Containing Iran: Options for Preventing Iran’s Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons

  • Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Kuth

For decades, Iran has disrupted security and stability in the Middle East. Its unlawful pursuit of nuclear weapons and support of terrorist organizations continues to pose a significant threat to U.S. national interests and the international community. The acquisition of nuclear weapons would thrust Iran into a hegemonic status and create an undesirable imbalance of power across the region. The National Security Strategy states that Iran must meet its international responsibilities beginning with a peaceful nuclear program. It must cooperate with the international community, abide by international laws, and comply with the content of the 2013 Joint Plan of Action. While current United States (U.S.) policy is focused on prevention, it lacks the teeth required to compel Iran to comply. The U.S. must develop a broad, comprehensive, consistent, long-range strategy to contain Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons in order to promote stability in the region. This paper reviews current U.S. policy. More importantly, it will discuss additional options the U.S. Government should consider before entertaining the notion of a nuclear-armed Iran.