History of Nuclear Inhibition

Frank Gavin has a useful article in War on the Rocks that cuts through the fog around the Iran-US Nuclear Agreement. Leaving aside any concerns that Israel or other regional states might have, the deal is remarkable in that Iran voluntarily or with some voluntary involvement has agreed to limit its nuclear ambitions despite being in a deplorable security environment surrounded by foes alike. Gavin identifies this clearly:

‘Getting any sovereign state to limit its ability to develop a weapon that would provide it with the ultimate security is beyond difficult. We should not forget how impressive any deal limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities is. Iran’s neighborhood is one of the toughest in the world, marked by chaos and discord and populated by bitter enemies, ideological and geopolitical rivals, and nuclear-armed states. It faces adversaries with superior conventional capabilities and has limited abilities to project power, making it the ideal candidate to acquire nuclear weapons. It is no friend to the United States, nor will it be anytime soon. Iran possesses both ample capabilities and powerful incentives to go nuclear. This makes the nuclear agreement, despite its imperfections, all the more remarkable.’

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