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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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U.S. Deterrence Planning in the Event of an Iranian Nuclear Breakout

U.S. Deterrence Planning in the Event of an Iranian Nuclear Breakout

(p.114) 6 U.S. Deterrence Planning in the Event of an Iranian Nuclear Breakout
Anticipating a Nuclear Iran

Jacquelyn K. Davis

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the essential elements of twenty-first-century defense and deterrence planning and their implications for key U.S. objectives, such as deterring or containing a nuclear Iran. Iran's decision to develop and deploy nuclear weapons will have major consequences for regional stability, global nonproliferation objectives, and U.S. strategic and operational planning. In terms of regional stability and nonproliferation, it may not make a great difference if Iran develops a defensive-deterrent or an aggressive posture because states in the region will feel threatened by either and seek to bolster their security through a variety of measures. In the absence of new U.S. security assurances, nuclear weapons would become a more attractive option for some states in the region, especially if the United States is viewed as vulnerable to an Iranian nuclear threat. This chapter discusses some of the challenges that must be addressed in U.S. strategic and operational planning based on the three heuristic models of a nuclear Iran: a Defensive Iran, an Aggressive Iran, and an Unstable Iran.

Keywords:   defense, deterrence, Iran, nuclear weapons, strategic planning, operational planning, security, United States, regional stability

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