After long maintaining one of the Middle East’s most advanced nuclear programs and most powerful conventional militaries, Iranian decision-makers are beginning to reconsider their nation’s official ban on developing weapons of mass destruction in light of rising tensions and deteriorating security conditions in the region.

Such a move, vehemently opposed by Israel and the United States, which are known to possess their own nuclear arsenals, would present both substantial risks and opportunities for the Islamic Republic. But after the severe unrest surrounding the ongoing war in Gaza simmered over into the first-ever direct exchange of attacks between Iran and Israel, influential Iranian figures are seeing greater value in boosting deterrence by going down the nuclear path.