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Iran's Fading Deterrent Could Increase the Lure of Going Nuclear

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

For all the attention Iran has received as of late, a significant development continues to be overlooked. Specifically, recent events have underscored that the three pillars of Iran’s long-standing deterrent-based military doctrine have become wasting assets in Tehran’s changing strategic environment. This factor is likely to be influential in shaping the regime’s continued debate over whether to cross the nuclear threshold. As Iranian policymakers lose confidence in their current deterrent capabilities, the strategic rationale for a nuclear arsenal will become increasingly apparent.  

Since the end of its war with Iraq in 1988, Iran’s military doctrine has relied heavily on three capabilities to deter the country’s more powerful adversaries. The first pillar of this doctrine is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, tasked with  “exporting the revolution” abroad, usually through training and supporting proxy groups like Hezbollah in the tactics of unconventional warfare. Unconventional tactics allow Iran and its proxies to weaken its adversaries without openly confronting them. It also extends Iran's reach to areas like the Levant, Africa and even Latin America. ...

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