The Heritage Foundation recently published an in-depth study of the Iranian nuclear threat and what the United States should do the “Day After” Iran goes nuclear. Iran currently has the “largest ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East,” and they have the capability of reaching US bases, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and an increasing number of US allies in the region with those missiles. The situation is exacerbated as Iran test fires its missiles in the face of Obama’s offer for improved relations. Iran’s utter disregard for “getting along” with the West is clear, and makes them that much more of a threat as they get closer to going nuclear.
The report comes out at a key time in Iranian politics; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is up for reelection on June 12th and is facing off with three key challengers. His competitors are all said to be more accommodating to the West than Ahmadinejad, but incumbents in Iran normally do not lose reelection.
Regardless of who wins, the United States needs to be prepared to deal with the possibility of a nuclear Iran, and we need to have a plan in place before that happens. Making things up as we go is not a good basis for foreign policy.. This report by Heritage lays out a thorough blueprint of the first days and months after Iran goes nuclear, and policy makers dealing with these issues should take these recommendations seriously:
1. Adopt a “protect and defend” strategy aimed at neutralizing Iran’s nuclear threat.
2. Take concrete steps to underscore that the United States will respond with devastating force if Tehran launches a nuclear attack against the United States or a U.S. ally.
3. Mobilize an international coalition to contain and deter a nuclear Iran.
4. Make clear American willingness to block Iranian oil exports.
5. Review contingency plans for a possible preventive strike to disarm Iran.
6. Lead an international coalition to impose the strongest possible sanctions on the Iranian regime.
7. Strengthen Proliferation Security Initiative efforts against Iran.
8. Launch a public diplomacy campaign to explain to the Iranian people how the regime’s nuclear weapons program and hard-line policies hurt their economic and national interests.
9. Discourage other states from seeking their own nuclear arms.
10. Refuse to give up on efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear capability.