Iranian Weapons Of Mass Destruction
October 16, 2008
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 US, Iran’s neighbors, and the international community. The foreign and domestic policy implications for the US will be a major issue that the next 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 US, and Israel to focus on the nuclear threat it can pose and its long-range missile programs.
The CSIS has addressed these policy issues in a number of studies and publications. These include Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: the Real and Potential Threat, Anthony H. Cordesman and Khalid R. Rodhan, CSIS, 2006; Iran’s Military Forces and Warfighting Capabilities, Anthony H. Cordesman and Martin Kleiber, CSIS, 2007; and Anthony H. Cordesman’s recently released assessment, The US, Israel, the Arab States and a Nuclear Iran, which is available on the CSIS web site at: https://www.csis.org/analysis/united-states-israel-arab-states-and-nuclear-iran
The Burke Chair has prepared a new set of briefs, prepared by Anthony H. Cordesman with the assistance of Adam C. Seitz, that summarize Iran’s actions, current and potential capabilities, and the possible outcome of a nuclear exchange. This briefing draws on official statements, US 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.
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.
This first working draft in the series is now available here.
It covers the capabilities and uncertainties of Iran’s missile program, as well as other possible means of deliver that Iran could utilize in conjunction with its CBRN programs.
Your criticism, comments, questions, ideas, and additional information on this draft, and those that follow, will be greatly appreciated. You are welcome to contact the CSIS Burke Chair with comments or correction at firstname.lastname@example.org.