Stanley's blog

Listening to two Israeli Knesset members, Dani Yatom and Isaac Ben-Israel, talking about the Iranian nuclear threat brought into stark focus that there is not a lot of time left to avert a potential disaster. According to the Israelis, Iran could have a nuclear weapon with delivery mechanism within one year; others say that the period is more like five years.

There is no consensus between intelligence agencies, which are in any case unreliable as to their ‘facts’ and their communication. It is by no means certain that Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons or only put itself in the position to produce them. All responsible countries are opposed to Iran acquiring such weapons.

There was a time when a negotiated settlement might have been possible, but American insistence on pre-conditions and the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President has put paid to that. The solution is therefore either to use effective sanctions or to take military action.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on 3 March 2008 tightening sanctions. Russia has since advised Iran to study the incentives being offered. China, however, remains the key to effective sanctions. The question is how long Israel will wait before it takes military action. It is assumed that the US will not.

The result of Israel bombing the nuclear Iranian installations would be catastrophic and the Israelis know this. But they are convinced that they face an existential threat, in the light of the Iranian President’s oft repeated statement of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran ‘s Islamic revolution, that Israel “must be wiped out from the map of the world.”

While it is accepted that bombing will not destroy the Iranian’s nuclear capability, it will delay the process by some years.

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