A successful military operation against Iran could thwart Iran’s nuclearization altogether, or at least significantly delay its progress, said a former top Israeli military intelligence officer in a paper published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs this week.
Stressing that military force remains a “last option,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser wrote that a military strike against Iran, if it cheats on its commitments to the July 14 nuclear deal signed in Vienna, would both inflict significant damage on Iran’s nuclear program and thwart its weapons ambitions, due to the fear of another attack.
The Obama administration has publicly suggested that military means may be used to enforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is officially known, but only as a last resort. President Barack Obama has maintained that the deal will be far more effective than military strikes at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The White House believes that even successful military strikes against Iran’s facilities would only set the program back about four years.
Earlier this week, the IDF reiterated its preparedness to launch attacks against Iran if needed, noting new acquisitions of F-35 fighter jets, another advanced submarine and improved intelligence capabilities. Former Iran adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the U.S. to transfer massive ordnance penetrators and the necessary bombers to deliver the bunker-busting bombs to Israel as a means to boosting enforcement of the Iran deal.
Kuperwasser said the U.S. could have achieved a better deal, and still can. He stressed the need to reject the agreement on the table and ratchet up sanctions, which would keep the Iranians interested in negotiating. Greater sanctions, he said, could also sway other major countries, “perhaps even China and Russia,” to prefer economic ties with the U.S. to Iran, thus preventing international sanctions from fizzling.
The Obama administration has said that scrapping the deal and increasing sanctions now would isolate the U.S. internationally and limit its hand in preventing Iran from obtaining the bomb, while the Islamic Republic simultaneously benefits from new foreign investment.