Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but, failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed government in Teheran, a recently retired commander of US forces in the Middle East said Monday.
John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said he was confident that if Iran should gain nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them.
"Iran is not a suicide nation," he said. "I mean, they may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon." The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability.
"I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States.