Consequences of military actions against Iran. Final Report


  • Johan Rydqvist
  • Kristina Zetterlund

Publish date: 2008-07-02

Report number: FOI-R--2511--SE

Pages: 177

Written in: English


  • Iran policy
  • Iran
  • Middle East Policy
  • nuclear weapons
  • nuclear power
  • attack scenarios
  • US-Iran controversy
  • consequences of attacks against Iran


The main question on which this report elaborates is what consequences military actions against Iran´s nuclear infrastructure would have. The first part of the report outlines the political and strategic context in which such an attack would be executed. Two possible US military operations against Iran´s nuclear infrastructure are then presented. The attack scenarios are tailored to have high plausibility given current political and strategic realities. However, the report does not assess the likelihood of possible attacks, although press reporting and speculation to that effect have influenced this research. Chapters in parts two and three of the report take the attack scenarios as a starting point and assess consequences of military attacks from the perspective of various geographically and functionally defined themes. There is a wide scope of potential consequences regardless of whether any attacks are deemed a success or failure. What may be deemed a success in discontinuing the nuclear programme may be deemed a failure in terms of, for example, human rights, future power struggles in the Middle East or from an economic point of view. A likely consequence of an attack, be it successful or not with regard to the future of Iran´s nuclear programme, is that it would make it harder for modernising and reform- oriented forces in Iran to operate and find traction for their ideas and agenda. This, in turn, would affect the "great power game" in the Gulf region and further reinforce the primacy of realist geopolitical power tendencies in the greater Middle East.