Former Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin said this past weekend that a nuclear Iran would be more dangerous than carrying out a military strike on Iran.
Speaking from the crowd in respone to a panel discussion at the Washington Institute’s 2012 Weinberg Founders Conference in Virginia, Yadlin said Iran has a “sophisticated” strategy to pursue nuclear weapons and added his assessment that this strategy is “unfortunately” working.
Yadlin said he favored exhausting all other options before striking Iran’s nuclear facilities but stressed that a “nuclear Iran is more dangerous than attacking Iran.”
“If they can’t be contained when they don’t have nuclear weapon, how can they be contained when they do?” Yadlin said.
“I am sure they won’t launch nuclear bomb the moment they get it, but the possibility as a result of miscalculations and lack of stability, they will launch nuclear missile – it’s not a possibility you can ignore,” Yadlin continued. “The flying time of a missile from Tehran to Tel Aviv is seven minutes and the temptation for first strike is huge.”
“If you really want all options on the table, you need to be very credible with the military option,” Yadlin said.
During the panel discussion, Dennis Ross, formerly U.S. President Barack Obama’s senior Middle East adviser, said that diplomacy might succeed in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
“Why would it work now?” he said. “Now the Iranians are under pressure they’ve never been before. They are isolated internationally, the power balance in region has shifted against them…When they started making threats about shutting the Strait of Hormuz, a very blunt message was sent to them – and they backed [down].”
Jamie Fly, a former adviser to the George W. Bush administration, spoke about the need to prepare a robust military option.
“Are we as nation serious about preventing a nuclear Iran or just serious about talking about preventing a nuclear Iran? We don’t want to spend decades in trying to contain a nuclear Iran,” he said.
“We need to take a more serious look at the military option,” Fly added. “I don’t agree that we have time, diplomacy is unlikely to work given the record of the Iranians.”