Avoiding the Unnecessary War. Myths and Reality of the West-Iran Nuclear Standoff

As Iran continues to defy international requests to produce guarantees of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, an ever more concerned Israel has been evoking the prospect of a pre-emptive attack. Given its sensitivity to Israel's security concerns, the West could eventually support the use of force. However, while Iran’s nuclear activities are indisputably a matter of great urgency, there is no need for the West to rush into a military confrontation. The available evidence shows that a nuclear-armed Iran is neither imminent nor unavoidable. The notion that Iran's activities currently pose an existential threat to Israel as well as an intolerable danger to regional and global security hinges more on speculations than on a sober assessment of reality. Finally, whereas for Israel the costs of a strike could be outweighed by its benefits, such costs would hardly be affordable for the West. It is instead in the West’s interest to seek a compromise, avoiding what would be nothing less than an unnecessary war.

Roma, Istituto Affari Internazionali, 2012, 24 p.
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1. Assessing the facts
1.1. The IAEA report on Iran's military-related nuclear activities
2. Assessing the threat
2.1. Israel's view of Iran's nuclear policy
2.2. Threat to Israel's existence?
2.3. Invulnerability to external attacks?
2.4. Increase in regional influence?
2.5. Collapse of the non-proliferation regime?
2.6. Appreciating the difference between nuclear-armed and nuclear-capable Iran
3. Assessing the interests
3.1. The costs of a military strike
3.2. Comparing Israel's, the West's and Iran's interests

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