David Ignatius: 'The Biggest Danger' of Iran Deal Is It Will Start a Middle East Arms Race

March 31, 2015

If Iran is allowed to continue its nuclear program or is seen to have scored a good deal, it will set off an arms race in the Middle East, according to a Washington Post report.

The Post’s David Ignatius said the most frightening consequence of the U.S. engaging in talks with Iran is that it will set a precedent that other Sunni Arab countries will want to emulate.

"I think that the biggest danger of this deal, Joe, is that it will set off an arms race by Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, each of which will want to get the exact same deal Iran has," Ignatius said.

On Monday, the Saudi Arabian ambassador told news outlets that Saudi Arabia will do whatever it takes to protects its people and refused to rule out their own pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Every country has to look out for its own interest, and we have to protect our people and do whatever it take to do so, and we have to assess the threat and make a decision on how we're going to deal with it," Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said.

Another concern is the Egyptian government, which the Obama administration has given the cold shoulder. The White House has given Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a shaky alliance following decades of strong relations and Russia has stepped in where the U.S. has backed off.

Putin and el-Sisi have visited each other multiple times and agreed to an Egyptian nuclear power plant deal in February.

Many called the deal a clear signal of fraying relations of the U.S., and a disturbing, if not alarming, sign that Egypt is moving closer to the Kremlin. If Iran is allowed to keep its nuclear ambitions, the country may pursue bomb production.

Ignatius said that if it is not evident that the deal completely halts Iran’s nuclear capabilities then the already chaotic region filled with complicated political turmoil and war will only get worse.

"You think it’s dangerous now, just wait."