Iran is still several years away from developing a nuclear weapons option, but the Western diplomatic strategy of threatening sanctions and offering multilateral negotiations to force Iran to suspend its enrichment program does not appear to be effective. Unless significantly greater sanctions are applied, Iran is likely to continue to work on overcoming technical problems and installing greater enrichment capacity under international inspections. If the current trajectory is not changed, we will eventually face a choice between acquiescing to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapons break out option or using military force to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Neither option is palatable.
Gary Samore is vice president, director of studies, and the Maurice R. Greenberg chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an expert on nuclear proliferation and arms control, especially in the Middle East and Asia. Before joining the Council, Dr. Samore was vice president for global security and sustainability at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he was responsible for international grant-making. From 2001 to 2005, he was director of studies and senior fellow for nonproliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Dr. Samore served at the National Security Council from 1995 to 2001. He holds a BA in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an MA and PhD in government from Harvard University.
An MP3 audio recording of this event -- including both Samore's presentation and a Q&A session moderated by Jeffrey Lewis -- is available below, while video can be viewed at right.
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