Nuclear Issues

58 Items

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How Does Religion Really Influence Iranian Nuclear Policy?

| November 18, 2014

"It's true that the regime sometimes makes decisions that seem irrational to outside observers. But this is not generally due to religious belief but rather to the fact that the regime's interests and the national interest do not align—for example, Iran and Israel have many common strategic interests, yet Tehran has adopted anti-Israeli rhetoric and policies since the 1979 revolution. This stance may not serve national interests, but it certainly advances the Islamic Republic's interest in a strong, external-enemy narrative."

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Saving the World at Plutonium Mountain

| August 16, 2013

Last October, at the foot of a rocky hillside near here, at a spot known as Degelen Mountain, several dozen Kazakh, Russian and American nuclear scientists and engineers gathered for a ceremony. The modest ribbon-cutting marked the conclusion of one of the largest and most complex nuclear security operations since the Cold War — to secure plutonium (enough to build a dozen or more nuclear weapons) that Soviet authorities had buried at the testing site years before and forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists and rogue states. The effort spanned 17 years, cost $150 million and involved a complex mix of intelligence, science, engineering, politics and sleuthing. This op-ed is based on documents and interviews with Kazakh, Russian and U.S. participants, and reveals the scope of the operation for the first time.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Fundamental Reassessments Required

| July 8, 2013

Initiating a process for discussing WMD remains feasible. But more than dates and modalities for a meeting in Helsinki are needed—fundamental reassessments are required as well. First, all parties must recognize that progress toward a WMD-free zone will require policy changes in areas only indirectly related to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their delivery systems. Second, Israel must begin to grapple in its national security strategy with certain long-term regional trends. Finally, the Arab League, Iran, and the sponsors of the WMD-free-zone process—if they truly wish to prioritize banning weapons of mass destruction—should support the establishment of a regionally-based security forum, with independent convening authority, to carry out direct multilateral discussions on regional security and disarmament.

Discussion Paper

Iran and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Military Dynamics of Nonproliferation

| March 2013

Ambiguity in Iran's weapon acquisition dynamics exacerbates mistrust, which is the core reason for the present standoff at the negotiating table. This paper elucidates the Iranian military's capability and intention by delving into the main componential elements of weapon acquisition.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards & volunteer tank hunters give victory signs on the southern front of the Iran-Iraq War, Dec. 1982. On motorcycles & armed with Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenades, they were a fast, highly-mobile force against Iraqi armor.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Fair Observer

Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War — Part 2

| August 4, 2012

"Like the 1980 Iraqi invasion, an attack will be viewed in Iran as part of a pattern of Western subversion and aggression that links together British and Russian economic exploitation, occupation during World War II, the coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953, and years of support for the Shah's repressive regime. For those in Iran who question the standard narrative of concerted and constant Western aggression, an attack on Iranian territory will dispel any doubt and engender the next generations of Iranians who subscribe to that view."

Discussion Paper - International Security Program, Belfer Center

Perceptions and Narratives of Security: The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iran-Iraq War

| May 2012

This paper explores the importance of the Iran-Iraq War for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) by analyzing how the Guards have used the war to present their positions on Iran's national security.

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

Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War

| December 2011

This policy brief seeks to contribute to and inform the debate concerning a possible attack by the United States and/or Israel on Iranian nuclear and military facilities. The presumed aim of such an attack would be to weaken the Islamic Republic, particularly by hindering its ability to build a nuclear weapon. However, the history of the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980 calls into question the contention that an attack will weaken the regime in Tehran. This policy brief examines Iran's reactions to the Iraqi invasion in order to shed light on Iran's possible reactions to a U.S. or Israeli attack.

Foreign ministry officials from Iran, right, Afghanistan, left, and Pakistan, center, attend a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 16, 2010. They were meeting to discuss a range of issues: extremism, terrorism, & bilateral and regional security matters.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Iran Review

Regionalism in Iran's Foreign Policy

| February 8, 2010

"The second perspective focuses on the globalization and technological importance of the West, arguing that in the process of globalization and development, Iran needs expanding ties with the centers of science and wealth-creation in the West. From this perspective, forming regional coalitions or Iran's involvement in political and security issues of the Middle East, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, in a contradictory way will only go to further complicate Iran's relations with the West and will impede the country's development."