Masters Thesis: Israel's Strategic Choice on Iran's Nuclear Program (May 2012)

While Israeli leaders frequently assert that “all options are on the table” regarding a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a unilateral strike is unlikely to materialize based on Israel’s strategic choice between pre-emption and acceptance laid out in this paper. A utility function assessing the costs and benefits of both choices demonstrates that acceptance of the Iranian nuclear program is clearly the better option than attempting to destroy it. This is due to four reasons: (1) a pre-emptive attack is unlikely to be successful, (2) Iran is very likely to retaliate after such an attack, (3) Iran possesses a significant non-nuclear arsenal for retaliation, and (4) the costs of a nuclear Iran, while significant, are not threatening enough to make a strike the better option.Click here to read the full paper


Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.