Iran After the Bomb

Iran After the Bomb: How Would a Nuclear-Armed Tehran Behave?

Alireza Nader
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 50
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  • Book Info
    Iran After the Bomb
    Book Description:

    This study explores how a nuclear-armed Iran would behave and what this would entail for the United States and its main regional allies. It analyzes the Islamic Republic’s ideology, motivations, and national security doctrine; examines a nuclear-armed Iran’s potential policies toward Saudi Arabia and the GCC; discusses its potential behavior toward Israel; explores its relations with terrorist groups; and presents key findings.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8070-7
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Summary
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is not a foregone conclusion. The U.S. policy of imposing sanctions on Iran while pursuing diplomatic engagement may still dissuade the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapons capability. However, that policy is not guaranteed to resolve the nuclear crisis. Even an Israeli and/or U.S. military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities could not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; it could only delay such development (Brown, 2013). Therefore, it is prudent to examine Iran’s potential policies after it has obtained nuclear weapons. Undertaking such an examination is not an admission that U.S. efforts on the...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Islamic Republic: A Revisionist Yet Restrained Power
    (pp. 3-10)

    A common concern regarding Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons is that they would allow it to become more aggressive in challenging U.S. and allied interests (Donnelly, Pletka, and Zarif, 2011). Moreover, some analysts have speculated that new nuclear-armed states would face an incentive to use nuclear weapons within the first few years of developing the capability (Ochmanek and Schwartz, 2008). Many analysts argue that nuclear arms will cause a shift in Iran’s interests and policies (Kroenig, 2012), while others have argued that the United States will not be able to deter and contain a nuclear-armed Iran (Rubin, 2008). But the...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Nuclear Iran and the Persian Gulf
    (pp. 11-20)

    A nuclear-armed Iran, secure in its deterrent capability, could arguably pursue its long-time objective of ejecting the United States from the Persian Gulf by weakening the region’s pro-American regimes.¹ The Islamic Republic’s ideological and geopolitical hostility toward the Gulf Arab monarchies has been long evident. The Iranian-Saudi rivalry, one of the defining characteristics of Middle East politics, has accelerated due to Iran’s perceived expansion of power from 2003 to 2009 and the increasingly sectarian nature of the Arab Spring. Tehran’s nuclear pursuit has widened the gulf between Iran and its Arab neighbors and has led to acute anxiety in Riyadh...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Nuclear Iran and Israel
    (pp. 21-24)

    Israel perceives a nuclear-armed Iran to be among the greatest threats to its national security and to the very existence of the Jewish state. The Islamic Republic, after all, is the most hostile and active opponent of Israeli interests in the Middle East. Ayatollah Khamenei has stated that “the Zionist regime is a true cancer[ous] tumor on this region that should be cut off” (Erd brink, 2012). President Ahmadinejad has been a particularly vocal critic of the Jewish state; his statements on Israel have garnered him and his country considerable negative attention.

    The rising tensions between Israel and the Islamic...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Nuclear Iran and Terrorism
    (pp. 25-30)

    A nuclear-armed Iran is unlikely to adopt a first-strike policy toward Israel—that is, Iran would be unlikely to target Israel with nuclear weapons in the absence of an attack from Israel. However, an unintended or accidental nuclear confrontation between the two Middle Eastern powers is a possibility. This may especially be the case in the unlikely event that Iran extends its nuclear deterrence to terrorist groups that are directly engaged in armed conflict with Israel, such as Hizballah and Hamas.

    Terrorism holds a special place in the Iranian government’s military doctrine. What is perceived by the United States and...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Conclusion and Findings
    (pp. 31-34)

    Nuclear arms will not change Iran’s fundamental interests and strategies, nor will they provide Iran with the ability to reshape the Middle East’s geopolitical order. Nuclear weapons will reinforce Iran’s deterrent capabilities, but beyond additional deterrence, they will not provide Iran with much greater influence and power in the region.

    The Islamic Republic is a revisionist state that seeks to undermine what it perceives to be the American-dominated order in the Middle East. It views itself as a natural power in the region and resents what it perceives to be the “imperial” U.S. presence, particularly in the Persian Gulf. However,...

  12. References
    (pp. 35-40)