In an Op-Ed in the NY Times, Alan Kuperman argues that “We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons,” in the wake of Obama’s failed diplomacy effort. With the deadline passing for the uranium enriching project offered to Iran by the West, many are seeing a limited air strike, either by Israel or the U.S., as the only remaining option.
Having to make such a decision would truly be monumental for international politics and reverberate through the entire region, if not the world. Yet despite Iranian advances in nuclear research and Israel’s own timetable for judging when enough is really enough, an air strike in response to failed talks would still be a rash decision. Not only would it likely preclude any future reconciliation (short of an outright regime change), but also add more fuel to the fire of Iranian hard-liners who claim that the U.S. is bent on Iran’s destruction. At this point, more overt support for the Iranian opposition movement and a further round of sanctions–including limiting the import of refined oil back into Iran–should be the next steps, not air-strikes.