Iran’s nuclear defiance may provoke Israel to strike

Iran’s nuclear defiance may provoke Israel to strike

Iran’s nuclear defiance may provoke Israel to strike
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There are several interconnected conflicts occurring between the Iranian regime and Israel. One is the heightened proxy war in countries such as Syria. Iran is attempting to increase its military presence in the region, while Israel is escalating its attacks on Tehran’s foreign bases. Another important conflict is linked to Iran’s nuclear program. And the latest developments suggest it is very likely that Israel will militarily target Iran’s nuclear sites for several critical reasons.

To begin with, the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 world powers have dragged on for more than a year without any positive results. The Biden administration was hopeful of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal soon after assuming office, but the Iranian regime kept creating hurdles, such as making irrational demands and asking for more radical concessions.

One of the regime’s latest demands is the removal of sanctions that are not related to its nuclear activities. It wants the US to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The IRGC was placed on the list in 2019 because of its terrorist activities and sponsorship and funding of militia and terror groups across the Middle East.

Another issue that makes it very likely Israel will target Iran’s nuclear sites is the fact that the theocratic establishment has been defiantly advancing its nuclear program, stepping up its uranium enrichment and working on 1,000 more centrifuges, at the same time as it is negotiating with the P5+1. It is totally contradictory that the Iranian regime is progressing with such work at high speed while also participating in global negotiations whose main purpose is to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. This suggests that the theocratic establishment is merely buying time to advance its nuclear program.

It is important to point out that it is believed the Iranian regime has now reached the point where it is close to the nuclear threshold. It is thought to be only weeks away from obtaining the materials necessary for a nuclear weapon. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz this month warned that “Iran continues to accumulate irreversible knowledge and experience in the development, research, production and operation of advanced centrifuges… Today, the prices for tackling the Iranian challenge on the global and regional levels are higher than they were a year ago and lower than they will be within a year.”

Even if a new nuclear deal is reached, it will likely represent a victory for the ruling clerics.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

The New York Times also acknowledged last year that the regime was only weeks away from going nuclear. It reported in September: “Iran has come within roughly a month of having enough material to fuel a single nuclear weapon, crossing a threshold that may raise pressure on the US and its allies to improve the terms of a potential deal to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement.”

A third concern for Israel is that, even if a new nuclear deal is reached, it will likely represent a victory for the ruling clerics, as it will be unlikely to prevent the Islamic Republic from ever acquiring nuclear weapons. It appears that, under the current proposed deal, the Iranian regime will be much closer to obtaining nuclear weapons because restrictions on its nuclear program will be removed only two years after it is sealed. The deal also will not coerce the Iranian leaders to disclose the regime’s past nuclear activities, which have had military dimensions.

Fourthly, more Iranian leaders have acknowledged that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program was never designed for peaceful purposes from the outset. For instance, former Prime Minister Ali Motahari stated last month: “From the very beginning, when we entered the nuclear activity, our goal was to build a bomb and strengthen the deterrent forces, but we could not maintain the secrecy of this issue and the secret reports were revealed by a group of hypocrites.”

As the Iranian regime continues to defiantly advance its nuclear program, it has become more and more likely that Israel may take matters into its own hands and strike Iran’s nuclear sites in order to prevent the theocratic establishment from acquiring nuclear weapons.

• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist.
Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

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