If All Else Fails: The Challenges of Containing a Nuclear-Armed Iran

  • May 13, 2013
  • Colin H. Kahl, Jacob Stokes, Raj Pattani
  • Reports

Dr. Colin H. Kahl, Raj Pattani and Jacob Stokes argue in If All Else Fails: The Challenges of Containing a Nuclear-Armed Iran that the Obama administration is rightly committed to preventing – not containing – a nuclear-armed Iran, but add that prevention efforts, up to and including the use of force, could fail.  Thus, they note, the United States could eventually be forced to shift to a policy of containment despite current preferences. Dr. Kahl, a CNAS Senior Fellow; Mr. Pattani, a Georgetown University security studies student; and Jacob Stokes, a CNAS Research Associate, outline a comprehensive framework to manage and mitigate the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran based on what they call the “Five Ds.”  These five steps would deter Iranian nuclear and conventional threats, defend the U.S. homeland and American allies, disrupt Tehran’s destabilizing activities, de-escalate regional crises, and eventually denuclearize Iran’s program. Such planning and preparation is needed, they say, “not because the United States wants to take this path, but because it may eventually become the only path left.”