Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction

Strategic and Warfighting Implications of a Nuclear Armed Iran

Iran’s nuclear ambitions and missile programs, and their interactions with its growing capabilities for asymmetric warfare, are becoming steadily more critical security issues for the United States, Iran’s neighbors, and the international community. The foreign and domestic policy implications for the United States will be a major issue that the Obama administration must address during its first months in office.

Iran’s actions, and the Iraq War, have already made major changes in the military balance in the Gulf and the Middle East. Iran may still be several years to half a decade away from becoming a meaningful nuclear power, but even a potential Iranian nuclear weapon has already led Iran’s neighbors, the United States, and Israel to focus on the nuclear threat it can pose and its long-range missile programs.

The Burke Chair has prepared a new set of briefs, which summarize Iran’s actions, current and potential capabilities, and the possible outcome of a nuclear exchange. This briefing draws on official statements, U.S. intelligence judgments, work by the IAEA, and material provided by a number of other research centers, including the Nuclear Threat Initiative, ISIS, the Federation of American Scientists, Global Security, and the Brooking Institution among others.

The Burke Chair is releasing these documents in a series of working drafts in an effort to obtain outside views, comments, criticisms, and additions. We hope to use such comments to provide a more comprehensive and more accurate picture of Iran’s controversial and destabilizing WMD programs despite the uncertainty surrounding these foreign policy nightmares.