A nuclear-capable Iran would be a grave threat to American national security. Backed by an atomic bomb, the Islamic Republic could become even more belligerent and dangerous than it is today, jeopardizing our interests around the globe as well as the values we cherish.

A nuclear-capable Iran would be able to manipulate the cost of oil by coercing other oil-exporting nations to reduce their crude production. This could cause gas prices to skyrocket, well above the current national average of nearly $4 per gallon, impacting the cost of everything from food to construction and potentially stifling our economic recovery.

A nuclear-capable Iran would also pose a direct threat to U.S. soldiers stationed in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic has proven willing to target American troops by providing weapons and funding to groups fighting our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. As an emboldened regional power, a nuclear-capable Iran could dramatically increase its support to such groups.

Under an Iranian nuclear umbrella, terrorist groups like Hizballah and Hamas would be able to act with impunity in the Middle East and beyond. And Tehran would be able to provide nuclear materials and knowledge to its terrorist proxies as well as its allies in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, bringing the threat of nuclear terror close to America’s shores.

Allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability would irreparably undermine nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Viewing Iran as a potential threat, Mideast countries would feel compelled to build their own nuclear deterrence against the Islamic Republic. Thus, the most volatile region on earth, with a rising Islamist influence, would become home to a nuclear arms race. And, of course, the more countries that possess nuclear weapons, the greater likelihood that they will actually be used.

In addition to constituting a military threat, a nuclear-capable Iran would endanger America’s position of leadership in the Middle East and its sway around the world. Under pressure from Tehran, Arab countries would be reluctant to cooperate with the United States in advancing regional peace and stability. America would be weaker and our influence would diminish as Iran’s would soar.

Emboldened by its success in overcoming U.S. opposition and international pressure, a nuclear-capable Iran would be in a position to further challenge American values, interests and concerns. It is therefore essential that the United States lead the effort to prevent one of the most dangerous countries in the world from having the most lethal weapon known to man.

To learn more about the threat of a nuclear capable Iran, visit www.aipac.org/Iran.

The above message was prepared by AIPAC’s Synagogue Outreach Dept.