On to Iran?

Just when the news form the middle east is bad enough, Michael Hirsh of Newsweek warns that this could escalate into a conflict with Iran. Israel may see this as their last chance. “By most intelligence estimates, unless Iran is stopped it will learn how to master the uranium fuel cycle at its Natanz facility in a matter of months, making it able to secretly produce bomb-grade fissile material when it pleases.” Hirsh does provide for an alternative:

There is still time for cooler heads to prevail on the Israeli, American and Iranian sides. First, Iran is a long way from a weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency has found no conclusive evidence that Iran intends to use its know-how to build a nuclear bomb. IAEA director Mohammed elBaradei has said that the Iranians know that mastering uranium enrichment is a “deterrent” in and of itself and that “they don’t need a weapon, it sends a message,” as he put it in a speech in 2004. Other officials familiar with Tehran’s thinking have said that an attack from the United States or Israel would have the opposite effect from what was intended: it would tilt the debate inside Tehran toward a certain conclusion that only a bomb could provide adequate deterrence. The only answer, other than military confrontation, may be a broad diplomatic effort led by the United States, one that would seek to forge a “grand bargain” with Iran covering everything from the nuclear issues, Iraq, and trade, as well as a regional security pact that would address Hizbullah and Israel.

While some believe that a diplomatic solution is possible, the intransigence of one of the key players may prevent it. Hirsh writes that “Bush has refused to consider this, and hardliners in both Jerusalem and Washington are increasingly skeptical that diplomacy can work.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment