Det er forbausende stor begeistring for utsiktene til at Iran får atomvåpen i den arabiske verden. I Irans umiddelbare nærhet er det frykt for en ny krig. Men rundt om i regionen fryder man seg over at noen skaper større likevekt overfor USA og Israel.

Analysts said they detected a surprising level of sympathy and support for Iran in the region.


«It’s amazing how encouraging people are of the whole thing. Some think the Iranians are on the way to acquiring it (nuclear weapons capability) and are quite excited,» said Hesham Kassem, editor of the independent Cairo newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

«There doesn’t seem to be any awareness that it might be a calamity,» added Kassem, who said he personally was afraid of an arms race bringing in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.

Mohamed el-Sayed Said, deputy director of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, a Cairo think tank, said: «People are very very warm about it (Iran’s nuclear program).»

«Anyone who challenges the United States will find a great deal of support. That’s a very profitable enterprise in public opinion terms,» he added.

«Even if it takes an arms race, people don’t mind. What we have here is wounded dignity and revulsion about the lack of fairness and double standards.»

Det muslimske Brorskap i Egypt kunngjorde sist uke at det ikke så noe galt i at Iran utviklet atomvåpen.

Folk som tenker mer profesjonelt analytisk, som visse mediefolk og forskere, ser langt mer dystert på konsekvensene.

Analysts in the Gulf raised special concerns. «Gulf states are legitimately concerned about Iran joining the nuclear club,» said Abdel-Khaleq Abdullah, a professor of political science in the United Arab Emirates.

«The possibility of a fourth Gulf war is just beyond our ability to manage. We don’t want it. It will just make life miserable and hell,» he added.

Saudi analyst Dawoud al-Sharayan said an Iranian nuclear bomb could give the United States a pretext to maintain its military forces in the Gulf and add to the tension.

Saudi Arabia would then have the right to think about having its own nuclear weapon, he added.

Many Arabs favor nuclear Iran