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Anticipating a Nuclear IranChallenges for U.S. Security$
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Robert Pfaltzgraff and Jacquelyn Davis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166225

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166225.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Setting the Scene for Iran's Emergence as a Nuclear Power

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Anticipating a Nuclear Iran
Author(s):

Jacquelyn K. Davis

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166225.003.0001

This book examines the strategic, political, and operational planning implications of Iran as a nuclear weapons state based on three scenarios, each explained by a heuristic model: a Defensive Iran, an Aggressive Iran, and an Unstable Iran. A Defensive Iran assumes a commitment to a minimum nuclear deterrence posture; An Aggressive Iran postulates a situation in which Iran, backed by its nuclear weapons, would be emboldened to pursue a more active foreign policy in and beyond the Middle East; An Unstable Iran is characterized by state collapse and the prospect of loose nukes. In assessing expected characteristics of Iranian behavior in each of these models, the book considers the type of nuclear capability that Iran would likely field; the conditions under which Iran might resort to threatened or actual nuclear weapons use; the extent to which Iran's military strategy and declaratory policy relating to nuclear weapons possession might embolden it or its proxies to pursue more aggressive policies in the region and vis-à-vis the United States; and Iran's potential to transfer nuclear materials to others in and outside the region.

Keywords:   nuclear weapons, Defensive Iran, Aggressive Iran, Unstable Iran, Iran, nuclear deterrence, foreign policy, Middle East, military strategy, United States

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