Further to the conclusion of this post,
Iran Ready for a Nuclear Deal?
One can argue that this might in fact be a good time for the Iranians to back off. Sanctions are having real effects and will get worse unless…There is no practical need for Iran actually to move towards a real bomb now, nor to risk a strike by Israel, the US, the US/Israel, or whomever. They have the knowledge and the facilities to move ahead again fairly rapidly in the future if they decide the international situation is more favourable to them, and if they are willing then to risk the consequences of breaking any deal–e.g. amongst other things by limiting the effectiveness of inspectors, indeed maybe throwing them out.
Though one suspects any deal-breaking would be a more slow and ambiguous process, such as the one that has slowly, slowly got us to where we are now. Unless the need for weapons were seen as truly urgent.
Ali Khamenei Cunctator?
Asked whether 2012 is also decisive for Iran, [Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny] Gantz shies from the term. “Clearly, the more the Iranians progress the worse the situation is. This is a critical year, but not necessarily ‘go, no-go.’ The problem doesn’t necessarily stop on December 31, 2012. We’re in a period when something must happen: Either Iran takes its nuclear program to a civilian footing only or the world, perhaps we too, will have to do something. We’re closer to the end of the discussions than the middle.”
Gantz says the international pressure on Iran, in the form of diplomatic and economic sanctions, is beginning to bear fruit. “I also expect that someone is building operational tools of some sort, just in case. The military option is the last chronologically but the first in terms of its credibility. If it’s not credible it has no meaning. We are preparing for it in a credible manner. That’s my job, as a military man.”
Iran, Gantz says, “is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn’t yet decided whether to go the extra mile.”
As long as its facilities are not bomb-proof, “the program is too vulnerable, in Iran’s view. If the supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants, he will advance it to the acquisition of a nuclear bomb, but the decision must first be taken. It will happen if Khamenei judges that he is invulnerable to a response. I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don’t think he will want to go the extra mile. I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people. But I agree that such a capability, in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who at particular moments could make different calculations, is dangerous.”..
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger
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