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A Lesson from History for Iranian Nuclear Weapons

Nowadays we constantly hear of the suggestion of a military strike on Iran due to their increasing nuclear development programme. I find it alarming that those who suggest such an aggressive action made a fatal mistake – they ignored history.

Fifty years ago, in October 1962, the world faced the biggest nuclear threat ever, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The situation will sound very familiar – two counties with diplomatic tension and nuclear weapons that reside too close for comfort. President Kennedy faced a decision to make – whether to take military action by invasion and/or airstrike, or to try to negotiate a diplomatic solution. Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense at the time continuously pushed for a diplomatic solution. He was also supported by the Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. There were multiple problems with a military strike, problems which apply to the current situation in Iran.
If there was to be an air strike is taken against Iran, this would be absolutely disastrous. First off all, we don’t even know where the uranium material is, which may I add has no missiles or containers to be put into. Therefore, where would even instruct pilots or drones to strike? Also, there is a blaringly obvious problem with an air strike that President Kennedy saw himself in the case of Cuba, where at least they had photographic evidence, which we do not have. There is no guarantee that even if we found the location of the nuclear materials that an air strike would obliterate all the uranium. Why would undergo an expensive, comprehensive, and dangerous aviation mission, with no definite location and without probable success?

The second military option that was available to President Kennedy was the idea of an invasion on Cuba. Again, Kennedy saw the fatal faults in such a concept. Where exactly would the invasion aim to attack? We are still unaware of the exact location of these nuclear material generators, so we are putting the army at extreme and unnecessary risk of failure and fatality. Secondly, Iran could see an invasion as an attack on their security and immediately launch nuclear weapons, if prepared to the certain extent, and the whole issue we have been trying to avoid will have been provoked by military action.

President Kennedy foresaw the mistakes with a military option, and instead followed a diplomatic solution. With a series of letters exchanged with Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, President Kennedy was able to arrange a trade to avoid a nuclear holocaust. Even when the Joint Chiefs of Staff advised Kennedy to use military force, JFK still stood his ground on a diplomatic solution. As JFK is a defining leader in history, we should follow his level-headed example.

It is often said that we must learn from the mistakes of history, but what isn’t said enough is the triumphs of history that we have so much to learn from. President Kennedy was able to negotiate a trade off with Khrushchev, and there is still a possibility available for a diplomatic solution to this problem with Iran. Netanyahu has said that when his red line is crossed of an uranium level of 90% in Iran, the risk would become intolerable for Isarel. But this level hasn’t been reached yet, and I beg of you to understand a peaceful resolution to this crisis that is attainable. Provoking military action will only aggravate the Iranian government, and result in nuclear war. If you don’t believe the words I have said about the dangers of nuclear war or any action that could spark nuclear war, trust the words of Nikita Khrushchev, a man who was almost responsible for the obliteration of the United States by means of nuclear weapons, “Only lunatics or suicides, who themselves want to perish and to destroy the whole world before they die, could do a nuclear war.”



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