Iran and the Bomb: Introduction
Iran's Quest for Superpower Status
Adjusting to Sanctions
Understanding Iran's U.S. Policy
Regime Change and Its Limits
How to Keep the Bomb From Iran
Botching the Bomb
Why Nuclear Weapons Programs Often Fail on Their Own -- and Why Iran’s Might, Too
Time to Attack Iran
Why a Strike Is the Least Bad Option
Not Time to Attack Iran
Why War Should Be a Last Resort
Why Iran Should Get the Bomb
Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability
After Iran Gets the Bomb
Containment and Its Complications
Obama's Counterproductive New Iran Sanctions
How Washington is Sliding Toward Regime Change
How to Spark an Iranian Revolution
Sanctions Won't End Iran's Nuclear Program
Letter From Tehran
How to Engage Iran
What Went Wrong Last Time — And How to Fix It
Letter From Tel Aviv: Netanyahu’s Iranian Dilemma
The Limits of the Military Option Against Iran
The Root of All Fears
Why Is Israel So Afraid of Iranian Nukes?
What Happens After Israel Attacks Iran
Public Debate Can Prevent a Strategic Disaster
Why Israel Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
The Case for a New Nuclear Strategy
The past several months have witnessed a heated debate over the best way for the United States and Israel to respond to Iran's nuclear activities. As the argument has raged, the United States has tightened its already robust sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic, and the European Union announced in January that it will begin an embargo on Iranian oil on July 1. Although the United States, the EU, and Iran have recently returned to the negotiating table, a palpable sense of crisis still looms.
It should not. Most U.S., European, and Israeli commentators and policymakers warn that a nuclear-armed Iran would be the worst possible outcome of the current standoff. In fact, it would probably be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East.
POWER BEGS TO BE BALANCED
The crisis over Iran's nuclear program could end in three different ways. First, diplomacy coupled with serious sanctions could convince Iran to abandon its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. But this outcome is unlikely: the historical record indicates that a country bent on acquiring nuclear weapons can rarely be dissuaded from doing so. Punishing a state through economic sanctions does not inexorably derail its nuclear program. Take North Korea, which succeeded in building its weapons despite countless rounds of sanctions and UN Security Council resolutions. If Tehran determines that its security depends on possessing nuclear weapons, sanctions are unlikely to change its mind. In fact, adding still more sanctions now could make Iran feel even more vulnerable, giving it still more reason to seek the protection of the ultimate deterrent.
The second possible outcome is that Iran stops short of testing a nuclear weapon but develops a breakout capability, the capacity to build and test one quite quickly. Iran would not be the first country to acquire a sophisticated nuclear program without building an actual bomb. Japan, for instance, maintains a vast civilian nuclear infrastructure. Experts believe that it could produce a nuclear weapon
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