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Looking Beyond a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Is Regional Proliferation Inevitable?


The past year has seen a steady rise in tensions with regard to Iran's nuclear programme. Iran's economy is being crippled by far-ranging sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities looms large on the horizon. Yet the country's nuclear programme marches on, stoking fears that Iran may indeed be seeking to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. In this context, it is timely to consider how key regional players would respond to a nuclear-armed Iran. Many argue that an Iranian bomb would prompt a proliferation cascade in the Middle East. However, a closer examination of the drivers for key regional players shows that this is not necessarily the case. There is a range of non-proliferation tools that could be applied by the West and others to offset this risk.
Keywords: Iran, nuclear weapons, Middle East, nuclear proliferation