What would the world look like under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear arsenal? Does Iran seek nuclear capability merely as an instrument of dissuasion against what it sees as powerful and threatening enemies? Or is the bomb an instrument to fulfil Iran's hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East? Can Iran be deterred much like the Soviet Union was?
To understand Iran's goals, we must grasp the nature of Iran's regime.
Thirty years after its Revolution, the Islamic Republic remains devoted to its founding ideals - not just the establishment of an Islamic order inside Iran, but also its export to the region, in open antagonism with the established Sunni Arab powers, and beyond, in the name of a Shia brand of anti-Western revolutionary zeal. Iran's revolutionary worldview poses a direct challenge to Sunni dominance in the Islamic world and Sunni monarchic rule in the heartland of Islam - Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni monarchies of the Gulf. It proclaims Iranian leadership in a worldwide front of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist forces and it seeks to limit or nullify the influence of its enemies in the region and beyond. The new world that Iran seeks to create will be dominated by Tehran. It will be characterised by fierce competition with the US for hegemony over the Gulf and by efforts to cement alliances to confront Iran's ideological antagonists: America and Israel.