Establishing a Credible Threat Against Iran’s Nuclear Program
March 30, 2012 Staff Paper
On February 1, 2012, the Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on Iran issued a report, Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock, laying out a comprehensive strategy that offers the best hope for a peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear challenge. The report reinforces prior BPC studies calling for a triple-track strategy to prevent a nuclear weapons-capable Iran: the simultaneous pursuit of diplomacy, sanctions, and visible, credible preparations for a military option. This would exert the utmost pressure on Iran’s leadership to negotiate a diplomatic settlement.
This paper addresses how to boost the credibility of the military option, thereby enhancing the chances for success through sanctions and diplomacy. There are three primary components of a credible military threat: (1) an effective information and messaging strategy; (2) economic preparations; and (3) military readiness activities. Undertaking these steps would boost the credibility of the military option, thereby strengthening the chance for sanctions and diplomacy to succeed in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.