Is Iran’s nuclear program peaceful? Columnist Bulent Kenes ponders.
Among others, the author points out that Iran cannot compete with rich Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, in conventional armament. Even if it invests all of its revenues from oil and natural gas exports –which are its main source of income — in developing or procuring conventional weapons, Iran cannot be successful in this competition. Iran’s greatest rival in the region, Saudi Arabia spends about $45 billion for weapons procurement every year, and it placed two orders with the US in late 2011 and early 2012, which totaled $90 billion.
So in a nutshell, although the unit costs of nuclear armament is higher than those of conventional armament, nuclear armament creates a higher deterrence factor with a lower cost, therefore an Iranian nuclear weapons program emerges as a rational choice.
The author points out that the programs for developing intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), with a range of 3,000-5,500 kilometers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a range greater than 5,500 kilometers, to which Iran attaches great importance, are further proof that its nuclear program is not peaceful. In particular, given the parallelism between the progress made in the development and production of ICBMs and in the nuclear program, we have more reasons to doubt the intention of these programs, the author says.
While Iran is trying very hard to achieve its nuclear goal, oil rich Saudi Arabia is taking a short cut by negotiating in Beijng the purchase of Chinese nuclear-capable Dong-Fen 21 ((NATO-codenamed CSS-5) ballistic missile DEBKAfile reported. China, which has agreed to the transaction in principle, would also build a base of operations near Riyadh for the new Saudi purchases.
However, even before Saudi Arabia is nuclear equipped, Iran is facing far more advanced nuclear powers such as the US and Israel.
Looking from a watcher’s perspective, Iran appears to be just following a script written for her thousands of years in advance. While there is no evidence from Scripture that Iran will strike a nuclear blow to Israel or the US, Scripture implies that the end times conditions are present in the 21st century, according to the Washington Times article. An Iranian nuclear attack on Israel would set the world on a course closely related to biblical descriptions of the events of the end times. The Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel describes a dictator called Gog (often associated with Russia) who will form a military coalition with Iran, Sudan, Libya, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian countries in “the last days” (Ezekiel 38:16). Could this be a reference to modern day events in the Middle East? While it is impossible to say for sure, the biblical prophecies refer to wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and famines. All of which are common news features today.