Peter says the emerging situation in Iran is particularly frightening because the country seems highly determined to obtain nuclear weapons and is not likely interested in diplomatic discussion.

"I mean, the president [of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] is somebody who, by his own account, wants to abolish the state of Israel," Peter says. "He's not somebody you can negotiate with, I don't think."

Dr. Phares says Iran's nuclear ambitions should come as no surprise; they have been vocal about developing this capability since the '80s and have been subjected to monitoring because of them. He says Iran's push to develop a nuclear program was likely hastened by a fear of "demonstrations by [Iranian] students for the last five years, a fear of their own people in public and a fear of what they see in the neighborhood: Afghanistan's elections, Iraq's elections, Beirut demonstrations."

With a nuclear weapon, Dr. Phares believes Iran becomes invincible in the Middle East. "And then nothing could help the Iranian people against their regime."