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Iran's Nuclear Ambitions [Paperback]

Shahram Chubin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 6, 2006 0870032305 978-0870032301 1

Iran is aggressively seeking nuclear technology that could be used for making weapons —and its quest has set off alarms throughout the world. This widespread concern stems in part from Iran's uncertain intentions and recent history. Will it remain a revolutionary power determined to subvert its Sunni Arab neighbors, destroy Israel, and spread theocratic government to other lands? Or would an Iran with nuclear weapons merely defend its territory from foreign aggression and live in peace with its neighbors? Are the country's leaders and society willing to negotiate limits on nuclear capability and normalize relations with the West, or will they resist accommodation? Iran's Nuclear Ambitions provides a rare, balanced look into the motivations, perceptions, and domestic politics swirling around Iran. Shahram Chubin, an Iranian-born security expert, details the recent history of Iran's nuclear program and diplomacy. He argues that the central problem is not nuclear technology, but rather Iran's behavior as a revolutionary state, with ambitions that collide with the interests of its neighbors and the West. Topics include: The view from Tehran Iran's nuclear energy rationale, domestic politics, and decisionmaking Sources of concern, including the nature of Iran's regime, its nuclear infrastructure, missile development, and terrorism Iran's negotiating strategy The international response Iran and regional security, including the U.S. as a threat and rival, Iran's regional ambitions, and Israel Policy options


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A uniquely well-researched, well-documented and argued study on the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear project by one of the best experts on the subject. If solid analysis still has a chance to encourage a more sensible western policy, Chubin provides it here." —Christoph Bertram, former head of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs



"This short, sharp, balanced and informed book provides the necessary material not only to make sense of the current crisis over Iran's nuclear programme but also to follow it as it develops further over the coming months and years." —Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies, King's College, London



"The strategic and political determinants of Iran's nuclear policy are complicated and frequently misunderstood. Chubin's study is the definitive work on the subject and should be required reading for U.S. and European decision-makers as they struggle to prevent the Iranian bomb from becoming a reality." —Geoffrey Kemp, Regional Strategic Programs, The Nixon Center

About the Author

Shahram Chubin is director of studies at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He has published widely in foreign affairs journals, including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and Survival.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; 1 edition (September 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870032305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870032301
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,751,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief but to the point May 26, 2007
Format:Paperback
This is not so much a book as a long article. But it reveals more about what Iran thinks about the nuclear issue than any other work I have read recently. It is critical of the Iranian leadership but its assessment of their ambitions and goals is balanced and revealing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read August 11, 2007
By Dee Dee
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book on Iran's nuclear program. It is brief but gets the point accroos forcefully.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful book October 14, 2006
Format:Paperback
Plenty of nations have nuclear weapons. Why is it that some people are worried about Iran obtaining them? Part of the reason may be that the risk to everyone increases as more and more nations possess such weapons. But the author adds the following:

"In its refusal to dispense with the cult of victimhood, revolutionary rhetoric, and subversive acts and in its unwillingness to assume normal relations with others lies the origin of the reluctance of others to see Iran acquire a nuclear capability."

Of course, nations can change with time. A nation that behaves reasonably could change for the worse after it builds some nuclear weapons. Or it could change for the better. However, if Iran does not become more reasonable, the world will become a more dangerous place.

Is there a way to convince Iran to avoid becoming a nuclear power? According to the author, it would take some sort of threat to accomplish this. Absent an external threat, Iran will get nuclear weapons, it will remain "reflexively hostile to the United States and Israel," and it will use its nuclear weapons to elevate its "penchant for brinkmanship." That does not sound good, but I think we all need to be aware of it even if we have no plans to do anything about it.

Nuclear weapons are only part of the problem Iran poses for itself and for others. Still, Iran really might use nuclear weapons directly (say, against Israel) or transfer them to a terrorist group. The book has some recommendations about what we ought to do, but I think the point is that we need to think about it and make up our minds rather than simply ignore the problem.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise analysis of the situation June 3, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a very concise, short analysis of the book's title - Iran's nuclear ambitions. However, it's main flaw is that Chubin doesn't analyze the historical context, which I believe is essential to understanding Iran's current behavior. Otherwise, the book is an invaluable resource for understanding current events, and specifically, provides some of the best arguments for just why Iran shouldn't acquire nuclear capabilities.
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