Associate Professor Philipp Bleek and MA NPTS Student Cyrus Jabbari
Associate Professor Philipp C. Bleek, MA NPTS student Cyrus A. Jabbari, and Associate Vice President for Alumni and Parent Programs Meg Storey Groves

Associate Professor of Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Philipp C. Bleek and Cyrus A. Jabbari MANPTS '20 presented research on Iranian government officials' and affiliates' biological weapons threat perceptions and responses at Middlebury's Washington, DC office on September 16. Their talk, titled "'Answering Threats with Threats': Are Iranian Biological Weapons Fears Driving Offensive Development?", was attended by a combination of Middlebury Institute and Middlebury College alumni and U.S. government officials.

According to their research, Iranian government officials and affiliates are deeply concerned that other countries, especially the United States and Israel, are not only developing, but actively employing biological weapons against Iran. In response, Iranian officials and affiliates advocate both defensive and offensive responses. Iran is pursuing significant defensive activities, while suggestive evidence hints at the possibility that Iran may be pursuing offensive biological weapons activities. Iran would confront significant challenges to obtaining and employing biological weapons, but were it able to surmount those challenges, biological weapons have fewer shortcomings, and some advantages, in asymmetric warfare.

The two previously collaborated on research on the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons implications of emerging micro-fluidics technology. That research was presented at The Center for the Study of WMD and published by the National Defense University's Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction.