Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

Shahram Chubin Book September 5, 2006 Washington
The central problem with Iran is not its nuclear technology but rather Iran’s behavior as a revolutionary state with ambitions that collide with the interests of its neighbors and the West.
Related Topics

Iran alarms the world as it seeks nuclear energy technology that could be used to create weapons. The concern stems in part from Iran’s uncertain intentions and recent history. Does Iran 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 Iranian leaders and society willing to negotiate limits on nuclear capability and normalize relations with the West, or will they resist accommodation? 

Iranian-born Shahram Chubin provides a rare look into the motivations, perceptions, and domestic politics swirling around Iran. He narrates the recent history of Iran’s nuclear program and diplomacy, and 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.  

Shahram Chubin is nonresident senior associate in the Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was director of studies at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and has published widely in foreign affairs journals, including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and Survival.

Reviews for this publication

“A concise resource for anyone interested in understanding the current nuclear situation. As the world watches to see whether current diplomacy can resolve the issue, such understanding will only become more important.”
—The Middle East Journal

“Highly recommended.”

“Shahram Chubin provides a concise and insightful look into why Iran wants nuclear capability and how it intends to go about getting it.”
—The New Republic

“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 US and European decision-makers as they struggle to prevent the Iranian bomb from becoming a reality.”
Geoffrey Kemp, Director, Regional Strategic Programs, The Nixon Center

"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

"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 International Institute for Strategic Studies and  the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

“Shahram Chubin's account of Iran's nuclear ambitions is accurate, thorough and thoughtful. Its greatest merit is its emphasis that Iran's aims are above all political. That does not make them any less difficult or dangerous; but understanding this point is a good starting place for tackling the problem.
Robert Cooper, Director General for External and Politico-Military Affairs, Council of the European Union

“Dr Chubin has written a valuable study of Iran, its political development, its nuclear ambitions and its relations with America and the rest of the world. He offers much thoughtful and well-informed advice on how Iran should be managed and its nuclear ambitions held in at least some sort of check.”
The Rt Hon the Lord Patten of Barnes, CH, Chancellor, University of Oxford


End of document

Publication Resources

In Fact



of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


years ago

Carnegie began an internship program. Notable alumni include Samantha Power.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


million people killed

in Cold War conflicts.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.


new airports

are set to be built in China by 2015.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


million Russian citizens

are considered “ethnic Muslims.”

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
Carnegie Europe
Carnegie Europe Rue du Congrès, 15 1000 Brussels, Belgium Phone: +32 2 735 56 50 Fax: +32 2736 6222
Please note...

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.


您离开卡内基 - 清华全球政策中心网站,进入另一个卡内基全球网站。