Critics of the theocracy in Tehran tend to cast that outcome as a nightmare scenario.
But neither diplomacy nor covert action nor the threat of military force has done much to slow Iran’s march toward the bomb, much less stop it.
There is little doubt that Tehran, building on decades of illicit research and production, could quickly enrich enough uranium to test a nuclear device.
Soon after the Iranians test a nuclear weapon, there will be much handwringing and finger-pointing.
Washington would have to put Tehran on notice that it would be held responsible for any use or transfer of its new weapons.
And just as an Iranian bomb would solidify an anti-regime consensus in Washington, so, too, would it fortify opposition to the mullahs at home.
As such, it would probably focus on internal economic development, mending fences with the international community, and acceding to global norms. »