Should Iran test a nuclear device, Saudi Arabia would acquire bombs from Pakistan. Turkey and Egypt might start their own nuclear weapons programs. Israel would put its nuclear arsenal or high alert.
If, after a year or two building a bomb, in an act of insanity, Iran found a way to deliver it to Israel or a U.S. facility in the Middle East, Iran would be inviting the fate of Imperial Japan in 1945.
So, let us assume another scenario, that the Iranians are not crazed fanatics but rational actors looking out for what is best for their country.
If Iran has no atom bomb program, as the Ayatollah attests, President Hassan Rouhani says he is willing to demonstrate, and 16 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded six years ago and again two years ago, consider the future that might open to Iran -- if the Iranians are simply willing and able to prove this to the world's satisfaction.
First, a steady lifting of sanctions. Second, an end to Iran's isolation and a return to the global economy. Third, a wave of Western investment for Iran's oil and gas industry, producing prosperity and easing political pressure on the regime.
Fourth, eventual emergence of Iran, the most populous nation in the Gulf with 85 million citizens, as the dominant power in the Gulf, just as China, after dispensing with the world Communist revolution, became dominant in Asia
Why would an Iran, with this prospect before it, risk the wrath of the world and a war with the United States to acquire a bomb whose use would assure the country's annihilation?
America's goals: We do not want a nuclear Iran, and we do not want war with Iran. And Iran's actions seem to indicate that building an atom bomb is not the animating goal of the Ayatollah, as some Americans insist.
Though she has the ability to build a bomb, Iran has neither conducted a nuclear test, nor produced bomb-grade uranium. She has kept her supply of 20-percent uranium below what is needed to be further enriched for even a single bomb test. Now, she has agreed to dilute half of that and produce no more.
If Iran were hell-bent on a bomb, why has she not produced a bomb?
Just possibly, because Iran doesn't want the bomb. And if that is so, why not a deal to end these decades of sterile hostility?