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Should Iran be allowed Nuclear Weapons?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,512 times Debate No: 60576
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (1)




Should Iran have Nuclear Weapons?

(I am new to the website, so I apologize in advance if I do something wrong)


It appears that round 1 is used for accepting the debate. Typically, the pro side begins the debate. I will gladly accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Before we start, I'd like to point out that this turned into a debate about a topic rather than 1 specific question.

I'm not actually ready for this, but OK, let's do this.

Firstly, there isn't any proof that Iran is actually building Nuclear Weapons.
US Intelligence, e.g.
(1), suggests that Iran hasn't built any warheads, although it also suggests research has been done into it. In fact, Iran launched a nuclear weapons program in the 1950s, under the guidance of the US, UK and France, as part of the Atoms for Peace program (2) (3).
This is symbolic of the irony that fills the shambles of the US' attempts to stop Iranian nuclear weapons research.
After the revolution in 1979, the leader of the revolution and founder of the corrupt government of today, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini disbanded the nuclear weapons research program, because he believed it was against the ethics of Islam.
The current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei generally has similar ideologies to his predecessor, and as shown in (2), he says: "owning a nuclear weapon is a big sin." and goes onto suggest that Iran only wants peaceful nuclear energy.

In addition to this, Iran have stated that they don't think that nuclear weapons would be beneficial to Iran (4), pointing out that Iran is content with or afraid of all its neighbors, as well as the fact that they have called for a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East several times (in 1974, 2006 and 2008). In the same article, Salehi points out that progress shouldn't be stopped, just because one day something bad might be developed.

Iranians have clarified that they can enrich up to 100%, but haven't done so, because they don't need to (5). It's entirely possible that the government is lying (wouldn't surprise me at all), but if that was the case, it wouldn't make sense that they are saying that it's against their religion publicly, especially considering the value of religion in a state called the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran has a right to build nuclear weapons. Just like many other countries, including the US and Israel, have nukes, Iran should have the right to build nukes. It should definitely have the right to have nuclear energy. Most civilians in the surrounding Arab countries "believe that Iran has the right to its nuclear program"
Many Iranians would like both nuclear weapons and energy, but not at the price of the crippling sanctions imposed upon them.

When researching this subject, I was truly shocked by what the Iranian government had accepted to do. This is a state run by someone who has little trust of the US (an opinion I can understand).
The Iranian government has repeatedly made compromise offers to place strict limits on its nuclear program beyond what the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Additional Protocol legally require of Iran, in order to ensure that the program cannot be secretly diverted to the manufacture of weapons.
These offers include operating Iran's nuclear program as an international consortium, with the full participation of foreign governments, matching a proposed solution put forth by an IAEA expert committee that was investigating the risk that civilian nuclear technologies could be used to make bombs. More recently, the Iranians have reportedly also offered to operate uranium centrifuges that automatically self-destruct if they are used to enrich uranium beyond what is required for civilian purposes.

I'm not saying Iranians are all angels. There have been breaches of treaties and agreements, and things which have been hidden. However, when Iran has breached regulations, it has generally made up for it.

It's unfair that so much pressure is focused onto Iran when the US ignores Israel's policy of deliberate ambiguity regarding its nuclear weapons program. Indeed, both Israel and nearby Pakistan have never even joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran is expected to go above and beyond of. Remember what I was saying about irony and shambles? The US shouldn't bully Iran over its nuclear research, unless it's doing exactly the same to its buddy Israel and to Pakistan, which has such strong connections to the Taliban.

Iran would not use Nuclear Weapons if it had them. No competent state uses weapons without thinking of the consequences for their country. Despite claims that Iran wants to wipe Israel off the face of the planet, I doubt any Iranian leader would be suicidal enough to actually use the nukes, for fear of a much greater number of nukes coming its way from the US and other nations. If they actually do want nukes, then I would think that they would only use them for 2 things: firstly, for national pride and power and secondly, to wave about like lunatics in order to gain a diplomatic advantage.

The 1000-year Muslim Empire? There are legitimate concerns that Iran (similar to WW2 Germany) wants to spread Islam around the world by any means necessary. This would eliminate my argument that Iran wouldn't use nuclear weapons even if it did have any. However, there are indications that Iran is simply run by a dictatorship which is ruthless in keeping its control of the country, rather than a terrorist organization. There is currently no way of knowing the true intentions of the government, unless international intelligence finds something.

The way that the US has handled the negotiations is more of the same shambles. Why is this not over already? Well, firstly, the government has very little trust of the US. International access will be limited as long as relations are the same. Iraq was invaded on the grounds that it held weapons of mass destruction, which was then proved to be false. Many Iranians believe that the US is using the same excuse to rid itself of the problem that Iran has been since the revolution.

During this round, I mention the US a lot, because it’s the biggest player in this game, but this is not just the US. The 5 permanent members of the UN and Germany (otherwise known as P5+1) are all in this together. The P5+1 have repeatedly called for Iran to stop enriching uranium all together. The Iranians, a proud race, refused to buckle under sanctions and carried on. Only when public unrest got to really dangerous levels did the government fold. This really only worsened relations between the US and Iran.

As mentioned earlier, the Iranians have (as they call it) a "right to enrich". Enrichment of uranium doesn't necessarily mean a nuke. Instead of acknowledging this, the P5+1 have just carried on putting more and more financial pressure on Iranian civilians. As a result, the negotiations have gone nowhere. The P5+1 have to accept that Iran has a right to enrich uranium, and instead of childishly spamming the same action, work with the Iranians to make sure that they can't covertly build nukes. At a time when the Middle East is falling apart, Iran could well be the key for the P5+1 to save the region.

More irony, more shambles. In (4), a former US official says: "No matter how many times Iran signs the additional protocol, we will keep up our pressure until Iran yields to a political détente." This is not only unfair, but hugely ironic. If the US relaxes its choke-hold on Iran, by lifting sanctions and allowing uranium enrichment under strict conditions, it will lead to better relations between them – which is exactly what a détente is. By blindly pursing the same path and hoping for different results, the P5+1 is getting absolutely nowhere.

I've tried to outline my findings and opinions as coherently as possible. I am doing this as practise for a speech, in which I will be arguing both sides of the argument. I'd appreciate any tips you could give me, and once again, I apologise that the debate turned into one about a topic rather than the question. I hope that the hyperlinks work. Lastly, I used Wikipedia extensively for this, and I cite that I have.



Jellon forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


(I saw this somewhere else on another debate so I believe this is what you have to write when the other person forfeits.)

I give my opponent more time to respond.


Thank you for forgiving me accidental forfeit.

First I would like to address the topic of this debate at a high level: Should Iran be allowed Nuclear Weapons. In order to define what "should" and "should not" occur, let us assume to agree on common moral principles. Let us agree that Initiating bloodshed, or the attempt there of, is immoral unless ones survival depends on it. Assuming an absolute standard of morality exists, this may not be the correct moral standard, but for purposes of this debate, we must agree to something. This provides a reasonable standard and does not contradict the standard proposed by atheist Sam Harris (1).

Pro has admitted to Iran's history of misrepresenting the truth.
"I'm not saying Iranians are all angels. There have been breaches of treaties and agreements, and things which have been hidden. However, when Iran has breached regulations, it has generally made up for it."
Similar comments have been made by Pro suggesting that Iran should not be considered trustworthy. Pro gave references to interviews with Iranian representatives claiming that they are not interested in nuclear weapons, but these references do not provide evidence that Iran is telling the truth. His links were 2 and 3.

Pro: "US Intelligence, e.g. (1), suggests that Iran hasn't built any warheads, although it also suggests research has been done into it. In fact, Iran launched a nuclear weapons program in the 1950s, under the guidance of the US, UK and France, as part of the Atoms for Peace program (2) (3)."
Again, the references Pro provided showed that the countries listed were aiding Iran in developing peaceful nuclear energy. In order for Iran to participate in the Atoms for Peace program, they were required to promise not to develop nuclear weapons, which Pro claims in that same quote that they were attempting to do. If our intelligence shows that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons, but it says it isn't, then we have even less reason to trust them. It doesn't help their case that they are not cooperating with basically anyone in regard to proving they are not trying to build nuclear weapons (2). This has been going on for years, but it wasn't until 2 days ago (after this very debate started) that Iran declared it was finally willing to cooperate with investigations into its nuclear program (3). In the past, Iran has been offered nuclear energy multiple times by multiple countries, but has rejected all the offers (9). But all I have shown is that Iran is likely lying about its desire for nuclear weapons, that does not directly show that they should not have them. So to be explicit, if Iran is lying about their desire for nuclear weapons, then they likely have something to hide. If they have something to hide, then it's probably not in the best interest of Iran's enemies. So I argue that if Iran feels it must lie about its nuclear weapon program, then it is likely a threat to peace in the world (which I will provide a positive argument for later) and thus they should not have nuclear weapons.

The official religion in Iran is Shia Islam (4). This shows how much power this sect of Islam has in the Iranian government. We also know that Shia Islam is waiting for the return of the 12th Imam (aka Mahdi). Iran has so much as said it is preparing for the return of Mahdi (5) (6) (7). Two of those sources are conservative Christian, but the last is CNN. This is an important point, because one of the prophecies that come before the return of Mahdi is that there will be death on such a large scale that, "rivers will flow with blood from the dead" (8). I will point out that the cited source comes from a Muslim.

So in conclusion, Iran has repeatedly shown itself to intentionally misrepresent the truth. It has repeatedly turned down offers from other nations to supply it with nuclear energy. It has broken contracts to start nuclear weapons research. It has lied about its nuclear weapons research. It has a religious ideology that desires to fulfill a prophecy about large scale death, and has publicly stated its intention to fulfill said prophecy. There is a mountain of evidence that Iran's nuclear weapons initiative is not a peaceful one. If we should have peace in the world, the evidence shows that Iran should not have nuclear weapons.

Debate Round No. 3


KhosroTheGreat forfeited this round.


So we both lost a round. Fair enough. I look forward to your rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 4


KhosroTheGreat forfeited this round.


I wanted to bring up the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but didn't get much of a chance to. Thought I'd mention it here.

Pro and I agree that Iran should be allowed nuclear power if they so choose. Given the arguments presented, please vote on whether or not you believe Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons. It would be nice if you provide who you sided with before and after.
Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jellon 3 years ago
Oh, you gave one of your answers in a comment instead of in the debate? i missed it
Posted by KhosroTheGreat 3 years ago
In the long comment, I essentially dismiss your argument in round 3 (it's a rebuttal to round 3, so you can't have rebutted in round 3) which was the government wants to cause chaos for the return of Madhi, which I argue to be false in the long comment (It's a comment not a round answer - the one starting with "HOLD YOUR HORSES!"). I'd appreciate if you could rebut or accept that your argument is false.

Thank you for accepting my debate in the first place, Jellon. You made this a fun debate.
Posted by Jellon 3 years ago
Yes, I gave my rebuttals in round 3.
Posted by KhosroTheGreat 3 years ago
I apologize I missed the round. But did you have any rebuttals to what I said in my previous comment (the long one)?
Posted by Jellon 3 years ago
It's your round. Post what you want.
Posted by KhosroTheGreat 3 years ago
Should I post the below arguments as my answer to round 5?
Posted by KhosroTheGreat 3 years ago
HOLD YOUR HORSES! I had accepted your argument, UNTIL I had a look at your sources (Sources 5, 6 and 7). Not only do they not actually say anything about Ahmadinejad saying anything about causing chaos himself for Madhi (except for the CNN one, which doesn't quote or show any proof), they are all about a president which fell out with the Supreme Leader and is now replaced by a much friendlier, less conservative president Hassan Rouhani. One example of his desire for reform is him managing to convince the Supreme Leader to co-operate for the first time since this crisis (which you mentioned). Therefore, not only is your original statement that Iran wants to cause mass destruction for the coming of the 12th Imam wrong, and even if it was, it is several years old.

(Ahmadinejad talks about preparing for the 12th Imam and that the Imam will deliver ultimate justice. Note that he says nothing about preparing for the 12th Imam by causing the mass destruction, and also note that the Imam, not Iran, will deliver this justice.)

Additionally, Source no.6 was incredibly biased. I don't even need to explain myself - anyone who reads the source can see what I'm talking about.
Source 7 comes from an American news channel (bias), and claims that Khamenei (the Supreme Leader) and Ahmadinejad are of the view that the 12th Imam will come before 2013. It's 2014 now. Clearly, the Supreme Leader will have had to change his views if they were those. IN ADDITION, if Ahmadinejad believed that the 12th Imam would come before 2014, then why did he not have a nuke by that time? In fact, US Intelligence suggest they still don't have one. This suggests that Ahmadinejad did not believe he would nuke Israel to prepare for the Imam.
Posted by Jellon 3 years ago
I have yet to unload every argument in my arsenal. I never said is good for the US to have nukes. Seems to me it's Iran on trial here, not the US. In fact I take your point. If the US lying and what not shows that we shouldn't have them, then the same logic applies to Iran; they shouldn't either.
Given that my links show Iran leadership stating they are preparing for the return of Mahdi, and the requirements for Mahdi to return as proclaimed by the same sect of Islam, I'm most interested in how you will address the religious aspect of the country's intentions. At least the US has a secular government that is driven to protect people in the eye of the public. It would be hard to prove the same of Iran.
Posted by KhosroTheGreat 3 years ago
I missed my turn too XD, but I will attempt to put down a few things here.
"In order for Iran to participate in the Atoms for Peace program, they were required to promise not to develop nuclear weapons, which Pro claims in that same quote that they were attempting to do." - While this is true (it seems I made a mistake), the reference also notes that it is nuclear bomb-grade uranium (which I believe must be 90+% enriched). I also believe that the highest enrichment the Iranians have had is 20%, and the US made a massive ruckus about that. Seems ironic. When it is so concerned over 20% now, why was it supplying 90+% uranium for civilian uses? Considering this is the Cold War, the US most likely planned to use Iran as a Nuclear Base (like Turkey) (and Cuba for Russia) to threat the USSR with Nukes. There are many examples where the US has lied (e.g. Iraq and its non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Edward Snowden affair etc.), so I would argue the US is just as untrustworthy as Iran.

"In the past, Iran has been offered nuclear energy multiple times by multiple countries, but has rejected all the offers" - You underestimate how much the government wants to be independent. Why take others' nuclear energy when you can make your own?

However, at this moment in time, I don't have any counter to your argument Iran is untrustworthy, and has "a religious ideology that desires to fulfill a prophecy about large scale death, and has publicly stated its intention to fulfill said prophecy".

BUT! I do want to discuss other issues in the final few rounds.
I want to answer these questions:
Is Iran building Nuclear Weapons?
Does Iran even want to build Nuclear Weapons?
What has the UN does so far?
Has this been effective/the right thing to do?
What should the UN do now?

I would greatly apreciate it if you could help me.
With Many Thanks,
Posted by Jellon 3 years ago
24 hour response times... I hope you don't end up forfeiting by accident too.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited first, Pro was gracious about it but forfeited once more than Con. I'm just nulling it. As to arguments, though, Con presented the case that Iran would be dangerous with nuclear weapons, and that they would be likely to want to fulfill prophecies of destruction. Pro never responded to that point, because of the forfeits. That's a pretty compelling point to let stand--and made me give arguments to Con. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.