This Week’s Mtg: What Should We Do About Iran?

Speaking of fireworks and BBQs, yet another round of multilateral negotiations is underway, in Moscow, to try to reign in Iran’s nuclear program.  Both sides seem at a standoff already, and who knows if diplomacy can slow Iran’s progress?

So, what?  Is a nuclear-armed Iran a mortal threat to the United States?  To Israel?  Even if it’s not, is non-proliferation such an important principle that we cannot allow Iran to succeed at obtaining these weapons?  How far should we be willing to go to stop them?

On Thursday in our temporary classroom setting, I’ll quickly summarize where things stand: What it is that they are negotiating about, what tools we’re already trying (sanctions, covert), and what future actions we could take short of war.  Then, we can discuss what a non-nuclear Iran is worth to us.


  1. What is Iran really trying to do?  Deploy nukes?  Master the capability but stop short of deployment?  Gin up domestic support against the West to stay in power?
  2. What motivates them?  Wanting to get a deterrent to Israeli or U.S. attack?  To allow themselves to be more aggressive and destabilizing in the region without having to fear an attack?  Is there any chance they are telling the truth when they say they only want the technology, not the weapons?
  3. What efforts have we already tried?  Sanctions?  Covert action?
  4. Where do diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program stand?  How much cooperation by our allies and others (e.g., Russia) do we need and are we getting?
  5. How else could we pressure or incentivize Iran to cooperate, short of war?
  6. Will Israel attack Iran?  What is Israel’s “red line” and when might Iran cross it?
  7. Is this really that big a deal?  How could we live with a nuclear Iran?  How would this change the balance of power regionally – and the credibility of the nuclear non-proliferation regime?



3 responses

  1. Is this a separate meeting from the Monday group David?

    The schedule has a different topic.


  2. Is this an old meeting as the schedule shows a different topic. Thanks!

    1. Yes, this meeting was in 2012. For our latest meeting, see the sidebar column on the right on the main webpage, or click on the “Full Mtg Schedule” tab at the top. I’m about to post the introductory post for our meeting next Monday. It’s on the changing definition of Whiteness in American history – the same topic our Liberal Bookworms will do next month!

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