"U.S. and Gulf Arab leaders are concerned that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, the result will be a significant change in the regional balance of power. For several decades, Iran has used a strategy of 'low-level' aggression against its neighbors, relying on terrorism, subversion, and limited military strikes. Careful of the fact that its victims could escalate militarily in response, Iran has developed a range of capabilities and techniques to strengthen its deterrence. In doing so, Iran gains additional freedom to commit low-level aggression and thereby coerce its neighbors. A principal concern is that nuclear deterrence could substantially increase this freedom. One of the few options available to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is to augment their holdings of advanced conventional weapons, including major offensive ones like cruise missiles, modern strike aircraft, and precision-guided bombs. By strengthening their military power, these states lessen the risk to themselves in retaliating strongly for Iran's low-level aggression, thereby helping to deter such aggression in the first place. Moreover, this process of strengthening helps signal to Iran that the country's acquisition of nuclear weapons will not greatly enhance its regional influence. In fact, it is conceivable that Iran will become worse off for having acquired nuclear weapons, given significant changes to the conventional military power of its neighbors." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.
IDA Paper P-4835; Institute for Defense Analyses Paper No. P-4835
Public Domain. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.
ASCO/PASCC Archives via NPS Center on Contemporary Conflict