On April 11, the Institute for Science and International Security released what might well be considered an alarming report: “As soon as mid-to-late April,” namely these very days, “Iran is expected to reach a new dangerous, destabilizing threshold, having enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) to fashion a nuclear explosive, about 40-42 kilograms (kg) of 60 percent enriched uranium… With this quantity, an enrichment level of 60 percent suffices to create a relatively compact nuclear explosive; further enrichment to 80 or 90 percent is not needed.” As a result, the report continues, “the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive cannot be excluded.”
“A common fallacy is Iran would require 90 percent HEU … to build nuclear explosives,” the report continues. “Although Iran’s nuclear weapons designs have focused on 90 percent HEU and likely prefer that enrichment, modifying them for 60 percent HEU would be straightforward and well within Iran’s capabilities.” In other words, according to the report, we are already dealing with a nuclear Iran.
Initially, I believed that Israel must do whatever it can to prevent Iran from getting a bomb. However, if Iran already has a bomb, I do not think that it is the end of the world, although now the rules of the game will clearly be very different.
First, they will be different for Iran. Aspiring for an A-bomb and actually having one are two very different things. Once you have got such a powerful weapon, you realize that playing time is over. You imagine the possibilities that being a nuclear power will give you, but the truth is that the constraints are countless. You are no longer treated like a reckless child but like a nuclear power, and the demands from you increase accordingly. Any step you take toward using nuclear arms might be reciprocated with equal strength, if not more, so it is not as though you can do whatever you want. Instead, you have far less room for error.
Second, despite the toxic rhetoric, I do not believe that Iran has made the destruction of the State of Israel one of its goals. Clearly, it is vociferous and strident in expressing its hatred for the Jewish state, but I think it is more a matter of politics than of real commitment to Israel’s destruction. After all, despite using Hamas and Hezbollah as Iranian proxies that bully Israel, neither poses an existential danger to the Jewish state, and its own army has never participated in any of the full-blown wars against Israel. As I see it, Iran’s anti-Israel rhetoric is more a political tactic than an actual ideology.
Therefore, if Iran indeed has a bomb, we must make the necessary preparations for ourselves, but nothing more than that. After all, we, too, have our missiles and planes, as well as submarines, and all of them can carry nuclear bombs if needed.
Besides, Israel is not Iran’s only avowed enemy. As a Shiite state, it has been in conflict with Sunni states for centuries, and Sunnis are the majority in the Muslim world. Therefore, Iran’s struggle for hegemony in the Muslim world is just as bitter, and perhaps more important to it than its ambition to annihilate the Jewish state.
Also, there is a deeper layer to the conflict between Iran and Israel, which pertains directly to the role of Israel with regard to humanity. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent, humanity has no choice but to learn to work together. The semiconductor crisis, shipment delays, the pandemic, the rising inflation and food shortage are all happening on a global scale. No country can survive on its own today.
Israel’s past contains a formula of unity that has never been tried by anyone except Israel, and that, too, only in antiquity. According to this formula, one does not try to oppress the other or change the other person’s, or nation’s way of life. Rather, belligerent parties leave their adversaries as they are and try to bond with them above the differences. For this to happen, the value of unity itself must be superior to all other values.
Think of a woman and her child. She loves her child whether he is a saint or a Satan.
We must achieve something of that relation throughout all of humanity. Since it is completely unnatural, we must elevate the value of unity above all other values, so that it covers all the faults we see in others.
If we value unity above all else, we will use our traits for the common good rather than for our own good. The surprising result will be that we will realize that in reality, there are no negative qualities when we use them only where and how they contribute to society.
The conflicts we see today, whether between Israel and Iran or between Russia and Ukraine, are all for the same purpose: to make us realize that in the end, we will not agree but we will have to unite nonetheless.
The world hates Israel precisely because it had set a precedent in antiquity, and now it must revive it and become an example from which the world can learn. The enemies of Israel force it to unite, and thereby do what Israel must do for the world: become an example of unity. If Israel insists on refraining from carrying out its mission, it will stop existing with or without an A-bomb.
Life-size model of “Fat Man” in Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum