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Unformatted text preview: 7 Understanding the Iranian Nuclear Equation 1 Jason Blackstock is a Master of Public Administration candidate and Manjana Milkoreit is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University ([email protected], [email protected] harvard.edu). U NDERSTANDING THE I RANIAN N UCLEAR E QUATION Dr. Jason J. Blackstock, P.Phys. and Manjana Milkoreit, J.D. Since mid-2005, the Iranian regime has embarked on a course of aggressive and public brinksmanship regarding its domestic nuclear program. This article explores this new Iranian behavior by first elucidating the range of strategic variables comprising the Iranian nuclear equation and then evaluating how recent evolutions in the international and domestic environments have altered the influence of the equation’s different variables. The analysis demonstrates that Iran’s recent brinksmanship gambit was driven largely by the regime’s desire to use the nuclear issue to garner domestic public support, and was enabled by the grow- ing perceived inability of the international community to enact effective coercive measures against Iran. The article culminates with a recommendation that U.S. and EU policymakers seri- ously evaluate the hitherto dismissed alternative of accepting nuclear fuel cycle facilities on Iranian soil under the control of a multinational or international consortium. Emphasis is placed on the importance of considering such alternatives before Iran achieves nuclear technological independence. I NTRODUCTION On December 23, 2006, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed Resolution 1737 (S/RES/1737 2006), imposing sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend its uranium enrichment program. The Iranian regime responded the next day by reiterating its intentions 8 Dr. Jason J. Blackstock, P.Phys. and Manjana Milkoreit, J.D. to continue the expansion of the enrichment program, stating that Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could be expected to decrease as a result of the resolution. These actions were only the latest in a succession of escalatory events tied to continually rising international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program. At the time of writ- ing this article, there are no outward signs of an impending resolution to these tensions. To the contrary, the evolution of events over the past year and a half has repeatedly demonstrated to the Iranian regime that the in- ternational community lacks the collective will to enact effective coercive measures to force its capitulation, thus reinforcing the regime’s obstinacy on the nuclear issue. The current confrontation between the international community and Iran began with a series of specific actions taken by Iran in mid-2005—ac- tions that, given their sequence and relative timing, marked the beginning of a new strategy of brinksmanship with the international community by the Iranian regime on the issue of its nuclear program. The first of these the Iranian regime on the issue of its nuclear program....
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- Fall '11
- Nuclear weapon, Nuclear program of Iran, international community, iranian nuclear equation