Iran's profund existential vulnerability to other nuclear weapon states would make them more susceptible to deterrence
[ Page 315-316 ]
Our findings also indicate, though, that Iran would become the world’s most existentially vulnerable NWS were it to go nuclear. This might still be viewed as an improvement over existing conditions for Iranian leaders, as Iran currently lacks the capability to pose reciprocal existential threats to those countries that threaten its existence. Yet, the relatively weak existential threats their nuclear arsenal would pose to most other NWSs besides Israel suggests that there would be limits to how emboldened the regime could become. Our analysis suggests that Iran likely would not obtain nearly as much security by going nuclear as it leaders may think. For the United States, one potential implication of our analysis is that traditional nuclear deterrence policies should work against Iran given its significant existential vulnerability.