This page is a “One-Stop Shopping” summary of my posts on Iran, which began with “The NIE is Dead” in February 2009, shortly after I began the Optimistic Conservative blog.
I also append links to some of the most important online resources I have found on Iran, and particularly developments with her nuclear program, and potential US and Israeli responses to it.
I will update this page with new links as the occasion arises.
Optimistic Conservative blog pieces on Iran
(In order of posting)
14 Feb 09 – Critical discussion of the 2007 Iran NIE
19 Feb 09 – First in a 3-part series on force options against Iran (covers mostly sanctions)
23 Feb 09 – Discussion of the merits of MAD, its effect on US policy in the Cold War, and its utility versus Iran
4 Mar 09 – Part 2 in the series, covers Israeli kinetic strike options
15 Mar 09 – Part 3 in the series, covers US kinetic strike options
5 May 09 – Discussion of the geographic implications of Iran’s campaign to destabilize other nations of the Middle East and North Africa
18 May 09 – Iran’s and Hizballah’s inroads in Latin America, far more extensive than most Americans know
21 May 09 – Key reflections on Iran’s extended-range Sejjil-2 missile launch
15 June 2009 – Discussion of policy options for the Iranian Green Revolution
17 June 2009 – Regional factors and implications with the Green Revolution
21 June 2009 – More on US options during the Green revolution
6 July 2009 – Potential “information” initiative by Israel and Saudi Arabia to send a pointed signal to Iran
21 July 2009 – Critique of do-nothing policy on Iran; contains updated intel on Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon
1 August 2009 – Obama policy as the operationalization of the Bushehr reactor neared
26 September 2009 – Problems with Obama’s “Qom (Fordo) Gambit”
11 February 2010 – Failures of US policy as the anniversary of the Islamic revolution looms
12 February 2010 – Discussion of alternative implications from Iran’s operation of fewer centrifuges in the main enrichment facility at Natanz
4 March 2010 – Discussion of potential reasons for Iran’s ostentatious movement of low-enriched uranium to the PFEP at Natanz
29 April 2010 – The Obama administration fudges on whether Iran has a paramilitary presence in Venezuela
18 May 2010 – Critique of Obama strategy for dealing with Iran
26 June 2010 – Regional factors and expectations in Iran’s decision not to send a flotilla to harass Israel
7 August 2010 – Bushehr being brought online as a geopolitical watershed in power alignments and perceptions of US power
14 August 2010 – Three-part essay on geopolitical factors and implications from the Bushehr reactor going online
15 August 2010
17 August 2010
10 September 2010 – New underground facility being constructed near Qazvin?
18 January 2011 – Criticism of media theme that Stuxnet and other Western efforts had stymied Iran’s nuclear progress
6 June 2011 – Apocalypticism and internal divisions in Iran’s leadership
8 June 2011 – Iran announced deployment of submarines to the Red Sea
14 June 2011 – Iran clarifies what she will do with nuclear weapons
15 August 2011 – Developments in competing Iranian and Turkish interests in Syria
20 September 2011 – Critique of the idea for a nuclear “hotline” between the US and Iran
20 October 2011 – Refutation of media theme that Iran’s uranium enrichment had slowed due to technical problems
9 November 2011 – Discussion of big IAEA report in November 2011; focuses on how old and well-known all the data points were
28 November 2011 – Critical discussion of reports on the event
30 November 2011 – The case against a Western government having sponsored a one-off attack on the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan
8 December 2011 – Discussion of the US drone reportedly recovered by the Iranians
9 December 2011 – Update on false media report that Esfahan uranium conversion facility had been attacked
5 February 2012 – Update on IRIN’s second swing through the Red Sea and EastMed
26 February 2012 – On Iran’s exploitation of “strategic ambiguity” about her nuclear weapons program and intentions
15 March 2012 – Discussion of the intel on the Parchin complex and the building where Iran probably conducted a nuclear-warhead detonator in 2003 or before
J.E. Dyer Iran pieces at other sites
Iran and the “Uranium Jerk” (Hot Air Green Room)
14 February 2010 – Summary discussion of Iran’s uranium processing “break” in 2009 and other factors
Iranian Nuclear Threat: Plan A Might not Be Working (Contentions)
6 December 2010 – Sanctions not deterring Iran’s nuclear aspirations
Iran: Calculus Changing for the “Force Option”? (Contentions)
28 December 2010 – How Iran is closing off US military options in the Gulf region
Other TOC pieces with Iranian content
9 Feb 09 – Somali piracy problem in regional context, including hegemonic aspirations of Russia, China, and Iran
11 Feb 09 – Looks at the NATO logistics problem of Afghanistan in regional context, including Iran’s role in “solutions”
6 Apr 09 – Somalia’s continuing crisis, including Iran’s interest there and the power position of chokepoint proximity
29 Apr 09 – Possible Israeli interdiction of Iranian arms shipments to Hamas via Sudan Eritrea
3 May 09 – Discussion of preemption policy: considers Iraq, Iran
Institute for Science and International Security website on Iran:
Careful, reliable analysis of the Iranian sites and developments there. Excellent resource for links to IAEA reporting. Authors are opposed to kinetic strikes on Iran. The only weakness I find at this site is that when the analysts discuss kinetic options, they do not make explicit the restrictive assumptions they are using – assumptions that do not represent the actual capabilities of US forces, in particular, or that are unrealistic. Bottom line: trustworthy resource for information on the Iranian program, less so regarding analysis of force options against Iran.
Exceptionally comprehensive list of links useful to researching Iran’s nuclear programs using online resources. Avowedly non-partisan site; links are overwhelmingly information, not editorial.
Congressional Research Service report on Iran’s nuclear program 2007
Good basic primer with overview maps.
Rethinking Our Approach to Iran’s Search for the Bomb
Anthony Cordesman: a timely and important update (May 2012) on the current potential for Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and how Western governments may be missing the policy mark.
Bipartisan Policy Center analysis of US options versus Iran’s nuclear program:
Sep 2008 document. Washington policy think tank; analysis task force co-chaired by Dan Coats and Charles Robb. Very long and comprehensive. Contains much boilerplate about “robust diplomacy” and discussion of sanctions, but also acknowledges that kinetic strikes are a militarily feasible option. Discusses probable Iranian responses at a one-dimensional level. Of interest overall as a mainstream think tank product with the endorsement of retired Senators from both political parties.
Anthony Cordesman’s (CSIS) analysis of US/Israeli force options against Iran:
In-depth and accurate. Typically (with Cordesman), less optimistic than the McInerney piece below, but acknowledges feasibility of large-scale strikes. Good for anyone who wants to consider potential operations weapon system by weapon system.
Ret. USAF LtGen Thomas McInerney discusses US airstrike options against Iran:
Brief, punchy outline of a potential large-scale strike campaign, very much “Air Force” in character. More optimistic than I would be about length of time required to do the described damage, but reliable in terms of targeting approach and weapon systems involved.
MIT analysis of kinetic requirements to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities:
Very good, thorough analysis. Should be especially so to those who would like to understand some of the important aspects of kinetic targeting. Analysts overestimate the number of weapons that would be considered necessary by targeteers for some applications, but in general make accurate assumptions about the kind of weapon that should be used.
Air Combat Information Group treatment of Iran targeting problem:
From 2003. Now a little outdated in terms of identification of Iranian targets, but a superb description of the target analysis problem, one that gives an excellent sense of how air targeteers approach the Iran nuclear facilities.