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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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Dealing with a Nuclear Iran and Asymmetric Challenges

Dealing with a Nuclear Iran and Asymmetric Challenges

(p.141) 7 Dealing with a Nuclear Iran and Asymmetric Challenges
Anticipating a Nuclear Iran

Jacquelyn K. Davis

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the implications of Iran's nuclear development for hybrid warfare and deterrence of nonstate and rogue actors. Nuclear weapons will greatly enhance Iran's ability to conduct hybrid warfare with a broad range of instruments through a combination of techniques from asymmetric and irregular warfare. These include the use of nonstate armed groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, together with high-end military technologies such as cyberwarfare capabilities, missiles, and, potentially, nuclear weapons. This chapter considers how Iran is using asymmetric operations to strike at soft targets as well as covert financial and political campaigns to enhance its influence and undermine that of the United States in and beyond the Middle East. In particular, it looks at the activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Qods Force elements outside Iran. It also suggests strategies for deterring rogue elements or nonstate armed groups based on a combination of deterrence by punishment and deterrence by denial. Finally, it discusses twenty-first-century deterrence planning based on the three heuristic models of a nuclear Iran: a Defensive Iran, an Aggressive Iran, and an Unstable Iran.

Keywords:   hybrid warfare, deterrence, Iran, asymmetric warfare, nonstate armed groups, Hezbollah, nuclear weapons, United States, Middle East, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps

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