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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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Considerations Influencing Iran’s Nuclear Emergence

Considerations Influencing Iran’s Nuclear Emergence

Chapter:
(p.56) 3 Considerations Influencing Iran’s Nuclear Emergence
Source:
Anticipating a Nuclear Iran
Author(s):

Jacquelyn K. Davis

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166225.003.0003

This chapter examines Iran's nuclear ambitions as they relate to its foreign policy objectives, domestic political considerations, and role in the Islamic world. Iran's efforts to develop nuclear technologies are based on several interrelated motivations and considerations, which in turn will influence the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear posture if the decision is made to cross the nuclear threshold. There is an underlying premise that nuclear energy is essential to enable Iran to meet future domestic energy needs. Nuclear weapons may also be viewed as a means to ensure regime survival against international and domestic enemies. And as nations reconsider their own security options in the changed political landscape of the wider Middle East, Iran can be expected to push even harder to exert its influence. This chapter considers how Iran's weaponization will evolve and for what purposes, and the implications for the way in which the United States's defense and deterrence planning should proceed. The analysis is based on three heuristic models of a nuclear Iran: a Defensive Iran, an Aggressive Iran, and an Unstable Iran.

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

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