Usman Mohammed Musa

Department of History and War Studies

Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna


Damilola Regina Ajayi

Department of History and War Studies

Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna


In a region where there are so much uncertainties, states will do all it can just to protect itself and to survive. Most countries in the Middle East, have devised ways to survive and or if possible have upper hand. One of the means by which states can achieve its goal is, to possess or have to access nuclear weapons. This paper will critically examine the intricacies and danger of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and the very infamous Iran nuclear deal and its consequences for the African states.  Thus, with critical analysis of secondary data, the paper discovers that in a situation where acquisition of nuclear power would affect African states, these states or their continental body should be involved in the making of the Iran nuclear deal. However, the question also boils down to, which African state should be involve in such a deal? Is it Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, regional or a continental organization? This paper concludes that African countries should not be left out of the making of this deal, despite their weak scientific and industrial base.  

Keywords: Africa, Iran Nuclear Deal, Global Security, JCPOA.


According to the realist theory, states exist within an anarchic international system in which they are ultimately dependent on their own capabilities, or power, in a bid to further and or protect their national interests.[i] States will always go out of their way to realize whatever goal they set and to achieve sustainability in the international arena. One of the ways states seek to achieve this is to ensure their acquisition of nuclear power. Thus, this paper seeks to examine the Iran nuclear deal and its implication for the African continent. It should be said that before delving into the subject matter, it is important to assess why a nation like Iran would make a decision to acquire nuclear weapons. Several reasons have been given by scholars as to why a nation like Iran would make a decision to acquire nuclear power. To fully understand these reasons, one has to look at how it all started. 

Iran’s interest in anything nuclear began in the 1950s when it launched its nuclear programme on 5th march 1957 when Iran signed Atoms for Peace Programme with Eisenhower administration[ii] and in 1970s when a West German conglomerate Kraftwerk Union of Siemens entered into an agreement with Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in which Kraftwerk Union partially designed and built Bushehr nuclear power plant for Iran. Also on November 10, 1974 a letter of intent (LOI) was written by Iranian Atomic Energy Organization to Kraftwerk Union. The final agreement was signed by IAEO and a Director of Siemens who signed on behalf of Kraftwerk Union. In this agreement, the West German company was to build an additional four new 1200 megawatt nuclear power stations in Iran over a period of ten years. The plants were to be built in two pairs, the first pair in Isfahan and the second in Markazi province, the target was that the first pair will become operational in 1984 while the second will come on stream after three years. As Kraftwerk Union was enjoying their construction activities in Iran, it also embarked on the building and construction of two additional small size nuclear power stations in Bushehr on the Persian Gulf.[iii] This interface between Germany and Iran did not escape the attention and interest of other European powers particularly France. A French consortium headed by Creusot Loire ironically also a subsidiary firm this time to Framatone signed an agreement and built two 900 megawatt nuclear plants along the Karun River south of Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province.[iv]

Having given a brief background to the extent of Iran’s nuclear strength, it is expedient to explain the reasons given by scholars as to why Iran sought for the acquisition of nuclear power.  One of the reasons is that Iran wants to defend itself against external threats; principally from the United States and her Western Allies who reneged from all the agreements they entered into after the 1979 revolution and instigated Saddam Hussein of Iraq to launch a brutal war against Iran. During this brutal war, thousands of Iranians perished and weapons deployed by Saddam included chemical weapons whose materials were supplied by the United States and West Germany. Saddam was assisted with key technology in his chemical weapon programme by Germany.[v] 

Other threats come from the Sunni world, Israel and some Western powers. The Iranian government and the country’s new power aristocrats realized that the Unites States and its Western allies were bent on a regime change and the destruction of the new Iranian Islamic system that they were not comfortable with. Hence, Iran also realized that nothing deters chemical weapon attacks like a nuclear weapon. According to Shahram Chubin of the Carnegie Endowment, Tehran wanted to guard against future surprises analogous to Iraqi’s repeated use of chemical weapons.[vi]

Another reason given was that Iran sees possession of nuclear weapons as something that would help tremendously in its struggle for influence in the Middle East region. Moreover, since it became an Islamic Republic in 1979, Iran has continued to see the Middle East region as an outlet for its influence. Hence, being in possession of a nuclear weapon will further boost its influence and facilitate its dominance in the region[vii].

Iran: An Overview

Being the second largest country in Western Asia with the population of about 86 million, Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations.[viii] Right from time immemorial to the modern period, Iran has been conquered by different civilizations. It should also be understood that, it was the conquest of Iran by the Muslims Arabs that led to Islamization of the territory.[ix] 


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