Recent tension between Iran and USA following the withdrawal of the USA from a landmark nuclear deal concluded under the Obama Administration in 2015; huge criticism poured in owing to this bizarre act of US not only by Iran by its Allies also.

It could be taken as a consequence of Trump’s inconsistent behaviour or one of his attempts to roll back Obama’s legacy. After the USA stepped out of the deal, Iran showed belligerent and acrimonious behaviours towards the USA. One of the most inconceivable actions taken by Iran was ‘downing the USA’s costly drone’ on the strait of Hormuz. It is said that the USA was ready to unleash an attack on Iran but at the eleventh hour the attack was called off. First of all, it is difficult to understand whether this claim of attacking Iran was true or not since Trump is unpredictable.

If it was true then, maybe some sane voices prevailed and advised Trump not to commence war directly as it could be another quagmire for the USA like Afghanistan or the wastage of economic resources. The saga of incidents is noticed by Iran in the State of Hurmoz after tensions rose up between Iran and USA. Iran shrunk the route for oil tankers of different countries in the Persian Gulf.

Japanese tanker destroyed on the Gulf of Oman. The USA and other Iran’s adversaries claimed that Iran was behind this vicious act. A fuzzy video was presented by the USA to justify its claim of Iran’s involvement. In that vague video, an unexploded limpet mine was being removed from one of the tankers purportedly by the Iranian boat. One thing is also noteworthy that when the incident of Japanese tanker occurred, Japan’s Prime Minister was in Tehran for holding talks with Ayatollah Khamenei. Bearing in mind the presence of the Japanese Prime Minister, Common sense doesn’t allow conceding that the attack was done by Iran.  It may be done by Saudi Arab or Israel to provide the USA with casus-belli to attack Iran for freeing the economic passage or to react against Iran’s belligerent attitude.

Latterly, cases to capture oil tankers by Iran came to light. Iran seized a tanker of UAE and maintained that was implicated in oil smuggling. Then, Britain seized Iranian Tanker near Gibraltar accusing it of breaching the European Union Sanctions on Syria. Iran in return seized British tanker. Many political pundits were prophesied that Iran was paving way for its own destruction through its actions. The reason behind the tanker seizing practice could be translated into Iran’s bid to exert pressure on the international community to strike a new deal to get rid of paralyzing economic sanctions.

No one in the international community ready for a new deal and the USA has adopted the way of economic war instead of direct war to counter Iran. The question arises, what are the objectives of the USA in the Middle East and how can Iran pose a threat to the USA’s objectives or why is the USA against Iran’s nuclear program?  Main USA objectives are the protection of Israel, access to oil resources, resist the emergence of a hostile regional hegemon, halt the way of the weapons of mass destruction and check on terrorism and political and economic reforms.

Iran with nuclear capability can pose a threat to many of the USA’s objectives in the Middle East‘Protection of Israel’ is a case in point. Revolution1979 was the turning point in Iran-Israel relations and both are arch-enemies today. Syria has become a battleground for both adversaries. Israel has targeted many Iranian positions in Syria. Israel is a vociferous critic of Iran’s nuclear program as it can create deterrence in the region and particularly in Israel. So, any threat to Israel is tantamount to a stumbling block in the way USA’s objective.

Secondly, “halting the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction”, many people claim that Iran does have a nuclear weapon but have not declared yet. Iran’s recent warning that “if the USA attacks Iran, Iran will annihilate Israel” indicates that there could be a probability of this. But since there is no explicit evidence of this claim is surfaced, nothing is believable. Iran knows the importance of nuclear weapon for maintaining the balance of power in the region against US-backed forces or allies.

In terms of nationhood, Iran is a strong nation under a supreme authority. History of Iran’s nuclear activities despite severe sanctions, the background of its determined nation and threat of different actors in the region like Israel could be sources of motivation to get nuclear weapons. It might be true that Iran’s nuclear capability can expedite nuclear weapons’ race in the region. It can spur Israel to develop more advance weapon and it can further encourage Saudi Arab to pursue nuclear capability. So, it could be against the USA’s interest to counter any bid to develop nuclear arsenals.

Thirdly, as far as the point “to prevent the emergence of Hostile Regional Hegemon” is concerned, it is beyond any doubt that a nuclear Iran could be a regional hegemon and it might show a hostile behaviour towards USA’s allies in the region such as Israel and Saudi Arab. Any strict demeanour towards USA’s allies could be an impediment in the way of USA’s interests. Failure or any hurdle in the way of the USA’s objectives might change Iran into a hostile regional hegemon in the sight of USA and world community also because the international community accepts the narrative build by Superpower. So, nuclear Iran could be a hostile regional hegemon that is a violation of USA’s another objective.

Nuclear Iran can scuttle above-mentioned objectives of the USA especially the survival of Israel. Iran cannot hurt the USA directly but can be a hindrance in the way of the USA’s Allies and its interests. The Middle East is already a bastion of conflicts and conspiracies by international players and nuclear Iran will further extend the chain of conflicts as it can initiate arm race.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.