As volatile conditions in the Middle East continue to unravel, we feel responsible to start this semester addressing an issue extremely important to both of our parties: the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

The Iranian threat goes far beyond the use of a warhead on American soil. If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, the tilted balance of power would initiate a nuclear arms race in the already-unstable Middle East region. According to the London Times, Saudi Arabia has stated they would seek nuclear capabilities if Iran were to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Not only does the development of nuclear weapons violate the international Non-Proliferation Treaty (which Iran signed), but it also poses an immediate and dangerous threat to the entire world.  Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism and it currently finances, arms and trains terrorist groups operating around the world. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s radical regime has virulently threatened the leaders of western civilization over the past few years. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, Ahmadinejad said, “at the end of the day, we are an anti-American regime. America is our enemy… Just like [our] movement destroyed the monarchical regime here, it will definitely destroy the arrogant rule of hegemony of America, Israel and their allies.” 

While today’s politics are tremendously partisan, both of our parties understand this threat’s magnitude. Over the past three years, Congress has passed comprehensive sanctions on Iran’s central bank, deterring Tehran from a very dangerous agenda.  Just last December, President Barack Obama signed off on bipartisan legislation that has helped to significantly deplete the Iranian economy.

Yet despite these strict measures, Iran continues to enrich uranium – the vital element used to construct nuclear bombs – against multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Iranian regime claims its nuclear facilities are for “civilian purposes,” but the global intelligence community is highly skeptical of these claims.  Even more frightening, former Chief of Israeli Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin said last week that the country could have a full nuclear capacity in six months, according to the Associated Press.

For these reasons, every American – whether Republican, Democrat or Independent – should view the idea of a nuclear Iran as a threat to our safety and wellbeing. The issue of Iran is not a partisan or polarizing issue; it is an American issue and an urgent one that must be addressed.

America and our global partners must continue to pressure Iran to interrupt their march towards acquiring nuclear weapons. As the timeline for potential action and diplomacy shrinks, it is crucial our world leaders remain vigilant in preventing Iran’s nuclear weapons program from progressing. We must take action together to prevent a very dangerous and unstable regime from getting its hands on the world’s most dangerous weapons.

Chris Hoffman ([email protected]) is chair of the UW College Democrats.

Jeff Snow ([email protected]) is chair of the UW College Republicans.