Sep 16

Past Event

Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy

Event Materials


Brookings Multimedia content requires JavaScript. Your browser either doesn't have JavaScript or doesn't have it enabled.

Instructions to enable JavaScript.


Lying behind the turmoil over Syria is another, greater challenge. It is the challenge of a nuclear Iran, which already haunts our Syria debate. President Rouhani's election has revived the hope of many that a negotiated resolution of this issue is still possible. However, the history of U.S.-Iranian relations leaves room for considerable skepticism. Should these negotiations fail too, the United States will soon have to choose between the last, worst options: going to war to prevent a nuclear Iran or learning to contain one. A nuclear Iran is something few in the international community wish to see, but many fear that a choice will have to be made soon to either prevent or respond to that reality. Can the U.S. spearhead a renewed international effort to prevent a nuclear Iran, or will it be forced to do the unthinkable: to determine how to contain a nuclear Iran?

In his new book, Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Kenneth M. Pollack tackles these daunting questions. Pollack delves deeply into what the U.S. can do to prevent a nuclear Iran, why the military options leave much to be desired and what the U.S. might have to do to make containment a viable alternative. On September 16th at 2:30pm, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted Senior Fellow Kenneth M. Pollack to discuss these sobering issues. Robin Wright, a United States Institute of Peace distinguished fellow and author of several highly-regarded books on Iran, moderated the discussion, after which the author took audience questions.

Event Agenda


September 16, 2013

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


Hosted By

Foreign Policy

For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications


Read the Book