Wanting to have nuclear weapons is a perfectly rational aspiration for the leaders of the Iranian regime — for two reasons. The first is that they saw what happened to Iraq (which didn’t have nukes) — and what hasn’t happened to North Korea (which does). The second is that they have a hostile country in the region which surreptitiously obtained nuclear weapons many years ago — Israel.
I’ve always been baffled by the way Israel’s nukes are NEVER talked about in polite conversation. The Israelis always refuse to discuss them in public, and there the matter ends. Imagine the hoo-hah if the Iranians took that approach. It’s as if the Israeli nuclear capability isn’t an issue. But it clearly is for the Arab world, and for Iran (which, remember, was bombed by Israel some decades ago, with the aim of disabling Iranian nuclear capability). So it was refreshing to see this article by David Hirst which doesn’t just mention the unmentionable, but actually ponders it at some length.
For all I know, there may be good reasons for Israel to have nuclear weapons. (There are some countries in the region which deny the right of Israel to exist.) There may be rational reasons for the West to be less worried about Israeli nukes than they would be about Iranian ones. (Israel is a democracy, for example, whereas Iran is not.) But these are all reasons to talk about the Israeli weapons, not to pretend that they don’t exist.