Keeping Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer: Operational Design for a Nuclear-Armed Iran   [open pdf - 527KB]

"The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has pursued a nuclear program since 1985. By February 2006, with the last round of international negotiations having failed, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) having reported the dossier to the United Nations Security Council, Tehran was on the precipice of being able to field a nuclear weapon at a time convenient to the IRI. A nuclear-armed Iran will change the strategic calculus in the Middle East and Central Asia and present new risks to U.S. interests in the region. This monograph addresses the issue of a nuclear-armed Iran from four perspectives: historical patterns of Iranian behavior with respect to foreign influence, a Western perspective of these patterns, a technical review of Iran's nuclear program, and a methodology called Systemic Operational Design (SOD). SOD is an application of Systems Theory to Operational Art that focuses on the relationships between the entities within a system to translate strategic direction and policy into an Operational Design. This systemic approach synthesizes the Iranian historical pattern of balancing one foreign power against another while simultaneously seeking to limit foreign influence. The author recommends an Operational Design to manage the risks posed by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks to "keep our friends close and our enemies closer" by simultaneously pursuing economic growth and regional stability through the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Iran. This should occur simultaneous with disrupting the foreign networks that support the proliferation of nuclear technology in Iran as well as those that finance and support the foreign activities of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah."

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