The threat posed by Iran to international peace and security is approaching a crisis. After compiling a thirty-year record as the world’s most active supporter of terrorism, Iran seems determined to develop nuclear weapons. In Taking on Iran, Abraham D. Sofaer argues that US policy toward Iran cannot be restricted to a strategy based on the two costly and potentially ineffective options of attacking Iran’s nuclear program or containing a nuclear-armed Iran. Economic sanctions and ineffective diplomacy have failed to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear arms ambitions. Sofaer explains that the United States should add to the pressure on Iran, going beyond economic sanctions and responding forcefully to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aggression, increasing the likelihood that Iran will negotiate in earnest and enabling the United States to engage Iran in the disciplined manner required for success.
The author outlines thirty years of IRGC aggression and the corresponding thirty years of US weakness by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Drawing from experience in dealing with the Soviet Union during the Reagan administration, he demonstrates that combining strength and diplomacy is the option most likely to convince Iran to comply with international law without either the war necessary to end Iran’s nuclear program or the danger in attempting to contain Iran after it acquires nuclear weapons.