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Debates
September 27, 2006
We Must Tolerate a Nuclear Iran

There is no doubt that a nuclear Iran would be a danger to the United States and its allies. But would the costs of going to war outweigh the costs of tolerating a nuclear Iran?  And is diplomacy without the threat of military force ineffective? 

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Winner

Undecided
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For The Motion
Pre-Debate
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0 %
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Undecided
Breakdown
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
0% - Remained Undecided
Against The Motion
0% - Remained For the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
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For The Motion
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Post-Debate
Winner

For The Motion
33 %
67 %
Against The Motion
0 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
Against The Motion
33 %
33 %
For The Motion
33 %
Undecided
Breakdown
For The Motion
0% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Remained For the For Side
33% - Swung From Undecided
Against The Motion
33% - Remained For the Against Side
33% - Swung From the For Side
0% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
0% - Remained Undecided
About The Debaters
For The Motion
An image of George Perkovich
George Perkovich − Vice president for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC.
George is an expert in US foreign policy, non-proliferation, security, global governance, non-governmental actors,... read bio
An image of Karim Sadjadpour
Karim Sadjadpour − International Crisis Group's Iran Analyst
Karim Sadjadpour is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. He joined Carnegie after four years as the chief... read bio
An image of Sanam Vakil
Sanam Vakil − Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
Sanam is a former research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations' Iran Project and served as a consultant... read bio
Against The Motion
An image of Patrick Clawson
Patrick Clawson − Deputy Director for Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, DC.
Patrick's previous positions include five years as senior research professor at the National Defense University's... read bio
An image of Reuel Marc Gerecht
Reuel Marc Gerecht − Senior Fellow, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies & Fmr. CIA Case Officer
Reuel Marc Gerecht is a former case officer for the CIA, where he served as a Middle Eastern targets officer with... read bio
An image of William Kristol
William Kristol − Editor of the influential Washington-based political magazine, the Weekly Standard
Kristol is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading political analysts and commentators, Kristol regularly... read bio
Main Points
For The Motion
  • In the interest of self-preservation, Iran is unlikely to engage in unprovoked nuclear warfare against the West; thus efforts to subvert a nuclear Iran are more dangerous than tolerating one.
  • Imposing nuclear sanctions on Iran would foster nationalistic sentiment and further challenge diplomatic relations between the Iranian government and the West.  
  • The U.S. does not have the global political capital to force Iran to comply with its demands, and attempts to do so would harm America’s reputation abroad.
     
Against The Motion
  • Iran has declared its intent to use nuclear weapons for military purposes and poses an immediate threat to its enemies; the U.S. should act before Iran develops a nuclear arsenal and cannot be diplomatically contained.
  • Once developed, Iran’s nuclear program will likely extend to its allies and may lead to a global arms race.
  • Many countries, including Brazil, South Africa and South Korea, have voluntarily given up nuclear weapons development in pursuit of global stability; Iran should do the same.