Compiled by Middle East Forum web editor and research fellow Gary C. Gambill.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a break in talks last month in Lausanne, Switzerland.
President Obama's announcement that the P5+1 world powers have reached a framework agreement with Iran over the fate of its nuclear program was greeted with consternation in Israel, many Sunni Arab states, and the U.S. Congress.
To help explain why, we have compiled the following selected writings from Middle East Forum staff and fellows, and from our flagship journal, Middle East Quarterly.
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Misreading the Mullahs (MEQ, Summer 2011)
Aaron Menenberg, now Congressional Affairs Fellow at the Israel Allies Foundation and a contributing writer for Economonitor, argues that the Iranian regime views nuclear weapons as "not a bargaining chip, but [as] the ultimate means for achieving its hegemonic ambitions abroad and securing its indefinite grip on power at home."
The Bomb in Iran's Future (MEQ, June 1994)
Henry Sokolski, now executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, warns that Iran is "developing an overt 'peaceful' nuclear program that will afford it the infrastructure that nuclear weapons production requires" in this prescient early MEQ article, noting that it is "possible to get all one needs to build a large arsenal's worth of nuclear weapons material and key weapons test facilities without violating IAEA restrictions until the last moment."
Why the (Toothless) Iran Sanctions Bill Matters (Washington Times, Feb. 13, 2015)
MEF President Daniel Pipes on why Congress must pass the Kirk-Menendez bill imposing sanctions on Iran if it does not accept a reasonable compromise at the negotiations table.
What's Worse than an Iranian Bomb? An Iranian Almost-Bomb (National Post, Jan. 8, 2014)
MEF Research Fellow Gary C. Gambill argues that sanctifying Iran's nuclear threshold status is more dangerous than provoking an overt nuclear breakout attempt.
Iran's Nukes and Israel's Dilemma (MEQ, Winter 2012)
Yoaz Hendel, formerly Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and now head of the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS), argues that Israel will "ultimately have to choose between launching an attack likely to spark a large-scale regional conflict and allowing Iran to go nuclear with dire long-term implications."
Saudis Bristle at Obama's Outreach to Iran (Washington Times, Dec. 3, 2013)
MEF President Daniel Pipes looks at the unprecedented scale of Saudi objections to the Obama administration's Iran nuclear policy.
The Gulf States in the Shadow of Iran (MEQ, Winter 2010)
Patrick Knapp argues that any compromise in the West's determination to roll back Iran's nuclear program will lead Arab Gulf states to "accommodate the Islamic Republic" and enable it to dictate their energy policies.
Questioning Riyadh's Nuclear Rationale (MEQ, Spring 2013)
Yoel Guzansky examines the embryonic nuclear program of Saudi Arabia, the "number one candidate for further nuclear proliferation in the Middle East" after Iran. While the Saudis have "nowhere near the level of indigenous technical capacity needed to produce, maintain, or deploy nuclear weapons," they have begun building their knowledge base and have the "requisite ideological and strategic motives" and "financial wherewithal" to progress rapidly should the West fail to roll back the Iranian nuclear program.
Will Riyadh Get the Bomb? (MEQ, Spring 2013)
Naser al-Tamimi examines Saudi nuclear policy, noting that the kingdom is "aggressively seeking to buy the civilian nuclear technology that will in the future provide the technical capacity and human resources for dealing with nuclear weapons."
Iran Goes Ballistic (MEQ, Winter 2015)
Yoel Guzansky, a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University, and Yiftah S. Shapir, head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies' Middle East Military Balance project, explain that Iran is "improving the missile accuracy and destructive power" of its ballistic missile arsenal and examine the air defense capabilities of leading Gulf Arab militaries.
A Limited Disclosure Nuclear Agreement with Iran: Promise or Peril? (FPRI, June 2014)
MEF Research Fellow Gary C. Gambill explains why the Obama administration's decision to stop demanding full Iranian transparency regarding past illicit activities makes any agreement untenable.
Seven Problems with John Kerry's Iranian Nuclear Clock (FPRI, Feb. 2015)
MEF Research Fellow Gary C. Gambill explains why Obama administration claims that an envisioned nuclear agreement with Iran will extend its "breakout time" from two months to a year are both tenuous and misleading.