Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Michael Eisenstadt - Deterring Iran from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons will remain the core imperative driving U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic in the years to come. This will be true whether or not ongoing nuclear diplomacy with Tehran leads to a long-term agreement to limit its nuclear program. Iran has a record of noncompliance with its own voluntary commitments, IAEA obligations, and UN Security Council resolutions. It is therefore prudent to assume that Tehran may well continue to engage in undeclared activities and to violate its commitments and obligations if it believes it can do so without getting caught, or without paying an unacceptable price. To deter Iran from building or acquiring a nuclear device, Washington will need to convince Tehran that it would not only get caught but also suffer unacceptable consequences: the U.S. would reimpose or ratchet-up sanctions, launch a destabilizing soft-warfare campaign against the regime, or, even use military force to destroy its nuclear program. The writer is director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program.

2015-05-22 00:00:00

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