Iran's Nuclear Aspirations: Popular Deterrent

After toppling Saddam Hussein and replacing the political order in Iraq, American hawks are said to be looking further afield. Some hardline administration voices are reportedly busy lobbying the president to accept that regime change in Tehran is the only way of preventing what many western governments have long feared – Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Roger Howard

Author of Iran in Crisis? Nuclear Ambitions and the US Response, Zed Books, 2004

It is far from clear whether Washington’s hawks will win the policy debate over Iran or even how regime change would be orchestrated. The United States could sponsor exiled dissident organisations, such as the Mujahideen Khalq, or order air strikes not just on nuclear installations but also against high-value political targets. Such decapitation would aim to encourage ordinary Iranians to protest against the present order and demand the democratic reform from Damascus to Tehran that President George Bush promised to support in his State of the Union address.

But any such plans would rest on the assumption that Iranian ambitions to build a nuclear bomb are specific to the present government rather than harboured in the country as a whole.

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