Give Iran Nukes, Says Quincy Institute's New Iran Expert

Roxane Farmanfarmaian claims Tehran would not use a nuclear weapon against Israel

Quincy Institute fellow Roxane Farmanfarmaian / YouTube screenshot
September 16, 2022

Iran should be allowed to build a nuclear weapon, according to the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft's newest hire, Roxane Farmanfarmaian.

Farmanfarmaian, a policy analyst who focuses on Iran, earlier this month became a nonresident fellow at the isolationist think tank bankrolled by billionaires George Soros and Charles Koch. In a 2013 policy debate, Farmanfarmaian argued in favor of Iran building a nuclear bomb, saying the country would never use it to destroy Israel, even though the hardline regime has been threatening to do so for years and sponsors the top jihadist terrorists waging war on the Jewish state.

Farmanfarmaian joins a growing roster of Quincy Institute scholars who have pushed for increased engagement with Iran and promoted anti-Israel conspiracy theories from their perch at the think tank. This includes Trita Parsi, who formerly helmed the National Iranian American Council, a group accused of secretly lobbying on Iran's behalf, and Stephen Walt, a longtime Israel critic who has pushed conspiracy theories about the Jewish state. Like many of her Quincy Institute colleagues, Farmanfarmaian has downplayed the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and argued that Israel should learn to live with the threat of an Iranian bomb.

"If Iran was to bomb Israel, it would destroy Jerusalem, the third-holiest site in Islam," Farmanfarmaian was quoted as saying during the debate, according to a press report published at the time. "It's inconceivable that Iran would bomb Israel because it would isolate it."

Israeli leaders and a wide array of regional experts disagree with this assertion.

Farmanfarmaian also argued in a 2020 op-ed published in the Nation that then-president Donald Trump's assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was "a colossal strategic blunder." Like other Quincy scholars and pro-Iran analysts, Farmanfarmaian argued the assassination would spark a global terror spree by Iran, a fear that never came to fruition.

She also described the general, who helmed Iran's regional terror operations, as "charismatic and highly effective."

Soleimani, "largely immune from the ambivalence with which many Iranians view the ruthless Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, operated for the most part outside the country as the respected head of the IRGC's foreign arm, the elite Quds Force," she wrote at the time. "Charismatic and highly effective, he gained admiration even among reformists for expanding Iran's reach across the Shia Crescent, the land bridge connecting Iran to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon."

Farmanfarmaian went on to claim that the Soleimani assassination genuinely upset ordinary Iranians, even though the general was widely seen as the face of Tehran's massive spending on foreign wars.

"The expressions of grief on the streets of Iran are genuine," she wrote. "His assassination has brought the population closer to the leadership, despite recent protests, in shared outrage not only at Trump's actions but also at the administration's apparent disdain for Iran's sovereign rights and its insulting rhetoric demanding that Iran 'change its behavior.'"