Nonproliferation
Op-Ed
Program
Project

Iran Isn’t Going To Get The Bomb. There Are Three Ways This Can Go And All Are Messy.

But if diplomacy fails, the only remaining options are military strikes or accepting the unacceptable.

By Michael Krepon
March 15, 2021
Summary

This article was originally published in Forbes.

Nuclear proliferation happens one country at a time, but every addition usually leads to the next. If Iran obtains the Bomb or comes close to it, other countries that bear watching include Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. 

All of these fence sitters have one thing in common besides their unwillingness to accept Iranian power projection in the Islamic world: They all have a history of security ties to the United States. If Washington manages the Iran nuclear dilemma poorly and if partners continue to lose confidence in the United States, they will increasingly go their own way.

The BushObamaTrump, and now Biden administrations have all vowed that they will not accept an Iranian bomb. Failure to make good on this pledge is not an option—except for those who take comfort in more U.S. insularity. With so much riding on whether or not Iran acquires nuclear weapons or the means to produce them quickly, the outcome isn’t in doubt: Iran won’t succeed. But the means chosen to keep Tehran sufficiently distant from making bombs are very much in doubt. Much is riding on how Tehran and Washington play the cards they are holding. 

Read the full article in Forbes.

Cite to URL:
https://www.stimson.org/2021/iran-isnt-going-to-get-the-bomb-there-are-three-ways-this-can-go-and-all-are-messy/