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.
More from CNAS
While President Biden has publicly committed to reengaging Iran, his administration faces immediate challenges....
By Kaleigh Thomas, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryCould Europe’s INSTEX Help Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?
Supporting INSTEX would illustrate not only that “America is back,” but that the Biden administration is taking humanitarian concerns seriously without sacrificing security in...
By Francis Shin
2020 featured an ever-evolving series of national security challenges....
By Sam Dorshimer, Nathalie Grogan, Emily Jin, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
PodcastHow the US could return to the Iran nuclear deal
The election of Joe Biden presents an opening to strengthen transatlantic diplomacy on Iran. Biden has already outlined his intention to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, primaril...
By Ilan Goldenberg