- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Insight and Analysis: Iran

Summer 2012

Graham Allison – Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

“The mounting confrontation between the United States and Iran is like a Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion. Events are moving, seemingly inexorably, toward a showdown at which point President Obama will have to choose to either attack Iran’s nuclear facilities or acquiesce in an Iranian nuclear bomb.” ("Will Iran Be Obama's Cuban Missile Crisis?" Op-Ed. Washington Post. March 8, 2012)


Nicholas Burns – Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics

“Obama, like President Bush before him, has threatened Iran with sanctions and force with one goal in mind - to persuade its recalcitrant leaders to accept diplomacy and a possible negotiated outcome short of war. Lost in our increasingly shrill national debate about whether to bomb Iran is bipartisan consensus to at least try negotiating with Iran’s mullahs before we decide to fight them.” ("Diplomacy Returns to U.S. Arsenal," Op-Ed. Boston Globe. March 2, 2012)


Chuck Freilich – Senior Fellow, International Security Program

“The simple fact is that Iran has rejected all efforts to reach a negotiated solution to date....and has used the passing time to further develop its nuclear capabilities. We can hope that the punishing oil and financial sanctions now in place will finally change the Iranian calculus.” ("The Bitter Truth About Iran," Op-Ed. Jerusalem Post. April 15, 2012)


Olli Heinonen – Senior Fellow, Belfer Center

“A more immediate challenge is for Tehran to answer existing questions about suspect activities that suggest it has, at least in the past, worked on nuclear weapons designs and breached its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. This is a fundamental part of restoring international confidence in the peaceful scope of Iran’s nuclear program, in both the immediate and long term. Without this more complete sort of understanding, the reputation and work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would be fundamentally undermined.” ("Is The West Negotiating A Fatal Bargain With Iran?" Op-Ed. The Times of Israel. April 14, 2012)


Steven Miller – Director, International Security Program; Editor-in-Chief, International Security

“As Iranian nuclear negotiator Naseri commented in 2005, ‘The moves towards restrictions on nuclear fuel production under the pretext of non-proliferation are bound to make the developing countries dependent on an exclusive cartel of nuclear fuel suppliers – a cartel that has a manifest record of denials and restrictions for political and commercial reasons.’ It is not surprising that Iran would feel this way considering that it has been largely (not not entirely) cut off from the legitimate nuclear marketplace over a period of several decades.” ("Nuclear Collisions: Discord, Reform & the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime," American Academy of Arts & Sciences. April 2012)


Dennis Ross – International Council Member, Belfer Center

“Because Israel is the only country that Iran has repeatedly threatened to “wipe off the map,” it is reasonable for it to have some input into the objectives of diplomacy and the timetable for progress in negotiations..” ("The U.S. Can Meet Israel Halfway on Iran," Op-Ed. Washington Post. March 30, 2012)


Mansour Salsabili – Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

"The opportunity for a compromise on nuclear and other regional issues between Iran and the United States has never been so ripe as now....[and] The desire for progress on both sides of the table is observable.” ("Iran Talks: Why Time Is Right For Compromise," Op-Ed. Christian Science Monitor. April 16, 2012)


Annie Tracy Samuel – Research Fellow, International Security Program

“Though it has miscalculated the effects of and reactions to its policies, as well as adopted violence as a tool to achieve its strategic goals, Iran's policies have generally been conceived with rational security objectives in mind.  The hypothetical development of a nuclear weapons capability would not fundamentally alter Iran's overriding foreign policy objective—regime security.”  ("Ask the Experts: What Would Iran Do with a Bomb?" Blog. Council on Foreign Relations. February 21, 2012)


William H. Tobey – Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

“It is hard to imagine a country with a scientific and industrial base large enough to sustain a nuclear weapons program, but so small that the death of a few individuals would cause it to halt,” (“Conflicting Strategies to Stop Iran,The Jewish Daily Forward. January 19, 2012)



Stephen Walt – Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs

“After all, Israel has its own nuclear arsenal, and could obliterate Iran if attacked. US intelligence is also confident Tehran has not yet decided to build nuclear weapons. Indeed, US leaders worry that, no matter who does it, an attack would convince Iran it needs its own nuclear deterrent. They are correct.” ("Mr Obama Must Take a Stand Against Israel Over Iran," Op-Ed. Financial Times. March 5, 2012)


For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Insight and Analysis: Iran.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Summer 2012).