If Iran achieves nuclear weapons capability, widespread instability could aggravate uncertainty about the security of energy production and transport, raising oil prices and negatively impacting the U.S. economy.
Tehran crossing the nuclear threshold might not immediately precipitate a conflict or cause a disruption in the flow of oil. It would, however, further significantly destabilize an already tumultuous region. Just the expectation of potential future disruptions that a nuclear Iran would introduce into global energy markets would have a significant effect on oil prices and, by extension, the U.S. economy. Our analysis indicates that the expectation of instability and conflict that a nuclear Iran could generate in global energy markets could roughly increase the price of oil by between 10 and 25 percent, which, given current international oil prices, would result in prices $11 to $27 higher per barrel.
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