International negotiators will meet in Vienna this week for what they hope will be a final push to hammer out a comprehensive deal over Iran’s nuclear program. According to many experts and officials, however, the chances of securing a deal by the November 24 deadline are slim. The New York Times reports that President Barack Obama’s own top national security advisers put the chance of reaching an agreement this month at 40 to 50 percent.

Even if a comprehensive deal is reached or negotiations are extended, the United States is still overlooking the fact that Iran’s extant nuclear capability presents serious threats to international security, argues Matthew Kroenig, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, in “Mitigating the Security Risks Posed by a Near-Nuclear Iran.”

“A latent nuclear Iran would pose a nuclear proliferation threat even if it does not itself build nuclear weapons. It could transfer sensitive nuclear technology to other states, set off a nuclear arms race in the region, and weaken the global nonproliferation regime,” writes Kroenig.

Regardless of the outcome this coming Monday, Kroenig asserts, Iran, as a nuclear weapon threshold state, threatens to increase the risk of global nuclear proliferation, destabilize regional security, and weaken political freedom and human rights inside Iran.

Kroenig identifies the potential threats posed by a near-nuclear Iran and provides concrete policy recommendations for mitigating them.

Download the brief here.

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