Another lenghty post
I strongly recommend the book (it is available as an ebook), It goes into great detail about Iran’s nuclear agenda, though I haven’t finished
reading it yet.
The intended target would have been Iraq.
The ambitions of the Shah’s nuclear program is a matter of controversy, it is true that the Shah’s aim was simply to see Iran as an economic power
in the region, but both sides of the controversy agree that the weapons aspect was also important for the Iranian leadership.
The primary threat to Iran has always been Iraq. Iran’s conflicts with Iraq developed in 1959. It seems it is all about the ultimate control and
influence in the Islamic world, and two significant territorial disputes: the Shatt-al-Arab waterway in the Gulf and parts of Kurdistan. During the
Iran-Iraq war the Iraqis bombed many reactors, and as a consequence, Iran’s nuclear program did not make much more progress until Khameini and
Rafsanjani came along – they made serious efforts to strengthen Iran’s strategic capabilities to address future security challenges – like Iraq
which still were its primary security threat with unsolved border conflicts. Another war with Iraq would have been devastating. But the Gulf war
diminished that threat though. The US began to expand its presence in the Persian Gulf. For Iran, this was felt as another serious security threat.
Israel did not become an important rival until the 1980s due to the war in Lebanon and the creation of Hezbollah. Before the revolution, Israel and
Iran pretty much maintained close ties and Iran was considered an ally on the edge of the Arab world. In 1979 the US became another source of
conflict. So during the 1980s Iran had three primary “enemies” – Iraq, Israel and the US, Iraq being the most serious one.
Since all three “enemies” had or were developing nuclear weapons, Iran also felt itself threatened enough to develop its own nuclear weapons as a
deterrent capability – mainly against Iraq. It must be remembered that Iran was the weakest of the four powers, trying to defend itself against much
more stronger opponents. But the Iran-Iraq war ended before Iran could get any opportunity to develop such weapons, and since the US invasion of Iraq,
the Iran-Iraq relations has improved.
From what I have understood Iran has not yet actually developed any nuclear weapons, but acquiring or building them is (or was) in their interest –
it all depends on its security concerns. But if they will actually use nuclear weapons if they get them – I do not know – but to me it seems they
would only want to use it to deter its enemies from attacking.
The most important thing we can do is to urge our governments to not engage in a war with Iran. The way I see it, Israel/Palestina is the key to
solving the Middle East conflicts, without solving it I don’t think anything will improve.