The Instigator
CiRrK
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
imabench
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+23
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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/12/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,442 times Debate No: 26128
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (44)
Votes (6)

 

CiRrK

Pro

|||If you wish to accept this debate, tell me in the comments section||||


Resolved: Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons.



Definitions...though the resolution is straight forward.

1. Iran = Islamic Republic of Iran

2. Prevented: keep from happening

3. Nuclear weapons: a weapon of mass destruction whose explosive power derives from a nuclear reaction


Rules

Drops are concessions, which includes individual pieces of evidence

Forfeit = auto-loss

No new arguments or evidence in the last round

No semantics


*Rd. 1 is for acceptance, Rd. 2 is for argumentation.

imabench

Con

I accept this debate and shall argue why Iran does not need to be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons
Debate Round No. 1
CiRrK

Pro

I look forward to an exciting and thought-provoking debate! :)


C1: Iran, An Existential Threat [1] [2] [3]

Opponents to direct action often cite the argument that Iran is a peaceful nation and hasn't gone to war in hundreds of years, clearly ignoring the fact that Iran has supported terrorist organizations since the inception of the Islamic Republic and also ignoring the pertinent fact that Iran has a radically different type of government now than it has had in the past, but this will be addressed later. The important fact here in this contention is the fact that Iran is a threat to U.S. and Israeli national security and has shown signs of increasingly belligerent tendencies

First, according to the AEI Critical Threats Project the NYPD has monitored, recorded and verified multiple Iranian reconnaissance units documenting vital areas in New York City. The troubling aspect about this is this is not a new phenomenon, but rather over the course of this decade Iran has systematically and incrementally been increasing its reconnaissance missions within the United States especially in key areas like New York City and Washington DC.

Silber writes,

"Over the last six months, our analysts have studied terrorist plots with a plausible nexus to Iran that have been attempted or carried out in Azerbaijan, India, Georgia, Thailand, as well as here in Washington. What we have learned has heightened our concerns. Disconcertingly, these plots demonstrate that Iran and/or Hezbollah remain committed to striking against Israeli and Western targets. Further complicating the task of law enforcement is the diversity of methods evidence by these plots, including differences in the profile of perpetrators, types of explosives used, delivery method, and tradecraft."

This evidence indicates an ever growing amount of suspicious activity on the part of the Iranians: one includes the detention of Iranians photographing vital aspects of the Brooklyn Bridge (2008) and members of an Iranian delegation who were detained for photographing, blueprinting, and mapping the structural integrity of the Wall Street Helipad (2010).

Second, Iran was the instigator of an assassination attempt on U.S. soil coupled with various terror attacks against key targets.

ABC news writes,

"FBI and DEA agents have disrupted a plot to commit a "significant terrorist act in the United States" tied to Iran. The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. Bombings of the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were also discussed, according to the U.S. officials."

C2: Iran and Terrorism [4] [5]

A strawman argument against intervention is that Iran is incapable at this time to create a functioning warhead and ballistic missile needed to strike Israel. I will refute the capability fact later, but for now let us focus on why its a strawman argument. Iran's modus operendi when it comes to military operations is to use proxy agents usually under the direction of the Revolutionary Guard. Iran uses terrorist groups to infiltrate and create harm in various countries throughout the world. Thus, the issue is not over whether Iran can create a fully functioning warhead capable of striking Israel, but rather the issue is Iran giving graded nuclear material to terrorists.

First, Al Qaeda. According to the Critical Threats Project,

"First, the operability of the [Iranian Al Qaeda] network confirms that the Iranian regime is directly facilitating al Qaeda activity in the region, including coordinating with al Qaeda's representative in Iran to arrange the release of al Qaeda members from detention." This arrangement, in place since 2005, further demonstrates the Iranian regime's willingness to discount the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide if it can help inflict harm on American security and interests. Second, the network's ties to multiple enemy groups illustrate the syndicate-like nature of al Qaeda's presence in Iran. Al Qaeda's core leadership in Pakistan, al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Taliban are all connected to the Khalil network according to Treasury. Recent American and coalition operations in Afghanistan corroborate the existence of other al Qaeda-affiliated networks inside Iran. An Iran-based al Qaeda network led by Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil funnels Gulf money and personnel for al Qaeda from Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. The network, operates under an agreement between al Qaeda and the Iranian regime."

Second, Hezbollah. According to the CTP Iran and Hezbollah are politically and militarily connected, and Hezbollah is a proxy agent of Iran. CTP offers evidence:

Dual Lebanese-American citizen Hor Akl was sentenced to 6 years in prison by a U.S. court for attempting to smuggle $200,000 to Hezbollah. Akl previously pled guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a group designated as a foreign terrorist organization, money laundering, perjury and bankruptcy fraud.. Iran is shipping arms to Hezbollah via modified passenger. Representatives of the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern about funds raised for Hezbollah through Lebanese expatriates in Latin America. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser, however, noted that "the most significant donor to Hezbollah is Iran. All other forms of Hezbollah fund raising pale in comparison to the funds that Hezbollah gets from Iran. Iran is the chief financial supporter of Hezbollah and Hezbollah survives on Iranian support."

C3: Regional Arms Race [6]

The Guardian writes,

A senior Saudi Arabian diplomat and member of the ruling royal family has raised the spectre of nuclear conflict in the Middle East if Iran comes close to developing a nuclear weapon.Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, warned senior Nato military officials that the existence of such a device"would compel Saudi Arabia to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences. 'We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don't. It's as simple as that,' the official said. 'If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit.'"

[1] http://www.criticalthreats.org.........

[2] http://homeland.house.gov.........

[3] http://abcnews.go.com.........

[4] http://www.irantracker.org.........

[5] http://www.irantracker.org.........

[7] http://www.guardian.co.uk.........
imabench

Con

Before I start with the Pro's arguments and introduce counterpoints, I would first like to give a little history between the US and Iran.

Iran had been ruled by a series of kings, known as Shah's for close to 2500 years now. The US entered Iranian history at the time of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, the Prime minister of Iran who was the one who really ran the country while the Shah was more of a figurehead. Mohammad Mosaddegh was a widely popular ruler of Iran when he was elected in 1951. Prior to his election Iran had languished in poverty and neglect with little hope for its people, but he changed that. Mosaddegh nationalized the nations oil reserves which immediately brought in wealth to Iran that had only been dreamed of before, and Iran soon began climbing out of poverty. Mosaddeh had turned the fortunes of the country around while the Shah, who tried to gain power over Mosaddeh, made himself very unpopular among the people at the same time. The Shah of Iran was seen as one of Iran's biggest enemies while the prime minister was seen as their biggest hope, forcing the Shah to leave Iran to the delight of Iranians.

Iran then enjoyed peace and prosperity, but it was short lived. How did the US respond to Mosaddeh's rule in Iran? Well the US overthrew him, replaced the beloved Prime minister with the previous Shah who turned out to be a bloodthirsty tyrant comparable to Hitler who liked to live in opulence, and Iran fell back into grinding poverty in a matter of weeks....

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.bbc.co.uk...

Naturally, Iranians were pretty pissed off at us. It didnt help that the Shah was more concerned with westernizing the country rather then modernizing it, essentially forcing a very conservative people to give up beloved traditions wile still subjecting them to economic decline. The King also ruled with an iron fist who used secret police regularly to prevent uprisings against him, and killed protestors very frequently, but it got worse.

In 1979, the people overthrew the tyrannical rule of the Shah and instead placed power in the hands of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iranian faith. The Shah had fled to America where he was met with open arms. Now it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that a country who overthrows a beloved ruler, replaces him with a ruthless dictator, and then offers that same dictator shelter once he is kicked out of the country, all while that dictator is responsible for millions of people dying, would not be well liked.

Then we went ahead and gave funds and weapons to another nearby dictator (Saddam in Iraq) to wage war against Iran......

Point is: Iranians hate us, and they have numerous damn good reasons to hate us, because we keep meddling in their affairs.

Now onto the Pro's arguments

1) Suspicious activities from Iran that includes spying.

"First, according to the AEI Critical Threats Project the NYPD has monitored, recorded and verified multiple Iranian reconnaissance units documenting vital areas in New York City........... This evidence indicates an ever growing amount of suspicious activity on the part of the Iranians........... Iran was the instigator of an assassination attempt on U.S. soil coupled with various terror attacks against key targets........ The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C."

Basically, the Pro is arguing that since Iran has taken up suspicious activity against the US, then if they were to get a nuke they would use it against us. But heres the thing, countless nations have already spied on us and they have had possession of nukes but never used them. China, Russia during the Cold War, North Korea, Pakistan, etc are all nations who have nuclear capabilities and who have spied on us or our allies, and several of them are just as unstable as Iran, but they have not used nukes even though they have them. If nations like Pakistan, North Korea, or Communist Russia could spy on us with nuclear capabilities and choose to not use them, then why is Iran any different?

Just because nations spy on the US or plot against us does not mean they will nuke us or our allies when they get enough nukes, because other nations have done the exact same thing and HAD nukes yet didnt use them against us, and Iran wont be any different.

2) Iranian ties to terrorism

Pro brings up Iran's extensive ties to terrorism and groups like Al-Qaeda who the US is openly at war with and that Iran could arm these terrorist organizations with nukes. Let me go ahead and say that Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Pakistan and even iraq have all had ties to some terrorist groups who have it out for the US, yet those nations have never given any kind of nuclear or chemical weapon to these terrorists to use against us once.

Now with that in mind, we can logically conclude that Iran would under no circumstances give any of these terrorist cells a nuclear bomb. And heres why.

- 1 - Iran hasnt even given any of these terrorist groups airplanes, why the hell would they give them their only nuke? Iran funds terrorists because giving them money is easy. Giving them military hardware though is something Iran never does, and if Iran wont even give them large weapons of war like vehicles, then why would they go out of their way to give them a damn nuke? It just doesnt make sense that they would do that given Irans history of what they actually do give to terrorists.

- 2 - It would be a death wish to give terrorists the nuke. If a terrorist organization were to use an Iranian nuke on Israel or the US, the US and the rest of the world would retaliate as if it was the Iranians who carried out the attack themselves. This would quickly bring about the demise of those in power, so the leaders of iran have no incentive to put their state of rule in jeopardy and in the hands of terrorists who have nothing to lose. The Iranians would never give terrorists a nuke because they would essentially be digging their own grave, and wouldnt even have any control over who gets nuked, where, or when.

Since there is no incentive for Iran to do such a thing, so why would they do it?

"A strawman argument against intervention is that Iran is incapable at this time to create a functioning warhead and ballistic missile needed to strike Israel. I will refute the capability fact later"

I accept they have the capability, you can go ahead and save yourself that character space.

3) Regional arms race

" 'We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don't. It's as simple as that,' the official said. 'If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit.'" - Some Saudi Arabian official"

In this argument Pro argues that if Iran gets a nuke, then Saudi Arabia will get a nuke, and then there will be hell to pay. This is the opinion of one offical in Saudi Arabia and not their official policy, but more importantly the US and other nations already have massive economic ties to Saudi Arabia, and these nations could easily offer their military protection to Saudi Arabia so that they dont have to do that themselves. Need evidence? The US has already done that! During the first Gulf War, Saddam threatened to invade Saudi Arabia and also threatened to have nukes, but the US simply offered military support to Saudi Arabia, eliminating their need to develop their own arms.

If Iran gets nukes, Saudi Arabia wont pursue nukes too by default. The US and other powerful nations have an economic incentive to offer their military support to Saudi Arabia should they request it, which would eliminate any initiative from them to develop their own nukes. This has been the case in the past, there isnt any reason to suggest it will change in the future.
Debate Round No. 2
CiRrK

Pro

Cool history lesson…now to the arguments.

C1: Existential Threat

My opponent argues that Iran is not unique. The problem with this argument is that he uses false comparisons.

First, we did try and prevent North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons using strict sanctions.

Second, the USSR’s nuclear timeframe was too short and unexpected for the U.S. to have done anything major against their nuclear proliferation. Moreover, the world was a bipolar system at that point where power was distributed pretty equally between the US and USSR. Iran cannot compare to the USSR in terms of global influence and conventional military power.

Third, Pakistan was and is an ally. Whereas India was “nonaligned” (really they were supporters of the USSR) during the Cold War, Pakistan maintained an alliance with the US. Our aid to Pakistan and our continued alliance with them is essentially to buy protection for Pakistani nuclear facilities. Moreover, Pakistan is equally balanced with India and is for all intents and purposes contained in the region from doing anything too adventurous.

Fourth, China and the US have an economic interdependency in which one catastrophe to a single party would inevitably damage the other. China, at this point, is not a threat to the US in terms of a security stature. There is strong competition between the US and China but this does not entail nuclear competition.

Another problem with my opponent’s argument is that it fails to understand the strategic importance of Iran’s spying. It is not just the simple fact that there are Iranian spies, but rather what Iran is spying on. The evidence indicates areas of strategic economic and civilian populations.

2) Iranian ties to terrorism


Again my opponent mentions other countries, which are still false comparisons. On Saudi Arabia his argument is false because they are an ally, and Iraq is false because Saddam wasn’t a supporter of terror organizations that are direct threats to the US.

Moreover, Al Qaeda has expressed the desire to use a nuclear weapon if it had access to one – but due to Pakistani restricted access (they are an ally) Al Qaeda has failed to acquire one. [1]

http://in.reuters.com...


My opponent’s first justification is that Iran hasn’t given terrorist groups airplanes.

First, my question is why would they do that? Terrorist groups MO generally do not involve planes. Terrorists operate in ground force cells and work clandestinely. Using fighter jets or airplanes would be way too conspicuous for a terrorist. 9/11 would fit this MO because it was a clandestine and surprised hijacking.

Second, Iran provides more than just funding – they also provide arms, sanctuary and training. The Revolutionary Guard has tained many terror groups which now operate in the Middle East. [2]

http://www.cfr.org...

- 2 - It would be a death wish to give terrorists the nuke. If a terrorist organization were to use an Iranian nuke on Israel or the US, the US and the rest of the world would retaliate as if it was the Iranians who carried out the attack themselves. This would quickly bring about the demise of those in power, so the leaders of iran have no incentive to put their state of rule in jeopardy and in the hands of terrorists who have nothing to lose. The Iranians would never give terrorists a nuke because they would essentially be digging their own grave, and wouldnt even have any control over who gets nuked, where, or when.

My opponent’s second justification is that an Iranian nuclear attack would doom the regime to destruction.

First, the level of Iranian nuclear security is unknown at this point. US policy cannot rule out the potential for nuclear theft by organizations like Al Qaeda. It must be noted that the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda is only a relationship based in expediency. Iran uses Al Qaeda to leverage against the US and Al Qaeda uses Iran for sanctuary. If at any point Al Qaeda believes that its interests are better served from stealing nuclear material from an Iranian nuclear facility then there is nothing ideological preventing this from occurring. Al Qaeda would easily have the ability to leverage its hold on nuclear material as a chip against Iran.

Second, my opponent assumes that the only threat is direct threats. Aside from a nuclear arms race which I discuss below, the other indirect harm which occurs is Iran’s nuclear umbrella which allows freedom of movement and activity for Iran and terror groups. To contextualize this with a modern example, let us look to North Korea. North Korea now has nuclear weapons which deters any retaliatory action from South Korea or Japan. North Korea sunk South Korean submarines and shelled an island with no effective response against it. Recently North Korea attempted to assassinate the South Korean Defense Minister. South Korea fears North Korean escalation which makes all South Korean responses moot. Now in reference to the Middle East, Hezbollah and Hamas would have a nuclear umbrella to work under while they systematically attempt to diminish Israeli and US influence in the region.

Third, if my opponent’s rational calculus argument was valid then it would imply that Iran would not currently be acquiring nuclear weapons. Economically Iran has been crushed under sanctions – its currency is near worthless and inflation is rampant. This only makes the risk of popular discontent and revolution more likely, e.g. another Green Movement. In terms of regime survival everyday Iran risks a military strike from Israel or the US. However, Iran knows that once it reaches the blur point (where it is unknown whether Iran has the capability for a bomb or not) then they are untouchable. [3]

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com...

Fourth, it wouldn’t be as simple as my opponent makes it seem. As mentioned by my opponent there are many countries, even non-stable countries with nuclear weapons. The US intelligence agency couldn’t tell us how radicalized the FLA in Libya was and yet he expects us to know exactly where nuclear material came from. If Iran sent over an ICBM then yes it would be pretty obvious, however a van with nuclear material inside would be much harder to track back to its beginning source. Who knows? It might have come from Pakistan or North Korea.

3) Regional arms race

My opponent argues that Saudi Arabia needs only to seek US military aid and presence to counter the Iranian threat. My opponent makes the mistake of saying it is just one person in the regime – true but it is one of the heads of the military and Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service. But more importantly, the existence of US conventional military forces cannot counter-balance a nuclear Iran. A nuclear umbrella would have been created over the Middle East and Saudi Arabia which means that any seemingly aggressive US counter-balancing could be viewed as a threat to Iran. The example of Iraq is a false comparison because Saddam was threatening with conventional forces and their nuclear ambitions were low and not nearly as advanced as the current Iranian nuclear system.

Moreover, Iranian nuclear capabilities offsets the current quasi-balance in the Middle East – Turkey/Saudi Arabia balances Iran. From a geopolitical and geostrategic standpoint Saudi Arabia and Turkey, even with US assistance could not compete with a nuclear Iran.

Round 1 Links

Sorry about that, I will use up characters here to compensate:

http://homeland.house.gov...

http://abcnews.go.com...

http://www.irantracker.org...

http://www.irantracker.org...

http://www.guardian.co.uk...

imabench

Con

1) Existential Threat

"First, we did try and prevent North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons using strict sanctions."

Yeah and that didnt work.... Sanctions never work in preventing nations from obtaining nukes, and the only way the US could prevent Iran from obtaining nukes is if we invade them. We can all agree that such a war would be costly, deadly, and last years... Plus it would do horrendous damage to the US's credibility in the region and maybe push other enemies to pursue nuclear arms as well, and also possibly destabilize the MIddle East, which is really something the US doesnt need.

The US is basically with picking the lesser of two evils. We can let Iran have a nuke, or we can invade them and fund another horrendously costly war that could destabilize the entire Middle East that much faster.

"Another problem with my opponent’s argument is that it fails to understand the strategic importance of Iran’s spying. It is not just the simple fact that there are Iranian spies, but rather what Iran is spying on. The evidence indicates areas of strategic economic and civilian populations."

I understand why it is concerning, but there are dozens of motives of why exactly they are spying on these particular areas, and even though nuclear targeting could be one of them, the fact that Iran lacks any means of landing a nuke even close to these areas could imply that other motives are afoot. The US has always been spying around cities like Tehran and heavily populated areas in Iran, hell just last year 11 CIA agents were caught doing the same thing in Iran, but it doesnt mean the US is planning on nuking these areas. There are dozens of reasons why Iran could be spying on these areas.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

2) Iran + Terrorism

"Moreover, Al Qaeda has expressed the desire to use a nuclear weapon if it had access to one – but due to Pakistani restricted access (they are an ally) Al Qaeda has failed to acquire one."

Thats another thing I wanted to bring up. How can terrorists steal an Iranian nuke exactly? If Iran can afford to build a nuke from scratch and maintain a strong standing army they can certainly afford to protect it with dozens of guards, tanks, and anything else they need. Al-Qaeda also is struggling to even recruit new members in some countries so it cant be concluded that Al-Qaeda has the strength to steal a nuke from a highly protected Iranian nuclear facility.

"My opponent’s first justification is that Iran hasn’t given terrorist groups airplanes."

The airplanes were just an example. The point was that Iran does give funds and training to terrorists, but they never give them some actual hardware they could use to cause some real damage. Therefore it can be concluded that Iran would never give up an expensive nuke to terrorists when they wont even give them anything even remotely harmful.

"First, the level of Iranian nuclear security is unknown at this point. US policy cannot rule out the potential for nuclear theft by organizations like Al Qaeda.... If at any point Al Qaeda believes that its interests are better served from stealing nuclear material from an Iranian nuclear facility then there is nothing ideological preventing this from occurring. Al Qaeda would easily have the ability to leverage its hold on nuclear material as a chip against Iran."

Just because we dont know the exact amount of security they have it doesnt mean that its non-existant. Given that Iran is ranked 8th in the world in active military personnel with 500,000, I think its safe to assume these nuclear facilities are well guarded too.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

If you dont like wikipedia, Iran was ranked 12th in the world in terms of global firepower.

http://www.globalfirepower.com...
http://www.globalfirepower.com...

Furthermore, Al-Qaeda couldnt afford to attack one of the last countries that offers them sanctuary just for a chance to gain access to nukes, it would be suicide for them. Plus if god forbid they did manage to steal a nuke, they are still stuck in Iran, they wouldnt be able to go anywhere with it.

"the other indirect harm which occurs is Iran’s nuclear umbrella which allows freedom of movement and activity for Iran and terror groups..... Hezbollah and Hamas would have a nuclear umbrella to work under while they systematically attempt to diminish Israeli and US influence in the region."

The argument the Pro is making is with nuclear arms, terrorists can be bolder in their plans and not fear retaliation from the US or Israel because of Irans nuke. The thing is though, terrorist groups and other belligerent organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah arent centered in Iran. Hamas operates out of the Gaza strip in Israel and Hezbollah is centered in Lebanon. These organizations do not operate out of Iran or answer directly to Iran, so Iran is not obligated to put its existence on the line for these organizations meaning that there isnt necessarily a nuclear umbrella for terrorists to operate throughout the Middle east unopposed, they can only operate within Iran unopposed.

Let me put it this way, If the US kills a terrorist in Yemen, it not Irans problem because Iran as a nation was not violated in any way, the organizations they are sympathetic to were, but Iran itself was not. In this case Iran doesnt necessarily have to threaten nuclear retaliation for actions taken in Yemen. On the other hand, if the US kills a terrorist in Iran, THEN Iran as a nation has been attacked or violated, and then Iran would threaten nuclear retaliation.

"Third, if my opponent’s rational calculus argument was valid then it would imply that Iran would not currently be acquiring nuclear weapons"

What calculus argument are you talking about??

"Iran knows that once it reaches the blur point (where it is unknown whether Iran has the capability for a bomb or not) then they are untouchable"

But we know that Iran does have such a capability.

"If Iran sent over an ICBM then yes it would be pretty obvious, however a van with nuclear material inside would be much harder to track back to its beginning source. Who knows? It might have come from Pakistan or North Korea. "

So why then invade only Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons when terrorists have numerous other countries to get nuclear material from to use against the US? If nuclear material can come from any number of places that terrorists could aqcuire, why invade iran to eliminate just one potential source when so many others already exist?

3 - Regional arms race

"My opponent makes the mistake of saying it is just one person in the regime – true but it is one of the heads of the military and Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service"

So what? Obama is the damn president and he said he was committed to $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but that didnt frickin work out now did it? Politicians make all kinds of claims in what a country would do in response to a situation, but there is never any guarantee that those alleged responses will indeed become government policy, and the same goes for Saudi Arabia and this one government official.

"A nuclear umbrella would have been created over the Middle East and Saudi Arabia which means that any seemingly aggressive US counter-balancing could be viewed as a threat to Iran"

This nuclear umbrella only exists over terrorist activity in Iran, not foreign policy decisions made by the Saudis. But if Iran feels threatened by the US presence in Saudi Arabia they would hide behind their nuke and threaten not to do anything fishy, they wouldnt use it on us or nuke the country home to Islam itself.

An Iranian nuke's sole purpose would be to be used as a bargaining chip to get the US to stop messing around in the Middle Eas so much, not to be eventually used against a US city itself.

Debate Round No. 3
CiRrK

Pro

C1: Existential Threat

My opponent seems to be shifting the argument away from what it originally was. His original argument was that the US did not have to fear an Iranian nuke since other nations have nukes as well. The argument now is that a war would be costly. Seeing as though this is the last round, and he did not give any actual justifications for such a claim, his argument becomes moot. However, I would contend that his logic is flawed regardless of lacking any evidence:

1) Our military action is not to depose of a regime, it is to knock out nuclear facilities. Thus comparing it to Iraq of Afghanistan is a false comparison.

2) My opponent assumes escalation, but I would argue that, as implied by my opponent’s reasoning (that the regime would be careful not to use nukes because it would threaten their survival) the regime would not escalate the conflict because that would force higher retaliatory actions by the US and Israel.
y opponent says he understands the concerns but since Iran lacks a way to land a nuke, our concerns our misguided. As mentioned before, the main short term fear is a low-grade transportable device, not the use of an ICBM. Moreover, he says that the US has been spying on Iran and they don’t need to fear us…yes they do, we might attack them.

My opponent concedes all his other examples in this argument (since drops are concessions): China, USSR and Pakistan.

C2: Iran + Terrorism

My opponent asserts some dramatic claims here: like Al Qaeda is lacking recruitment. He provides no evidence so at this point don’t accept it. However, if you think intuitively it is correct then keep in mind that Al Qaeda has many sanctuaries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mali and Somalia.


My opponent argues that Iran will protect these nuclear weapons. Again, he lacks prior knowledge of the nuclear smuggling chain and that thefts have occurred in the past. Whereas Pakistan is an ally and depends on the US for internal security, Iran does not. There are many systematic flaws which make theft possible in Iran: (1) bribes and corruption amongst the Revolutionary Guard, (2) ideological hate of Israel and the West, (3) holes in transportation security and (4) political rivalries among the ruling clerics [some are more sympathetic to radicals than others] and (5) just the existence of protection does not mitigate attempts by Al Qaeda to gain a nuclear weapon. In essence the world right now is dangerous yes, but my opponent’s world is much more dangerous. It is giving Al Qaeda another option to pursue nuclear theft.

-1- My opponent misunderstands the general argument being made about terrorist MO. Of course Iran hasn’t provided large conventional forces like tanks, but nuclear material would not be encompassed within this category. Nuclear material is transportable and equates with a terrorist MO. For example, van suicide bomb – instead of just conventional explosives, traces of nuclear material can be added. This is called a dirty bomb. Even though it might not have the impact of an actual nuclear warhead, the traces of radioactive material seep into the environment covering a large radius. This is much more dangerous in urban centers, like NY or DC.


My opponent says Al Qaeda wouldn’t dare attack one of its sanctuary states. Sure, but that’s not my argument.

1) Al Qaeda is dispersed among many nations, not just Iran.
2) Al Qaeda wouldn’t attack Iran, it would simply divert its nuclear materials to make it hard to trace back to Iran.

-2-My opponent argues that my nuclear umbrella argument does not apply to groups operating outside Iran, like Hezbollah and Hamas. 1) This ignores the argument that Al Qaeda does indeed have sanctuary which means US retaliatory actions against this sect of Al Qaeda will be close to impossible. So even if I don’t gain ground on Hamas and Hezbollah, I still win the link to the group which is the greatest threat to US national security. 2) Your argument assumes that both sides trust each other. This just isn’t the case – on the contrary both sides distrust and detest each other. Iran is the biggest state supporter of terrorism, and has backed the actions of both Hezbollah and Hamas. As indicated by the evidence from the first round, Iran facilitates the sale and transfer of arms to Hezbollah and Hamas in Iran or Iranian allies like Syria. Disruption of these types of actions become much more difficult when Iran has both nuclear material and midrange missiles.

My opponent asks what calculus was he using. The calculus is this: “This would quickly bring about the demise of those in power, so the leaders of iran have no incentive to put their state of rule in jeopardy..."
Essentially the calculus assumes that Iran prioritizes regime survival as top priority. If this is true, and my opponent’s argument relies on it then Iran shouldn’t be proliferating because the very risk of US escalation threatens regime survival. Moreover, the economic harm created by our sanctions have spurred economic protests and green movements throughout Iran – again a threat to regime survival. But since his question wasn’t an argument, you can count it as a concessions since he cannot respond to it in the last round.

My opponent argues on the blur point that Iran has that capability. At this point it does not, which is why action now must be taken. We know that Iran is proliferating nuclear material but it is yet at that point to be an effective nuclear weapon.

My opponent responds to the dirty bomb argument and the difficulty of tracking it by saying that terrorists can get it elsewhere. He misses the point. As I brought up in C1, it would be very difficult for terrorists to get nuclear weapons from those other sites, but not impossible. Adding Iran to the equation makes it more probable that terrorist groups can obtain nuclear material. Iran could easily deny nuclear theft and bog us down in the UN, and blame Pakistan or someone else.

C3: Regional arms race

My opponent argument against the Saudi Official is that Obama promoted debt reduction. As interesting as an argument that is the President can only go so far with those types of issues. Congress is vested with the authority in that realm. A more accurate example would be Leon Panetta coming out and saying that the DoD has allocated more funding for modernizing our nuclear weapons stockpile. Yes, I think we would take Panetta seriously. But moreover, the very threat of a nuclear arms race is what matters. It would be like dominos…fear escalates to more fear. The US cannot risk a Middle East in the midst of an arms race between two competing political and ideological states. That just exacerbates the link to terrorism because then instead of just having the potential for nuclear theft in Iran, then add to the mix Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and maybe even Egypt.

Weighing

How does one vote on these many competing claims? Unfortunately for my opponent the only true argument he has which gives reason for non-intervention is the risk of escalation, but that only appeared in this round not giving me the ability to respond with evidence just analytics.

The question then becomes are the potential harms large enough to spur action? I believe they are. A world with a nuclear Iran increases the chances of nuclear terrorism by adding another country to the list of states with nuclear weapons, an enemy state at that. We know that a potential for even more nuclear states through an arms race exacerbates this very harm. Iran has attempted foolish actions in the past, like trying to assassinate the Saudi diplomat on our own soil. As indicated above, escalation is unlikely using the very logic of my opponent. As such, action is on balance more preferable because we mitigate high magnitude risks with little chance of high escalatory and operational risks.

Sources: Vote Pro for sources. In all rounds I used thinktank or scholarly sources. My opponent used Wikipedia and non-professionally reviewed articles.

imabench

Con

1) Existential threat

"The argument now is that a war would be costly. Seeing as though this is the last round, and he did not give any actual justifications for such a claim, his argument becomes moot."

It was part of a different argument which is why I couldnt go very deep into it in the first place but if you wanted sources to show that a war with Iran would be costly, then here.

http://www.aljazeera.com...
http://www.cbsnews.com...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

"Our military action is not to depose of a regime, it is to knock out nuclear facilities. Thus comparing it to Iraq of Afghanistan is a false comparison."

If we knock out their nuclear facilities, it would be an act of war committed by the US against Iran, they would then retaliate by declaring war against the US (and probably Israel) and then all hell would break loose. Iran wouldnt just let us bomb the facilities they have sunk billions of dollars into and not retaliate.

"My opponent assumes escalation, but I would argue that, as implied by my opponent’s reasoning, the regime would not escalate the conflict because that would force higher retaliatory actions by the US and Israel."

That was referring to Iran starting a war by using the nuke. In this scenario the US has attacked a rogue nation with a large military that is without a nuke. This is a completely different scenario and an act of war like this would cause Iran to retaliate against us.

"As mentioned before, the main short term fear is a low-grade transportable device, not the use of an ICBM."

So wait, now the whole reason we are to commit a blatant act of war against Iran is to prevent the nuclear material from being stolen or given to terrorists who would then smuggle it into the US and detonate it for them? The same thing could happen to any number of other nuclear countries! Why do they get to be spared while Iran must be attacked?

2) Iran + Terrorism

"Al Qaeda is lacking recruitment. He provides no evidence so at this point don’t accept it"

Ask and you shall receive
http://www.guardian.co.uk...

"Al Qaeda has many sanctuaries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mali and Somalia."

And notice how that first one is also a nuclear nation, but we suddenly arent planning on attacking their nuclear facilities now are we?

" Again, he lacks prior knowledge of the nuclear smuggling chain and that thefts have occurred in the past."

Not once have terrorists ever stolen or built a nuclear weapon, not once.
http://www.nuclearterror.org...

"In essence the world right now is dangerous yes, but my opponent’s world is much more dangerous. It is giving Al Qaeda another option to pursue nuclear theft"

Al-Qaeda has had the option to pursue nuclear theft ever since Soviet Russia disintegrated and ever since Pakistan became a nuclear nation. If Al-Qaeda wanted nukes or nuclear material they have numerous other options outside Iran that have existed for decades now. Iran is not giving them THE option to get nuclear material, its is merely ANOTHER option. Theres a huge difference.

"This is called a dirty bomb. Even though it might not have the impact of an actual nuclear warhead, the traces of radioactive material seep into the environment covering a large radius. This is much more dangerous in urban centers, like NY or DC"

Dirty bombs can be created from material found just about anywhere in the world, not only from highly guarded Iranian nuclear facilities.

" Iran facilitates the sale and transfer of arms to Hezbollah and Hamas in Iran or Iranian allies like Syria. Disruption of these types of actions become much more difficult when Iran has both nuclear material and midrange missiles. "

Not necessarily, because we are not attacking Iran directly, which means that if they attacked the US for interfering with Hamas or somebody else, then it would be Iran initiating the act of war against the US, not the other way around.

A nuclear Iran doesnt make Iran more inclined to attack the US, the nuke is used as the ultimate deterrent against the US or Israel to attack Iran directly.

"Essentially the calculus assumes that Iran prioritizes regime survival as top priority. If this is true, and my opponent’s argument relies on it then Iran shouldn’t be proliferating because the very risk of US escalation threatens regime survival"

If they use the nuke to attack somebody else, THEN they are dooming themselves. The act of building the nuke itself and using it only to deter an outside attack does not risk their destruction, it reinforces the survival of the regime.

"Moreover, the economic harm created by our sanctions have spurred economic protests and green movements throughout Iran – again a threat to regime survival"

The Iranian regime has survived decades despite economic sanctions levied against them. Iran can survive turmoil from within much better then they could survive an attack from the US.

"But since his question wasn’t an argument, you can count it as a concessions since he cannot respond to it in the last round"

Dont penalize me for not being able to respond to your arguments just because you formatted it in a ridiculous way that it was impossible to even know what your argument was in the first place.

"My opponent argues on the blur point that Iran has that capability. At this point it does not, which is why action now must be taken"

Thats funny, you yourself said that Iran DOES have the capability.

"A strawman argument against intervention is that Iran is incapable at this time to create a functioning warhead and ballistic missile needed to strike Israel. I will refute the capability fact later" - Round 2

You yourself claimed that Iran does have nuclear capability, so then by your own logic the time to take action against Iran has already passed since they do have the capability for nuclear missiles, which you stated in round 2.

Dammit im almost out of characters, let me summarize my points.

Reasons we should not invade Iran (that I gave prior to this round):

1) There are many other nations just as unstable as Iran who have nukes and nuclear material that Al-Qaeda could steal from. Iran isnt the only option Al-Qaeda has, so to invade them and nobody else would only eliminate one minor option Al-Qaeda has to get nuclear material
2) The likelihood that Al-Qaeda could steal a nuke from a country with one of the most powerful military's in the world (Iran) is slim to none
3) If the US attacked Iran, the conflict would surely escalate into all out war and would be disastrous to US credibility in the region and to the US economy
4) Iran doesnt even have the capability to even attack the US directly with a nuke, the only threat is that terrorists might steal nuclear material from Iran, smuggle it in the US, and then use it as a dirty bomb. Why wage a costly billion dollar war against Iran when Al-Qaeda can get this material from literally anywhere else?
5) Iran is using this nuke to defend themselves from US aggression because they hate us and the US has had a long history of meddling in Iranian affairs for our own interests and not theirs.

I thank the Pro for a fun debate and I thank everyone for reading :D
Debate Round No. 4
44 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 3 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
First, let me point out the fact that a nuclear explosive is a TOOL. Like any other tool, it can be used, and it can be abused. Shall we ban pillows just because some people use them to smother to death other people? So, suppose all nuclear explosives were destroyed, and even the capacity for making them was destroyed. How would you feel if, shortly afterward, a giant asteroid was discovered to be on a collision course with Earth? "Better to have and not need, than to need and not have!"

So, given that there can exist situations in which ANY tool needs to exist, there remains the generic problem of attempting to prevent the mis-use of tools. The Resolution of this Debate assumes that Iran would mis-use nuclear explosives, if it obtained them. Perhaps, and perhaps not....

I'm not going to comment on either the Resolution or the built-in assumption. Instead I'd merely like to mention something about "implementation". If some agency wanted to do something to actively prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear explosives, then what might be the most horribly effective method? How about, "smuggle a nuclear explosive into Iran's uranium enrichment facilities, and set it off..." ?
Posted by Kerb 3 years ago
Kerb
Terrorist is a word thrown around an awful lot but the American government is never branded as terrorists. For me if America can have Nuclear then they are in no position to prevent others from having them. If they don't like the threat of nuclear weapons destroy them all.
Posted by babyy 4 years ago
babyy
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Posted by Aned 4 years ago
Aned
No country should have nuclear bombs, period. I do not share that mentality that "Bombs do not kill people, people kill people."

Those bombs kill many innocent people, including children. Even now Japan is still having repercussions of our bombing them.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
Why do you capitalize every word?
Posted by danny56 4 years ago
danny56
The Talk Of Iran Having Or On Their Way To Nuclear Weapons Has Been Going On A Long,Long Time But i Have Yet To Hear Anybody Produce Any Evidence Of Any Kind That They Are On Their Way Or Even Close To Having A Nuclear Bomb And i Do Understand How Hard it Might Be To Produce Any Evidence Of That But All i Have Heard is Just "Talk" Of Iran On Their Way To A Nuclear Bomb But Definitely Not Any Evidence And The People Who Desire And Want War Definitely Will Keep The "Talk" Of Iran On Their Way To Having A Nuclear Bomb!
Posted by senyu 4 years ago
senyu
I do beleive China has openly stated that they are not hesitant on starting another world war to defend Iran. And also Russia has similar policies.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
Its been a while since I got a debate with 20+ likes. I may just have to favorite this
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
It was a great debate. :D
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
Now that this got more votes. I am happy.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
CiRrKimabenchTied
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: Con convinced me that there was very little risk of Iran launching a direct attack, and that there was little that America could do to prevent Iran gaining nuclear materials. Con's strongest argument was that Iran could provide terrorists with dirty bombs, but he didn't convince me that there was a high risk of this happening, or that there was a high risk of nuclear material being stolen. Better sourcing/grammar and structure from Pro.
Vote Placed by ceruleanpolymer 4 years ago
ceruleanpolymer
CiRrKimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro won on the nuclear umbrella argument. Even if Hezbollah or Hamas do not get the whole benefit of the umbrella, Al Qaeda in Iran certain does and they are the biggest threat to US national security as far as terror groups are concerned.
Vote Placed by Rayze 4 years ago
Rayze
CiRrKimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Check comment for reasons.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
CiRrKimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't get the point of Con's history of how nutcases came to power in Iran; they are there. Pro's source credibly established that Iran has n fact provided arms to terrorists; there is no logic in supposing that money to buy arms is less damaging than providing arms directly. The logic behind the Saudi's needing to get a nuke is clear. Con's best argument is that Pakistan and North Korea have been contained. It's a strong argument, but Iran's active aid of terrorism make them more dangerous.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
CiRrKimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering "Like_a_Boss" for his arguments point until he explains *why* Pro's arguments were better. Merely saying they were better is not a valid justification for voting Pro on args.
Vote Placed by Like_a_Boss 4 years ago
Like_a_Boss
CiRrKimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I cast my votes on arguments and sources to Pro because his were better. The Con used Wikipedia and other unreliable sources. I tied on conduct and grammer because they were both to par and there wasn't much difference between them.