The Iranian Nuclear Bomb


Part 1: Iran Accelerates Nuclear Program | The Iran Primer

By Adnan Qaiser    6 August 2022

Those who do not see the writing on the wall either suffer from short-sightedness or remain blinded by their self interests.

The proclamation by an aide of Iran’s Supreme leader about Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb on July 17, 2022 should come as no surprise.[1] Such bravado had been corroborated by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, Rafael Grossi, who feared having “very limited visibility [into the] Iranian nuclear program;” which is “galloping ahead.”[2]

For years, saner voices had been warning about Iran’s real intentions behind acquiring nuclear technology. Notwithstanding the rhetoric of its official denials, matching a nuclear Israel by creating a strategic balance of power in the region and safeguarding its security interests in the Middle East has always been Iranian regime’s prime objective.

The world conveniently forgets the history of half a century old Iran’s nuclear program marked by covert operations and surreptitious nuclear pursuits at extremely high financial costs pointing towards a clandestine goal of becoming a nuclear power.[3]

However, owing to a multi-polar world; a double Cold War in the shape of great-power competition among the U.S., Russia and China;[4] Middle East’s incessant turmoil; and weak political will and economic interests (oil) of European countries, Iran successfully found a caveat in international resolve to further its nuclear ambition and achieve nuclear weapon capability.

Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Pursuit

Seeing the Iran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 under Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015,[5] I had noted: “The agreement will ultimately prove to be a bad deal, allowing Iran to effectively become a nuclear capable country, much like Germany and Japan. Iran will remain ‘a screwdriver’s turn away from the [nuclear] bomb,’[6] to quote Pakistan’s former president, General Zia-ul-Haq, after the country successfully cold-tested what was called an “Islamic Bomb” in the 1980s.[7] Expecting a change in behaviour from Iran after it hid its nuclear sites at Parchin and Natanz from IAEA, to say nothing of its frequent bold-face lies about its nuclear program, amounts to trusting devil quoting from Holy Scripture.”[8]

I further observed: “It won’t be long until the world sees Iran’s true intentions on the nuclear deal. Soon each and every clause of JCPOA’s comprehensive document would begin to be interpreted differently by the Iranian officials – who are known to be headstrong and obdurate negotiators – nullifying international efforts and current bonhomie in some sections. An Iranian bomb, though unacceptable, remains unstoppable in a polarized world.”[9]

Thus, declaring it “horrible [and] one-sided,” even if President Trump had not rescinded from the nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, Iran would have found some loophole to acquire nuclear device making technology.[10]

Dr. A.Q. Khan’s notorious nuclear black-market network had shown how eagerly Iran – along with Libya and North Korea – had been buying nuclear bomb making expertise from Pakistan’s rogue nuclear scientist for years.[11]

Pakistan’s role in the development of Iran’s nuclear program during the early stages remains suspect and controversial. Despite being a Muslim country, a nuclear Iran greatly threatens the security interests of Pakistan. Yet, either out of its Muslim brotherhood fraternity or due to avarice and economic constraint, Pakistan “provided the Chinese (P-1 and P-2) drawings of centrifuges, a few prototypes and the layout for a full uranium enrichment plant” to Iran, as alleged by David Sanger in his book, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenge to American Power.

Sanger further notes that A.Q. Khan’s network got the Iranians in touch with the nuclear black market, thereby helping “another Muslim state break the American and Israeli stranglehold on nuclear technology.” Pakistan likely abetted nuclear proliferation under the duress of crippling US economic sanctions in the late 1980s and 1990s. Sanger quotes Pakistan’s former army chief, General Mirza Aslam Beg for threatening the U.S. “to sell nuclear technology to Iran if [the American] arms supply was cut off.” The general also pressed the then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto “to strike a US$4 billion nuclear deal with Iran in exchange for money and oil.”[12]

International Community’s Failure

The world, especially the U.S., is culpable for allowing the Iranian Mullahs to consolidate their hold on power for the past 43 years to reach a stage where Iran is now threatening the region. Had the economic sanctions continued, it would not have taken long for the repressive theocratic regime to buckle down under its public pressure.[13]

Alleged for regime-changes around the world, the U.S. failed fair and square in Iran since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.[14] Despite trying – half-heartedly – through the eight-year Iraq-Iran War (September 22, 1980 to August 20, 1988),[15] U.S. did not make any concerted effort to uphold democracy in Iran, essentially throwing the hapless pro-West Iranian citizens to a hardline theocratic state.

While President Obama’s nuclear deal gave the Iran’s political clergy a lease of life, President Biden’s decrepitude grants them a carte blanche to not only keep repressing the Iranian population but also threaten regional peace and security with impunity.[16]

Senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mario Loyola, noted in The Atlantic: “After Iran’s turn from ally to enemy in 1978, the U.S. pursued a de facto Iran policy of containment, similar to the U.S. approach to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Starting with the Obama Administration, however, U.S. policy has seesawed between appeasement and confrontation, leading to a dangerously volatile situation.”[17]

But as I had noted in my YouTube presentation on Islamic Radicalism; since the Iranian Revolution of February 1979, America became too wary of local sentiments in the streets of Middle East.[18] The volatility, and unpredictability, of Arabs had been the sole reason behind President Obama’s denial of support to the Arab Spring in 2011, which remains a blemish on his legacy.[19]

 The Valayet-e-Faqih’s Stranglehold

During the Iranian Revolution it was the people who were hell-bent on committing Harakiri and handing over their destiny to fanatic Mullahs, who have ruled them since with iron-fist – though in the name of (sham) democracy.[20] Notwithstanding the rhetoric of moderates[21] and reformists[22] challenging the hardliners in the Iranian polity, only a coterie of select clerics wield and exercise power in reality.[23]

The Iranian Revolution hijacked by the clerics was, in fact, a citizen revolt against the existing state order, which the people had found absolute (totalitarian), oppressive and illegitimate.[24] Just to get rid of an autocrat monarch (Shah of Iran), the moderate, liberal, West-oriented, and futuristic Iranians let a group of thug clergy seize power – instead of someone with true democratic credentials, like Iran’s beloved prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who was deposed from power through a CIA-sponsored four-day coup in August 1953.[25]

Consequently, the Mullahs – just like Afghan Taliban – muffled people’s voice, regulated their attire, and reigned over them with tyranny and brute force. Using the ploy of religion – especially the bogey of persecution and marginalization at the hands of majority Sunnis in the region[26] – the Shiite Mullahs established Vilayet-e-Faqih that remains protected by radical Revolutionary Guards, Quds Force and paramilitary Basij Force.

The Vilayat-e-Faqih or Absolute Guardianship of the Jurist system is a complex arrangement with several governing bodies such as Islamic Republic’s Guardian Council, Assembly of Experts, and Expediency Council – all hostile and mutually distrustful to each other and embattled in a perpetual power tug-of-war. These elected and unelected representatives oversee each other to protect the virtues – and longevity – of the Islamic Revolution.[27] Iran continues to be condemned by rights groups internationally for its poor human rights record and repression of its citizens,[28] sometimes incarcerating those who visit the Islamic republic.[29]

A Menacing and Inflated Military

Furthermore, Iran’s military strength and its posturing represent a threat to its neighbours. One need only look at over 2 million strong Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, special Quds Force and paramilitary Basij force, as well as its regular Artesh forces to understand Iranian regime’s insecurity and its pugnacious stance.

Iran’s belligerence is not only manifested in its provocations and threatening posture in the Persian Gulf[30] but also in its symbolic show of force in the North Atlantic Ocean in January 2014.[31] Iran’s capture of 15 British sailors in Shatt-ul-Arab in March 2007;[32] conducting live rocket tests near U.S. naval warships including USS Harry Truman in December 2015;[33] and its live demonstration of sinking a naval vessel in the Strait of Hormuz – threatening to disrupt the supply of 40 percent of world oil if its nuclear sites were attacked – constitute as acts of aggression that threat global security.[34] Finally, Iran’s supply of arms to Shiite Houthis in Yemen[35] and its spectacular swarm-drone-attack at Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO oil installations on September 14, 2019 – with plausible deniability – confirm Iran’s regional hegemonic designs.[36]

From Fossil Fuel to Nuclear Arms Race

It is questionable as to why Iran is pursuing nuclear energy when other countries like Japan and Germany are phasing-out technology considered hazardous for the mankind after the Fukushima Daiichi Tsunami on March 11, 2011,[37] Chernobyl accident on April 26, 1986[38] and other nuclear disasters in the world history.[39]

Iran’s energy resources, with proven oil reserves standing at 257 billion barrels and natural gas reserves of 1,193 trillion cubic feet, not only meet the country’s domestic demand but also leave enough for exports, during which alternate (renewable) sources of energy such as solar and wind-power could be developed.[40]

In this backdrop, granting nuclear technology to Iran endangers global peace and security. Regional countries, rightly alarmed, have already felt compelled to obtain nuclear weapon technology for counterbalance purposes.

Saudi Arabia has already begun working on its nuclear program.[41] Having signed a nuclear power agreement with Russia in June 2015,[42] Saudi Arabia has also reportedly placed a nuclear weapon order from Pakistan[43] – a country surviving on Saudi handouts.[44] Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, warned in an interview with CNN, “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia will take whatever measures are necessary in order to protect its security. There are two things over which we do not negotiate: our faith and our security.”[45]

United Arab Emirates, on the other hand is already speeding ahead with its own nuclear program.[46] In a mad rush of affluent Arab monarchies pursuing nuclear weaponry,[47] experts have already begun referring to the Persian Gulf region as “Nuclear Gulf.”[48]

A Divergent Worldview on Iran

However, owing to divergent worldview on Iran (read: economic interests) between America and its European allies, the West squandered the opportunities to bring an internal change in Iran by:[49]

1) Imposing prohibitive political and economic penalties on the Iranian leadership – especially on its nuclear pursuit

2) Supporting the grassroots pro-democracy movement in Iran, and

3) Mobilizing the neighbouring Arab states to form a robust platform against the theocratic regime, which the U.S. President George Bush had noted in his January 29, 2002’s State of the Union address as part of an “Axis of Evil.”[50]

In one of my television talk-shows discussing the sabotage of Iranian nuclear plant at Natanz on April 12, 2021, I pointed out U.S.’ difference of opinion with its European allies over Iran due to one factor: inexpensive oil (my condemnation of Iran’s nuclear program got me banned from Pakistan Television as it probably ran contrary to state policy).[51]

I underlined that the reason behind success of British Empire in Napoleonic Wars (1793 to 1815) was its staunch alliance with Austria, Prussia, Holland, Spain and Russia. Whereas the European allies began to have misgivings against the U.S. owing to the impetuous and impulsive foreign policy decisions of President Bush followed by President Trump.[52] Europe’s alliance in America’s ignominious “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan further brought chasm in Trans-Atlantic partnership.[53]

The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on January 1, 2020 under President Trump’s orders remains a foolish mistake by the U.S.[54] Never been short of diehard Soleimanis, the Iranian regime not only quickly replaced him with Soleimani’s deputy, Esmail Ghaani (for the continuation of proxy war policy),[55] but also demonstrated to its people and to the world at large about the failure of U.S.’ compellence (a nuclear term to change target’s behaviour) in deterring Iran.[56] Iran’s ballistic missiles attack at American base in Iraq’s Erbil on January 8, 2020 – duly sparing the troops from any harm – manifested Iran’s revenge at the loss of their patriot martyr.[57]

Impediments in Stopping a Nuclear Iran

Iran has taken a leaf from Pakistan’s playbook, when under the height of Afghan Jihad against former Soviet Union during the 1980s; Pakistan sped up its nuclear program. Having “cold tested” a nuclear device, the country had virtually become a nuclear power by December 1984, albeit without an overt nuclear explosion.[58] India too had been pulling wool over the world’s eyes before coming out of the closet with its five nuclear tests in May 1998.[59]

Thus, despite a U.S.’ reckoning about Iran’s real intentions of building a bomb, Europe’s dithering[60] and international community’s wrangling remains unable to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.[61]

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors’ resolution on June 8, 2022, censuring Iran for removing the security cameras[62] and lack of cooperation with the IAEA inspectors by a vote of 30 out of 35 demonstrates a global consensus; yet a chasm in international resolve too with Russia and China opposing the resolution and India abstaining.[63]

There are multiple impediments in stopping Iran from becoming a nuclear power:

1) First of all, the Biden Administration stays in two minds as how to deal with Iran. Its pursuit of nuclear talks in Vienna for JCPOA’s revival albeit with added restrictions on one hand along with lukewarm threats to militarily stop Iran give confounding message to the world.[64]

2) Secondly, the European allies remain loathe to any military means. Their rout-out in Iraq and Afghanistan wars[65] along with global inflation and severe energy crisis due to Russia’s Ukraine invasion give them cold feet for any new military adventure in the Middle East – with unknown repercussions.

3) Third, having endured U.S. Democrats’ antagonism towards the autocratic regimes since Obama presidency, the Gulf countries remain shy of trusting America again as their resolute strategic partner standing along with them through thick and thin in the future.[66] However, having been encircled by a Shiite Crescent – starting from Turkic Shias of Azerbaijan, Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas, Saudi Arabia’s Shaykhis Shias, Iraqi Twelver Shias, Bahrain’s Akhbari Shias and Yemen’s Zaidi Shias – Gulf monarchies remain wary of an ascendant and aggressive Iran as a threat to their security and power. Thus, it is not surprising to see a meeting of minds through a developing Arab-Israeli axis against Iran.[67]

4) Fourth, with the renewed Cold War in the shape of “great power competition” among the U.S., Russia and China, Iran has found room to manoeuvre and achieve its nuclear bomb making expertise.[68] Russia’s Ukraine invasion and China’s likely annexation of Taiwan keep U.S. preoccupied with Eastern Europe and Indo-Pacific rather than Persian Gulf. Besides bragging about its 2021’s 25-year Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement with China,[69] Iran made full use of President Putin’s[70] and President Erdogan’s[71] visit to Iran on July 19, 2022 to underscore its global weight and to warn against any military adventurism.

5) Lastly, taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities – estimated to be spread out to dozens of places – through aerial strikes is fraught with danger.[72] It would escalate the conflict to unknown proportions. The scenario makes me recall a quote of former U.S. vice president, Dick Cheney, who upon a suggestion on Israeli air strikes at Iran’s nuclear installations chillingly asked, “Who would clean the mess, the next day?”[73]

In the abovementioned TV talkshow, I had noted that through its Shiite influence as well as non-state-proxies, Iran’s Weltanschauung takes the war away from its borders.[74] The way Tehran forced Washington to leave Iraq[75] by attacking the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019[76] besides repeatedly firing rockets at U.S. bases in Iraq by its proxy militia called Popular Mobilization Force (PMS),[77] Iran plans to keep the region destabilized and under its control.[78]

Furthermore, by fraternizing with the Sunni Taliban to expel the U.S. from Afghanistan demonstrated Tehran’s ability to befriend an enemy’s enemy. It was the same Taliban against whom Iran was going to war after the killing of its 11 civilians including nine diplomats at Mazar-e-Sharif in August 1998.[79]

The unceremonious exit of U.S. forces in Iraq engaged in Operation Inherent Resolve against al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)[80] along with its ignominious failure in Afghanistan War keep the world volatile and prone to terrorism.

While a majority of Shias believing in “Twelver Imams” (Ithna Ashari Shias) vested religious authority in their senior clerical leaders, called Ayatollahs (Arabic for “sign of God”), Iraqi Shias never subscribed to the Iranian Vilayet-e-Faqih. Yet, under the notion of Shiite guardianship,[81] Iran remains entrenched in Iraq since the 8-year Iraq-Iran War during the 1980s.

The present conflict between Iraq’s popular religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr challenging the growing influence of Iranian militia in Iraqi society as well as polity[82] demonstrates Iraq’s frustration with Iran’s meddling into its neighbour’s internal affairs.[83]

By keeping Iraq and Yemen unstable[84] besides threatening the Gulf countries with “swarm attacks” like the Saudis experienced on their oil installations on September 14, 2019, Iran has kept its adversaries on a back foot.[85]


Despite reading Tehran’s mind clearly and realizing “highly unlikelihood” of a nuclear deal,[86] Washington remains unable to gather its allies onboard. Devoid of policy options U.S. keeps blowing hot and cold on Iran’s lack of nuclear cooperation.[87] Europe’s own preoccupation with Russia’s threat in Ukraine discourages NATO allies to undertake any military intervention in Iran to take out its nuclear installations – which have been buried under hardened silos in line with Iran’s ancient culture. A senior Iranian diplomat in Canada once told me how Iranians had smartly hid their ancient scriptures, art manuscripts and scholarship books under mountains when Alexander the Great invaded the Persian Empire in 334 BC.[88]

British MI6 chief, Richard Moore has although warned at the Aspen Security Forum on July 21, 2022[89] about Iran’s intention of dragging the talks inconclusively;[90] yet EU vainly hopes to revive a dead-and-doomed JCPOA.[91] Meanwhile Iran’s uranium enrichment reaches 60%.[92] Soon it would be impossible to roll it back.

In this backdrop, the dropping of bombshell about Iran’s ability to build a nuclear device by Kamal Kharrazi, a former Iranian foreign minister and aide to Supreme leader sends a loud-and-clear message to the world about Iran’s commitment to becoming a nuclear power at all cost.[93]

For years, U.S. policy in containing – or converting – Iranian regime into a responsible state has remained unsuccessful. From Obama’s appeasement to Trump’s coercion[94] to Biden’s dithering, none could stop Iran in its nuclear tracks. It is time the international community shows its resolve in preventing Iran from building its “Iranian Bomb” that not only annihilates the Persian Gulf but the whole Middle East.

We know what happens to people who stay in two minds in the middle of a road; they get run over.

Adnan Qaiser is an international affairs expert having had a distinguished career in the armed forces as well as international diplomacy. He can be reached at: and Tweets @adnanqaiser01. Views are personal and do not represent any institutional thought.


[1] Khamenei adviser says Iran ‘capable of building nuclear bomb’, France24, Jul 17, 2022

[2] Reuters, Iran’s nuclear programme is ‘galloping ahead’, IAEA chief says, France24, Jul 22, 2022

[3] The covert history of Iran’s nuclear program is marked by enormous financial costs, unpredictable risks, and unclear motivations.

Ali Vaez,  Karim Sadjadpour, Iran’s Nuclear Odyssey: Costs and Risks, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Apr 02, 2013

[4] Mathew BurrowsRobert A. Manning, The U.S. Can’t Afford a Double Cold War, Foreign Policy, Mar 28, 2022

[5] Kali Robinson, What Is the Iran Nuclear Deal?, Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, July 20, 2022

Also see:

(2) The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at a Glance, Arms Control Association, Mar 2022

[6] Declan Walsh, Ex-US diplomat blames Israel for Pakistani dictator’s death, The Guardian, Dec 5, 2005

See also:

(2) Pervez Hoodbhoy, Scientists and An Atomic SubcontinentBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Feb 12, 2013

[7] PAKISTAN: The Islamic Bomb, TIME, Jul 9, 1979,33009,920461,00.html

[8] Factbox: Timeline Of The Iranian Nuclear Dispute, REFL, Aug 11, 2005

[9] Can the IAEA Tell if Iran Cheats?
Teresa Welsh, Monitoring Iran: A Hopeless Task?, US News, July 24, 2015

[10] Anthony Zurcher, Three reasons behind Trump ditching Iran deal, BBC World, May 8, 2018

See also:

(2) Julian BorgerSaeed Kamali Dehghan, and Oliver Holmes, Iran deal: Trump breaks with European allies over ‘horrible, one-sided’ nuclear agreement, The Guardian, May 9, 2018

[11] Michael Laufer, A. Q. Khan Nuclear Chronology, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sept 07, 2005

Also see:

(2) Dr Aaron Arnold and Darya Dolzikova​, AQ Khan is Dead – Long Live the Proliferation Network, RUSI, Oct 15, 2021

[12] David Sanger, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenge to American Power, Three Rivers Press, 2009, pp. 36-37

[13] Suzanne Maloney, The Iranian Revolution at Forty, Brookings Institute, February 25, 2020

[14] Reuters, Former US NSA John Bolton admits to planning attempted foreign coups, Dawn, July 13, 2022

[15] Ranj Alaaldin, How the Iran-Iraq war will shape the region for decades to come, Brookings Institute, Oct 9, 2020

Also see:

(2) Iran-Iraq War September 22, 1980 to Aug 16, 1990, Encyclopaedia Britannica

[16] Mara Karlin, Three key insights for US policy in light of recent escalation with Iran, Brookings Institute, Jan 29, 2020

[17] Mario Loyola, Obama Should Never Have Appeased Iran, The Atlantic, Jan 20, 2020

[18] Adnan Qaiser (Author), Root Causes – Segment-C, Root Causes of Islamic Radicalism and Religious Terrorism, Islamic Radicalism, YouTube, Oct 3, 2020

[19] Michelle Bentley, Arab Spring: when the US needed to step up, it stood back – now, all eyes are on Biden, The Conversation, Feb 11, 2021

[20] Homa Katouzian, The Iranian Revolution of February 1979, The Middle East Institute, Jan 29, 2009

[21] Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Amin Naeni, What explains the decline of Iran’s moderates? It’s not Trump, Brookings Institute, Jun 15, 2020

[22] (1) Maral Karimi, The irrelevance of Iran’s reformists, Al-Jazeera, Dec 23, 2019

Also see:

(2) Suzanne Maloney, The Legacy of Reform in Iran, Sixteen Years Later, Markaz, Brookings Institute, May 23, 2013
(3) Mehdi Khalaji, What Does It Mean To Be a Reformist in Iran?, Policy Analysis, PolicyWatch 2583, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mar 10, 2016

[23] Iran presidential election: Hardliners dominate approved candidates list, BBC World, May 25, 2021

Also see:

(2) Factbox: Iran’s hardline rulers see missile systems as vital deterrent, Reuters, Jul 15, 2022

[24] Homa Katouzian, The Iranian Revolution of February 1979, The Middle East Institute, Jan 29, 2009

[25] Lawrence Wu and Michelle Lanz, How The CIA Overthrew Iran’s Democracy In 4 Days, NPR, Feb 7, 2019

[26] The Sunni-Shia Divide: A CFR InfoGuide Presentation, Council on Foreign Relations!/

[27] Kasra Aarabi, What Is Velayat-e Faqih? Explainer, Tony Blair Institute of Global Change, Mar 20, 2019

[28] Iran: Events of 2020, Human Rights Watch

[29] Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Washington Post’s Tehran reporter and three other journalists arrested in Iran, The Guardian, Jul 25, 2014

[30] Nicholas Carl, The growing Iranian threat around the Strait of Hormuz, Critical Threat, Sept 22, 2020

Jeremy Vaughan, Deterring Iranian Provocations at Sea, Policy Analysis, PolicyWatch 2685, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Sept 12, 2016

[31] Zachary Keck, Iran’s Navy Deploys to Atlantic Ocean, The Diplomat, Jan 22, 2014

[32] Simon Henderson, Gulf Challenge: Iran’s Seizure of British Naval Personnel, Policy Analysis, PolicyWatch 1214, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mar 26, 2007

[33] Iran conducts ‘provocative’ live rocket tests near US ships, BBC World, Dec 30, 2015

[34] Thomas Erdbrink, Iran’s Navy Blasts Away at a Mock U.S. Carrier, The New York Times, Feb 25, 2015
Also see:

Franz-Stefan Gady, In A2/AD Showcase, Iranian Navy Sinks Nimitz Carrier Mock-Up, The Diplomat, Feb 28, 2015

[35] Yara BayoumyPhil Stewart, Exclusive: Iran steps up weapons supply to Yemen’s Houthis via Oman – officials, Reuters, Oct 20, 2016

[36] David Connett, Drone attacks on Saudi plant could hit global oil supplies, The Guardian, Sept 15, 2019

[37] Ivana Kottasova, Interactive: How Fukushima changed world’s attitudes to nuclear power, CNN, Mar 12, 2014

See also:

(2) Fukushima disaster: What happened at the nuclear plant?, BBC World, Mar 10, 2021

[38] Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

[39] The five worst nuclear disasters in history, Process Industry Forum

[40] Iran: Analysis – Energy Sector Highlights, U.S. Energy Information Administration, July 20, 2021

[41] Saudi Arabia, Nuclear Threat Index

[42] Reuters, Saudi Arabia, Russia sign nuclear power cooperation deal, Dawn, June 19, 2015

[43] Mark Urban, Saudi nuclear weapons ‘on order’ from Pakistan, BBC World, Nov 6, 2013

[44] Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to discuss extending term of $3b loan, France24, May 1, 2022

[45] Alexandra Jaffe, Saudi Ambassador to U.S. won’t rule out building nukes, CNN, Mar 27, 2015

[46] Patricia Sabga, Nuclear Gulf: Experts sound the alarm over UAE nuclear reactors, Al-Jazeera, Jul 15, 2015

[47] Kingston Reif, Saudi Arabia Threatens to Seek Nuclear Weapons, Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association, June 2018

[48] Patricia Sabga, Nuclear Gulf: Is Saudi Arabia pushing itself into a nuclear trap?, Al-Jazeera, Jul 21, 2020

[49] Michael Young, Can the Islamic Republic Change?, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 09, 2021

[50] Jaime Fuller, The 4th best State of the Union address: “Axis of evil”, The Washington Post, Jan 25, 2014
Also see:
(2) Andrew Glass, President Bush cites ‘axis of evil,’ Jan. 29, 2002, Politico, Jan 29, 2019

[51] Iran says key Natanz nuclear facility hit by ‘sabotage’, BBC World, Apr 12, 2021

[52] Adnan Qaiser’s (Author) TV Talk-show Participation discussing U.S. President Biden’s decision to delay troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and sabotage at Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz in Pakistan Television (PTV) World’s talk-show “News Room” on April 14, 2021

Edited Version (13:22):

[53] Missy Ryan, As Biden touts an end to America’s ‘forever’ wars, conflicts drag on out of sight, The Washington Post, Sept. 22, 2021

[54] Adam Entous and Evan Osnos, Annals of covert Action, Qassem Suleimani And How Nations Decide To Kill, The New Yorker, 10 Feb 2020 Issue, 3 Feb 2020

[55] Iran Has Already Replaced Soleimani, Here Is Everything We Know About Esmail Ghaani, Haaretz, Jan 7, 2020

Also see:

(2) Iran names deputy Quds Force commander to replace Soleimani after killing, Reuters, 3 Jan 2020

[56] Tom Nichols, Iran’s Smart Strategy, Defence One, Jan 10, 2020

[57] Iran carried out a ballistic missile attack on air bases housing US forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani.

Iran attack: US troops targeted with ballistic missiles, BBC World, Jan 8, 2020

[58] Yossi Melman, Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb Tells Just How Easy It Is, Haaretz, Sept 17, 2009

See also:

(2) On India’s Border, A Huge Mock War, by Steven R. Weisman, The New York Times, 6 Mar 1987

[59] Michael Krepon, Looking Back: The 1998 Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Tests, Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association

[60] Now is decision time if we are to save the Iran nuclear deal, European Union External Action, Jul 28, 2022

[61] Comfort EroRichard Atwood, 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2022, Foreign Policy, Dec 29, 2021

[62] AFP, Iran’s removal of cameras may deal ‘fatal blow’ to nuclear talks, warns IAEA, Dawn, June 10, 2022

[63] NPT safeguards agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors on 8 June 2022, IAEA, GOV/2022/34, Jun 8, 2022

See also:

(2) Emine Gözde Toprak, IAEA Passed the Resolution Against Iran, IRAM Centre for Iranian Studies in Ankara, Jun 10, 2022

[64] Raffi Berg and Tom Bateman, Biden: US prepared to use force to stop Iran getting nuclear arms, BBC News, Jul 14, 2022

[65] Jeff Seldin, US Military Admits Afghan War Was ‘Strategic Failure’, Voice of America, Sept 28, 2021

[66] Occasional Paper examines the perceptions of Iran and the six GCC states of the interaction between the Iranian nuclear issue and regional security dynamics in the Gulf.

Dr Tobias Borck and Darya Dolzikova​, Chain Reactions: The Iranian Nuclear Programme and Gulf Security Dynamics, RUSI, Jul 18, 2022


[67] Reuters, Arab-Israel axis pushes Iran to redouble N-talks effortsDawn, July 1, 2022

[68] Cormac Smith, To What Extent Is ‘Great Power Competition’ A Threat to Global Security?, E International Relations, May 4, 2022

[69] The agreement was signed last year and includes economic, military and security cooperation.

Maziar Motamedi, Iran says 25-year China agreement enters implementation stage, Al-Jazeera, Jan 15, 2022

Also see:

(2) Iran may be forced to “Look East” in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, but the Chinese government continues to look in many directions at once.

William Figueroa, China and Iran Since the 25-Year Agreement: The Limits of Cooperation, The Diplomat, Jan 17, 2022

[70] Reuters, Putin visits Iran on first trip outside Russia since Ukraine war, Dawn, July 19, 2022

[71] Agencies, Russia, Turkiye, Iran vow to ‘eliminate terrorists’ in SyriaDawn, July 20, 2022

[72] Iran’s key nuclear sites, BBC World, Jul 14, 2015

Also see:

(2) Table of Iranian Nuclear Sites and Related Facilities, Iran Watch, Mar 31, 2021

[73] Anthony H. Cordesman, Israeli and US Strikes on Iran: A Speculative Analysis, Rough Working Draft, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 5 Mar 2007

[74] Ranj Alaaldin, To save Iraq from economic collapse and fight ISIS, contain Iran’s proxies, Brookings Institute, Feb 17, 2021

[75] US combat forces to leave Iraq by end of year, BBC, 27 Jul 2021

See also:

(2) Jonathan Gorvett, Fears of another ‘forever war’ disaster in Iraq, Asia Times, Aug 25, 2021

[76] Kimberley Dozier,, “Benghazi Definitely Crossed Everyone’s Mind”: The Inside Story of the U.S. Embassy Attack in Baghdad, TIME, Sept 2, 2020

[77] Tamer Badawi, Iraq’s Resurgent Paramilitaries, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 22, 2021

[78] Karim Sadjadpour, No Country Thrives on Instability Like Iran, The Atlantic, 25 Mar 2021

[79] (1) Afghanistan: The Massacre In Mazar-I Sharif, Human Rights Watch, November 1998 Vol. 10, No. 7 (C)

Also see:

(2) Barnett Rubin, A New Look At Iran’s Complicated Relationship With The Taliban, War on the Rocks, Sept. 16, 2020

(3) Douglas Jehl, For Death of Its Diplomats, Iran Vows Blood for Blood, The New York Times, Sept. 12, 1998

[80] Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Becca Wasser, From Forever Wars To Great-Power Wars: Lessons Learned From Operation Inherent Resolve, War on the Rocks, Aug 20, 2021

[81] Juan Carlos Benítez, How Does Iran’s Shia Diplomacy Influence the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Policy, The Geopolitics, Oct 27, 2021

[82] Ranj Alaaldin, Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance: An opportunity for Iraq, the US, and the region, Brookings Institute, May 17, 2022

[83] Michael Young, Keeping an Eye on Baghdad, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Nov 12, 2021

[84] Bruce Riedel, The Houthis have won in Yemen: What next?, Brookings Institute, Feb 1, 2022

[85] Attack on Saudi oil field a game-changer in Gulf confrontation, CNN, Sept 15, 2019

See also:

(2) The Iranian and Houthi War against Saudi Arabia, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dec 21, 2021


(3) Vivian Nereim, Abbas Al Lawati and Bill Faries, Saudi Arabia Says Iranian Weapons Used to Attack Oil Facilities, Bloomberg, Sept 16, 2019

[86] Scoop: Biden adviser says return to Iran deal “highly unlikely” in near future, Barak Ravid, Axios, Jul 27, 2022

[87] AFP, Blinken says Iran’s actions risk deepening nuclear crisis, isolation, Dawn, Jun 9, 2022

[88] Prof Ali Ansari, Alexander the not so Great: History through Persian eyes, Institute of Iranian Studies, St Andrews University, BBC World, Jul 15, 2012

See also:

(2) Alexander used both military and political cunning to finally unseat the Persian superpower.

Dave Roos, How Alexander the Great Conquered the Persian Empire, Inside History, Sept 9, 2019,force%20in%20the%20known%20world.

[89] Phil Stewart, Iran doesn’t want a nuclear deal, British spy chief says, Reuters, Jul 22, 2022

[90] Ian Bremmer, Why a New Iranian Nuclear Deal Still Seems Unlikely, TIME, Feb 18, 2022

[91] Kelsey Davenport, EU Makes Final Push on Iran Nuclear Deal, Arms Control Now, Arms Control Association, July 28, 2022

[92] David Albright and Sarah Burkhard, Entering Dangerous, Uncharted Waters:  Iran’s 60 Percent Highly Enriched Uranium, Institute for Science and International Security, April 11, 2022

[93] AFP, Iran clarifies nuclear policy unchanged after ‘bomb’ remark, Dawn, July 21, 2022

[94] Karim Sadjadpour, How Trump Could Revive the Iranian Regime, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 29, 2018

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A Canadian of Pakistani origin, Adnan Qaiser began his professional career as a commissioned officer in the Pakistan Army, taking early release as a Major. Working at various command and staff positions he developed a thorough understanding of national politics, civil and military relations, intelligence establishment, regional geopolitics and the security and policy issues that surround them. Moving on to international diplomacy on his next career ladder, he fostered political, economic and cultural relations at bilateral and multilateral platforms, watching closely some of the most turbulent times in the South Asian, Far Eastern and Middle Eastern politics from a G7 perspective. Immigrating to Canada in 2001, he kept upgrading his education, while maintaining memberships and affiliations with various industry verticals for his professional development. Adnan has worked at key positions in public, private and not-for-profit organizations. Speaking many of the languages and having deep insight into the region he keeps publishing papers on South Asia (Pakistan and India), Afghanistan, United States, China, Middle East, religious extremism and radicalization. Adnan has been a regular commentator at Canadian and Pakistani televisions and occasionally gives online talks at YouTube. Having been associated with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, Canada since 2009, Adnan has delivered talks at think-tanks like CDA Institute and Canadian International Council (CIC). Adnan holds a Level-II (Secret) security clearance from the Government of Canada. He Tweets @adnanqaiser01 and can be reached at: