Middle East Briefs

Parallel to the Center’s scholarly work, Middle East Briefs provides a brief analysis of a single issue at the top of the region’s political, social, or economic agenda. Targeted primarily at decision-makers and opinion leaders, the publication was launched in 2005.

Latest Brief

August 2022 – How Close is Iran to the Bomb? The Limits of Nuclear Breakout

Gary Samore

Middle East Brief 149 (Summary) — The question of Iran's nuclear capabilities has been a major issue in US foreign policy for several decades. While many analysts have probed the politics of decision-making inside the Iranian regime, the technical dimensions of Iran's nuclear program are less understood. In our latest Middle East Brief, Gary Samore discusses what Tehran would need to do to build a nuclear bomb—and how quickly it could do it. Samore presents three possible scenarios in which Iran might obtain nuclear capabilities: breakout, sneak out, and creep out. US foreign policy towards Iran will only be effective, Samore suggests, if we accurately understand the technical foundations of Tehran’s nuclear aspirations.

Read Middle East Brief 149 (PDF)

Gary Samore is the Crown Family Director of the Crown Center.