Iran remains committed to developing a working nuclear weapon. The US must be equally committed to preventing one.
Iranian politicians are growing up More ▼ and More ▼ transparent: Tehran does not represent itself through threats to develop nuclear weapons; it want an actual working nuclear weapon for “strengthen [its] deterrents.”
Such a strategy is perfectly logical from Iran’s point of view. For Tehran, its only, top priority – more than its influence in the Middle East or its domestic economy— it is regime survival myself. While fighting to suppress the inner threat of thousands of brave women a protester its brutality and subjugation, Tehran sees nuclear weapons as the best deterrent to ensure its survival against external threats.
some experts suggest that some Iranian leaders may believe they can achieve Tehran’s goals of deterrence and pressure the West by shutting down a short-lived nuclear weapon. It’s the other way around. Such a moment would not be a moment of maximum influence for Iran, but of maximum danger. It would be when Iran’s enemies would be a military coup will most likely begin against its nuclear weapons program, unwilling to risk Iran rushing to complete weapons development.
Other analysts argue that Tehran does not actually want nuclear weapons because Iran has them conventional weapons capabilities and proxies effectively to I hold back their opponents. This may be true in the case of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which have recently tried to improve the cold, but improving diplomatic relations with Iran.
But this is not the case for Israel, which remains embroiled in a long “shadow war” with Iran. A former senior Israeli military official told me last month: “Israel can handle anything [conventional]but not a nuclear weapon.
Good modeling shows that Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity would be limited”military and strategic value” compared to that of Israel. But Tehran’s purpose in having nuclear weapons is to deter Israel from attacking in the first place, not to match Israel’s lethality.
Iran’s view that nuclear weapons are necessary for its long-term deterrence also helps explain why sanctions have failed to force meaningful changes in its behavior. Sanctions are an important tool of US policy toward Iran, and in the absence of a deal to halt its nuclear program, sanctions should continue as a means of pressuring Tehran.
But those in Washington who i think that economic pressure stemming from sanctions alone could eventually topple the regime – or persuade it to abandon its nuclear weapons program – is wishful thinking; it is a strategy doomed to failure, as happened during maximum pressure campaign.
A new U.S. strategy toward Iran is needed. For nearly a decade now, strategy under Presidents Obama, Trump and now Biden – and the debate in Washington on Iran more generally – has revolved around the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), for or against it. I was all for it.
But with the JCPOA increasingly likely to end, a new holistic strategy toward Iran is urgently needed. Realizing that Tehran does want nuclear weapons, paying attention to the threat its proxies and conventional weapons pose to US regional allies, and formulating meaningful answer to the protests – should be the three pillars on which such a strategy is developed.
Diplomatically, after the JCPOA, Tehran will have no interest in engaging. The US must therefore work with allies around the world to put together a new package to force Iran to dismantle, not slow down, its nuclear program. Such an effort should not focus on economic incentives – although these should be included – but rather on convincing Iran that maintaining its nuclear program is more likely to threaten the survival of the regime than to ensure it.
This means that diplomatic efforts must be simultaneously backed up by a clear and credible military threat. President Biden was adamant that he would they don’t allow Iran will get nuclear weapons. These words cannot be empty rhetoric – an empty promise that would threaten America’s global deterrence.
To this end, the US should begin annual joint military exercises with Israel, simulating a strike against Iran, in which the US not only provides possibility of refueling, but has American fighter jets. Washington should work with regional allies to “update” their defenses against drone and missile attacks, as others have suggested. And President Biden should publicly seek, in the next budget cycle, additional funding to accelerate research and development of next-generation military technology capable of destroying, not just curtailing, Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran wants a fully operational nuclear weapon; The US must respond with a new fully operational strategy.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the intelligence community, or other US State agency.
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