There is more than one danger with the scenario of Iran developing nuclear weapons. One of course is geostrategic, Iran seeks hegemony and nuclear weapons is one of several tools in its quest for regional hegemony and global superpower status. This is dangerous enough to the region and to the world, a strategic threat no less. However, this is far from the worst danger to Israel. The basic problem with Iran for Israel is that Tehran does not fear Israel’s nuclear deterrence and therefore plans to use WMDs against Israel. Iran through Hezbollah plans to use chemical weapons against urban Israel to deter Israel from ever again attacking the Iranian nuclear weapons program. They plan to do so despite Israel’s nuclear deterrence posture.
One of the fundamental reasons why Iran seeks nuclear weapons is that Tehran plans to use them – in the words of Ali Khamenei – to “annihilate Israel”. The Iranian leadership ascribes such cosmic importance to destroying Israel that they do not regard it as a too large sacrifice were millions of Iranians to die from Israeli nuclear retribution. This is why the doctrine of so-called “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) would never work between Israel and Iran as much of Iran would survive such a war. Israel never saw itself as threatened by the nuclear weapons of Pakistan, an Islamist-leaning country which does not have the apocalyptic pretensions of the ruling mullahs in Tehran.
From the Iranian regime’s perspective, were Israel in response to Hezbollah’s chemical weapons attacks against urban Israel to annihilate the Iranian clerical city of Qom with its vast numbers of Islamic scholars, would those scholars simply go to heaven. Israel’s nuclear deterrence posture against Iran thus simply does not work. Israel has many problems with Iranian policy in the region, but the Iranian nuclear threat against Israel is existential in nature as illustrated by Iran’s on many occasions restated intention to “annihilate Israel”. It is hard indeed to misunderstand such words.
While it may be difficult to understand how the Iranian regime could entertain sacrificing millions of its own citizens for the cause of annihilating Jewish Israel it should be understood that this is a totalitarian regime and as such does it not have a high degree of respect for the value of human life to put things mildly.
It is also an intensely Anti-Semitic regime which denies the Holocaust, promotes the infamous forgery of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and refuses to normalize diplomatic and economic relations with the United States due to the regime’s belief that the Jews control the world through America. Denying genocide is here a precursor to committing genocide anew. Indeed, Iran intends to annihilate Israel’s 7 million indigenous Jews.
Israel has no choice but to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons program, yet an enduring solution is required and that is a permanent no-fly zone over Iran which will permit the US to intermittently attack Iranian nuclear facilities and thus prevent the Iranian nuclear weapons program from ever recovering again.