Overview


As Iran's nuclear program evolves, U.S. decisionmakers will confront a series of critical policy choices involving complex considerations and policy trade-offs. These policy choices could involve dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapons; deterring Iran from using its nuclear weapons, if it were to acquire them; and reassuring U.S. regional partners. The U.S. Air Force will need to prepare to carry out whatever policies are chosen.
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Iran's Nuclear Future: Critical U.S. Policy Choices

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Overview


As Iran's nuclear program evolves, U.S. decisionmakers will confront a series of critical policy choices involving complex considerations and policy trade-offs. These policy choices could involve dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapons; deterring Iran from using its nuclear weapons, if it were to acquire them; and reassuring U.S. regional partners. The U.S. Air Force will need to prepare to carry out whatever policies are chosen.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780833053060
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/18/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 152
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

Preface iii

Figures ix

Tables xi

Summary xiii

Acknowledgments xxiii

Abbreviations xxv

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Study Objectives and Scope 1

Analysis Framework for the New Strategic Environment 2

Step 1 Conduct Regional Analyses 2

Step 2 Define Ways to Achieve U.S. Goals for Nuclear Dissuasion, Deterrence, and Reassurance 3

Step 3 Define and Assess Critical U.S. Policy Choices 4

Step 4 Describe U.S. Air Force Contributions 4

How Our Analytical Approach Differs from Others 4

Organization of This Monograph 5

Chapter 2 Influencing Iran 7

Iran's National Security Interests 7

Ensuring Regime Survival 7

Protecting the Homeland Against All External Threats 9

Expanding Regional Influence 9

Can Iran Be Expected to Act Rationally? 10

Iran's Nuclear Program: Prospects and Uncertainties 12

Internal Debate on the Future of Iran's Nuclear Program 14

Chapter 3 Dissuading Iran from Nuclear Weaponization 19

Iranian Actions That the United States Wishes to Dissuade 19

Current U.S. Policies Toward Iran's Nuclear Program 20

Critical U.S. Policy Choices 21

Raise Costs 21

Provide Incentives 28

Conclusion 29

Chapter 4 Deterring a Nuclear-Armed Iran 31

Iran's Military Behavior and Planning 31

Historical Military Behavior 31

Military Doctrine 32

Conventional Capabilities 33

Military Exercises 36

Paths to Conflict 37

Conflict in Response to International Pressures and Actions Perceived as Acts of War 37

Conflict in Response to a U.S. or Israeli Attack Against Iran's Nuclear Facilities 38

Conflict to Expand Regional Influence or Consolidate Domestic Power 38

Iran's Potential Use of Nuclear Weapons 39

Current U.S. Policies and Capabilities 41

Policy Choices for Deterring Iran's Use of Nuclear Weapons Against U.S. Military Forces 43

Deter by Managing Conflict Escalation 43

Deter by Raising the Costs of Using Nuclear Weapons by Threat of Retaliation 44

Deter by Denying Iran the Benefits of Using Nuclear Weapons 47

Policy Choices for Deterring Iran's Use of Nuclear Weapons Against U.S. Regional Partners 48

Conclusion 49

Chapter 5 Reassuring U.S. Regional Partners 51

The Setting 52

Views of the GCC States 52

Views of Israel 54

Current U.S. Policies for Reassurance 55

U.S. Reassurance Goal: Ensure Confidence in Credibility of a U.S. Nuclear Deterrent 57

Explicit and Public Security Guarantees 60

U.S. Conventional Forces 61

U.S. Nuclear-Related Military Activities 62

U.S. Nuclear Guarantee 63

Conclusion 64

Chapter 6 Approaches to Influencing Iran 67

Chapter 7 Air Force Contributions and Preparing for the Future 73

The Way Ahead 77

Appendixes

A Context for U.S. Reassurance Strategies: GCC 79

B Context for U.S. Reassurance Strategies: Israel 95

Bibliography 113

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