I am getting tired of reading articles and posts and comments by people who say that Iran must want nukes because nukes can act as a deterrent to an invasion or attack by the United States, despite the fact that the Iranian officials themselves insist that nukes will only hurt rather than help their country's security.
The first problem is the "must want nukes" part of this claim. I have addressed this before:
Writing in the Boston Globe, a veteran Iran-watcher considers the question, "why does Iran want nuclear weapons?":
Far from being an irrational state seeking nuclear arms as a means of intimidating and invading its neighbors, Iran wants the bomb for the purpose of deterrence against a range of external actors, most notably today, the United States ... Washington's incendiary rhetoric and talk of military preparation only reinforce the cause of Iranian politicians who suggest the only manner of preserving Iran's territorial integrity and regime security is to acquire the "strategic weapons"
Note the built-in assumptions of this paragraph, which are never adequately justified: that Iran does indeed "want nuclear weapons" and that there are unidentified "Iranian politicians" who favour obtaining nukes.
However, those who claim that Iran lives in a dangerous neighbourhood and therefore must be seeking nuclear weapons as a deterrent are engaging in a logical fallacy known as "subverted support": they are attempting to explain a phenomenon when there is no evidence that the phenomenon exists in the first place.
In fact, if the Iranians wanted nukes (or the "option" of making nukes) then why did they make wide-ranging compromise offers that went far beyond their legal obligations and would have (if accepted) made it practically impossible for Iran to manufacture nukes in a hurry or in secret?
THe second problem is with the "can act as a deterrent" claim. Nuclear weapon CANNOT amount to a deterrent to invasions for countries such as Iran, because they cannot provide "mutually assured destruction" to the US since Iran does not have the technology or know-how to "win" or even significantly damage US in any nuclear exchange, without suffering catastrophic losses itself in retaliatory nuclear attacks. Here's the scenario: the US attacks Iran. Iran launches its only nuke that it somehow managed to make. The US turns Iran into a glass-encased glow-in-the-dark parking lot. What has Iran accomplished? Sure it wasn't "invaded" but so what? The last survivors would wish that they had been invaded!