June 06, 2012

Risk and Rivalry: Iran, Israel and the Bomb

By Colin H. Kahl, Matthew Irvine and Melissa Dalton

As Iran's nuclear progress continues and negotiations fail to reach a breakthrough, the threat of an Israeli preventive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities grows. In Risk and Rivalry: Israel, Iran and the Bomb, authors Dr. Colin H. Kahl, Melissa G. Dalton and Matthew Irvine argue that despite the abhorrent threats by some Iranian leaders to "wipe Israel off the map," the actual behavior of the Islamic Republic over the past three decades indicates that the regime is not suicidal and is sufficiently rational for nuclear deterrence. The report finds that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a much more dangerous adversary but that Iran is unlikely to deliberately use nuclear weapons, or transfer a nuclear device to terrorists to use, against Israel. The authors recommend that while preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should remain an urgent priority, rushing into preventive war would risk making the threat worse and force should be seen as a last resort. 

Authors

  • Colin H. Kahl

    Middle East Security

    Dr. Colin H. Kahl is an associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the former National Securi...

  • Matthew Irvine

  • Melissa Dalton

  • Commentary
    • April 30, 2020
    Sharper: Global Coronavirus Response

    As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...

    By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Commentary
    • Defense News
    • April 23, 2020
    How the US can learn from Israel to counter Iran

    During the COVID-19 crisis, one would have thought the United States and Iran would find ways to reduce tensions. Instead the Trump administration refuses to relax sanctions i...

    By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas

  • Reports
    • April 14, 2020
    Countering Iran in the Gray Zone

    American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed, if U.S. policymakers are willing and able to replicate at least ...

    By Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas & Jennie Matuschak

  • Commentary
    • Defense One
    • February 21, 2020
    The American Public Wants a Sustainable Middle East Policy

    After the U.S. strike on Qasem Soleimani, Americans feared the United States was on the brink of war with Iran. “World War III draft” memes circulated around the internet, and...

    By Kaleigh Thomas & Emma Moore

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia