Milani Speaks on Iran Nuclear Strategy

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Professor Abbas Milani of Stanford University engaged Georgia Tech students and faculty in a dialogue on Iran’s nuclear program on April 14, 2014. Professor Milani’s visit was sponsored by the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, with the nuclear program discussion facilitated by the Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP) and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. Nunn School Assistant Professor Margaret Kosal served as event moderator.

Milani argued that Iran’s pervasive interest in uranium enrichment is, contrary to the claims of the regime, motivated by the desire to obtain “breakout” capacity. Breakout capacity would allow Iran to leverage its civil nuclear program to quickly obtain a viable weapon in the event of a crisis. He characterized this as a ruinous strategy that has resulted in approximately one hundred billion dollars in sunk costs, endemic corruption and graft vis-à-vis a black market that exploits current sanctions against Iran, lost international prestige, squandered economic potential, and a significant brain and talent drain. Milani also held that a comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the West will remain elusive as it requires crafting a deal that both sides can claim as a political victory.    

Attendees asked Malini a range of pertinent questions on Iranian nuclear affairs, touching on points such as Iran’s role in the Middle East, the prospect of building trust with the West on nuclear matters, the rationality of the regime’s leadership, and the legacy of the Iran/Iraq War. Debate was often impassioned, with several members of Georgia Tech’s Iranian student community present.

Dr. Abbas Milani is the Hamid & Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and a Professor in the Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies. His expertise is in U.S.-Iran relations as well as Iranian, cultural, political, and security issues. He has published more than twenty books and two hundred articles. Among his books are Modernity and Its Foes in Iran (Gardon Press 1998), The Myth of the Great Satan (Hoover Institution Press 2010), and most recently, The Shah (Palgrave MacMillan 2011). Dr. Milani has also translated numerous articles into Persian and English.




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