- Feb 16, 2012
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
- Libertarian - Left
The inauguration of Iran’s President Hassan Rohani in two days restarts the countdown toward a confrontation over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program as it approaches Israel’s “red line” for military action.
After a decade of fruitless negotiations and tightening economic sanctions, the next 12 months may make or break the international effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Such weapons would pose an existential threat to Israel, endanger the U.S. and Europe, and trigger a nuclear arms race in the Persian Gulf region.
Rohani, who takes office Aug. 4 and was considered a relative moderate among the candidates permitted to run by the country’s Guardian Council, has spurred hopes in some quarters that Iran may be willing to curb its nuclear efforts. That view isn’t shared by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who calls Rohani a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and Iran’s nuclear advances are narrowing the window of time to avoid a conflict.
“There is a 75 percent to 80 percent chance that issue will have come to a head” by this time next year, said John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
As negotiations stalled during the wait for the election to choose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s successor, Iran increased its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and added centrifuges capable of shortening the “breakout” time to produce enough highly enriched fuel for a nuclear device.
The country could have a nuclear weapon within a year if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chooses to do so, according to former U.S. Marine General James Mattis, who retired in March as commander of the U.S. Central Command.
This situation is going to come due one of these days, and either Iran will be attacked or have a nuclear bomb.