How would the Arab states of the Middle East react if Iran were to acquire a nuclear weapons capability? In this Working Paper, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Michael Young explores the possible impact of a nuclear Iran on Arab governments’ self-perceptions, relations with Iran, relations with one another, and relations with non-Arab actors in the region such as the United States and Turkey. Young concludes that an Iranian nuclear weapon would threaten to drastically alter the regional status quo, empower Iran and its allies, and provoke sectarian reactions from some Arab states.
Note: Contributors were not asked their views about the possibility that Iran may develop nuclear weapons nor about the most effective U.S. policies to avoid that eventuality. Rather, they were told to assume that despite U.S. efforts, Iran had developed nuclear weapons, and they were asked to help assess U.S. options at that point.