US Attack on Iran Nuclear Facilities

The US House of Representatives approved a resolution on November 2, 2023, endorsing the use of force against Iran in order to stop the nation from obtaining nuclear weapons. The resolution stresses how "unacceptable" it would be for Iran to have nuclear weapons and says that the US should use "all means necessary" to prevent Iran from doing so.

Iran is not actively developing nuclear weapons, as confirmed by a recent US intelligence report. But the language around this decision and its implementation suggests an impending threat that is not substantiated by intelligence. This contradiction begs the question of whether the resolution was driven more by politics than by legitimate security concerns. Because the resolution depends so heavily on fabricated threats, it is especially concerning that it supports the use of force against Iran.

Despite the paucity of hard data, pro-Iranian hawks in the US and Israel have a long history of exaggerating the threat posed by Iran. Remarkably, these same officials refuse to formally recognize Israel's large nuclear arsenal. The region's mistrust and heightened tensions are exacerbated by this disparity in treatment and discourse.

The possibility that the resolution could turn into a major military confrontation is one of the biggest risks connected with it. The resolution's supporters contend that it is a preventive step, but its vague wording and focus on "all means necessary" set up a scenario that could be used as an excuse for going to war. According to Representative Thomas Massie, the resolution appears to advocate for war against Iran.

Iran's 60% uranium enrichment and its enriched uranium stockpiles are cited in the resolution as proof that the country is capable of developing a nuclear weapon. Nonetheless, knowledge of the technical facets of developing nuclear weapons is crucial. 90% enrichment of uranium is needed to create a nuclear weapon. There is currently no hard indication that Iran is thinking about taking this last step. The resolution fabricates a false sense of urgency by exaggerating the threat.

The entire Middle East may become unstable in the event if the US launched an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, or even just threatened to do so. Iran has issued several warnings that any attack on its nuclear installations would be met with retaliation, which may attract other nations and raise the possibility of a wider battle. Wide-ranging effects could result from such a battle, impacting not only the local area but also international security and the world's energy markets.

Additionally, diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue are jeopardized by the House action. The international community has favored using diplomacy and negotiations to resolve concerns around Iran's nuclear program. Supporting the use of force puts the US at risk of undoing the gains achieved in recent diplomatic negotiations, which will make it challenging to come up with a long-term, peaceful solution.


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