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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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Nuclear Weapons Operationalization

Nuclear Weapons Operationalization

What Type of Nuclear Force?

Chapter:
(p.74) 4 Nuclear Weapons Operationalization
Source:
Anticipating a Nuclear Iran
Author(s):

Jacquelyn K. Davis

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166225.003.0004

This chapter considers the possible ways in which Iran might operationalize a nuclear weapons capability. The nature of any nuclear weapons capability that Iran might deploy will rest on how the leadership views the role of nuclear weapons and their relationship to defensive and offensive strategic calculations and objectives. If those goals are strictly limited to deterring an attack on Iran or to regime survival, a small nuclear force would be sufficient—one that could retaliate against an enemy nuclear or conventional attack. A “use them or lose them” mentality might also apply if Iran were invaded. Iranian nuclear weapons would exist alongside asymmetric nonnuclear capabilities that could be launched against United States targets in and outside the Middle East (and against Israel) to make the point that Iran has a number of options even before considering nuclear weapons. This chapter examines how Iran's nuclear weaponization might evolve in each of the three models of a nuclear Iran: a Defensive Iran, an Aggressive Iran, and an Unstable Iran.

Keywords:   nuclear weapons, Iran, Middle East, Defensive Iran, Aggressive Iran, Unstable Iran, United States

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