How should the U.S. approach Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities?
Matthew Kroenig provides many faulty assumptions in his piece, “Time to Attack Iran.” In the rational computation of Iran’s nuclear progress and the major conflict that would likely unravel, brings me to the conclusion that is opposite of Kroenig’s: now is not the time to attack Iran. With the lesson of
Iraq, it would be in the best interest of the United States to not attack. If we simply learn how to live with a nuclear Iran, it would not only save us time and money but also spare us a major war eruption in the Levant. It is important to acknowledge, that there is no concrete evidence that Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has made a final decision to develop these nuclear weapons. The consequences of an assault by the United States could potentially be worse than that of Iran achieving their nuclear ambition. Kroenig argues that we should make it clear to Iran that we are only trying attempting to destroy their nuclear program and not overthrow their government, but that is easier said than done. No one really knows how Iran would react, are we as a country willing to wait and find out? Are we actually willing to take the risk?
Kroenig first argues that Tehran could attack at any moment giving us a reason of why we need to attack Iran’s infrastructures as soon as possible, this is not the case. The International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) has even documented that Iran has plans to achieve the capacity to develop nuclear weapons but hard evidence is non existent. Kahl states, “The Iranians are unlikely to commit to building nuclear weapons until they can do so much more quickly or out of sight, which could be years.” The timetable of a “six month horizon” which is presented throughout “Time to Attack Iran” is inaccurate.
This information turns out to be misleading due to the fact that the hypothetical timeline to produce weapons grade uranium with that of the time required to construct a bomb are truly not realistic. Let’s assume that Kroenig’s idea of “the six month horizon” did become legitimate and Iran was able create enough weaponsgrade for a bomb in six months. It would then take them at least a year to produce a testable nuclear device and even longer to make a deliverable weapon. In the Agence FrancePresse, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, stated “there is a low probability that the Iranians would actually develop a bomb over the next year even if they had the capability to do so.”
The author of “Time to Attack Iran” goes on to create another faulty assumption by saying that
Iran would not respond to a strike with its “worst form of retaliation” if we made it clear what our main interest are. The “worst form of retaliation” from Iran includes, the closing of the Strait of Hormuz or the launching of missiles at southern Europe. The Strait of Hormuz is a strait to the Persian Gulf through which roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil supply travels. If closed down, it would immensely bid up the price of oil, and potentially trigger a larger economic crisis. Kroenig states that in time of crisis, the
U.S. could open its Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve equates to a total of
36 days of oil at the current daily U.S. consumption levels of 19.5 million barrels per day. This is a point where we as a country would not want to reach. In the article the author states, “we have to make clear that it is interested only in destroying Iran’s nuclear program, not in overthrowing government.” This is easier said than