There have been controversies between the United States and Israel on whether to attack Iran on allegations that it is intending to build nuclear weapons. Iran on its side is claiming that it is using its nuclear program for peaceful purposes as well as producing electricity. In fact, U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran does not have the intention of creating an atomic bomb. According to the intelligence agencies report, Iran stopped creating a nuclear warhead ten years ago[1]. 

Iran failure to corporate with organizations that monitor nuclear activities has creating doubts in the minds of many individuals about their intentions on nuclear involvement. Organizations which monitor nuclear activities include International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and United Nations nuclear watchdog group. According to the report released by the IAEA in November, 2011, there was empirical evidence that Iran might be conducting a research on how to create a nuclear weapon, refuting their claims that they are implementing their nuclear program solely for peaceful purposes and electricity generation[2].   

Israel believes that Iran nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons and they want to use military force to stop the nuclear operations. On the other hand, U.S. civilian and military officials are seeing this in a different angle and are urging Israel not to do it so fast. According to Penatta, Defense secretary, Israel should weigh all the options that might result if they attack Iran[3]. An attack would not stop the nuclear program completely as Iran has the capability of revive it in a few years and their revenge to Israel would be devastating. To avoid this, US administration is pledging for a diplomatic and economic sanctions. If the diplomatic way does not work, the US military will have no other option but to strike Iran with an aim of stopping its nuclear ambitions. The final decision is not yet made and the administration is still weighing all options on how best to tackle the Iran nuclear program issue.

Israel strike cannot be all that effective compared to that of US, but according to the Defense secretary, the administration prefers to use economic and diplomatic pressure against Iran instead of using military force. American officials seem to be convinced that Iran at the moment lacks vital technology which will allow them to make lethal nuclear weapons. Although the current IAEA report indicates that Iran has started producing weapons fuel, American officials think that it cannot go far because it is still having trouble in the deployment of required amounts of next-generation equipment to be used to make weapon fuel[4]. The United States also believe that the Iran nuclear program would be faced by a number of vulnerabilities if it decides to develop nuclear weapons[5]. American intelligence officials reflect that Iranian leaders have not agreed on developing nuclear weapons but British and Israel intelligence are of different opinions.

In January2011, Israel’s intelligence agency retired leader confirmed that Iran does not have the capability of developing a nuclear bomb before 2015[6]. Most of the American intelligence officials believe this assessment because of the famous computer virus, Stuxnet worm, which destroyed at least one-fifth of nuclear centrifuges in Iran[7].

Going into war is considered more risky and that is one of the reasons why the United States is calling for diplomatic and economic sanctions. Israel is convinced that the delay dallying will allow Iran to enter a “zone of immunity” in which it will not be in a position to strike the nuclear facilities and this will give Iran many ways of retaliation. If Israel decides to strike first, there is no doubt that US forces will be possibly be involved because no one knows how Iranian will retaliate to the attack. Uncertainty of the Iranian retaliation and the potential consequences if US forces got involved in the war, is forcing the US intelligence officials to question the wisdom behind Israel military action now[8].

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The interest of Iran to develop nuclear weapons is sending an alarm to Israel and other neighboring states which fear the Iranian power. The states which are threatened by the advancement of nuclear weapons development are turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia[9]. These states might also result in seeking nuclear weapons of their own turning this region less stable than it is currently. Involvement of outside powers such as America and Israel will play a great role in forcing Iran to abandon its plan to develop nuclear weapons.  However, Iran is resisting any pressure mounted on it to stop its nuclear program and it vows to continue with its nuclear activities no matter what. Some of the consequences which might occur as a result of an attack on Iran by either America or Israel include: rocketing of oil prices, destabilizing the gulf region which is already affected by the Arab Spring, re-energizing jihadist terrorism and deflection of America from its key goal of balancing the power of an escalating China in the western pacific[10].

It is not easy to strike and cause major damages like what happen in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007)[11]. Iran has secured its nuclear sites because the current sites like Nantaz are built underground and well cemented (80 meters deep)[12]. It is not possible to destroy such sites within hours with a few laser-guided bombs. Destroying such sites require multiple weapons and quite considerable time before a thorough destruction is achieved.  Conducting strikes on Iran nuclear sites would be difficult, but it is very possible to do so. Since Israel has very capable submarine missiles, it might also decide to use them because it would much easier to use them than using the airspace which Israel is not aware whether it will be allowed to use by the neighboring states[13].

According to a poll conducted by University of Maryland, a great percentage of Americans do not support the issue of Israel attacking Iranian nuclear sites[14]. They also believe that Iran has the capability of rebuilding its nuclear program within a very short period (less than 5 years) if it were attacked. The U.S. argues that it definitely stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon, but Israel intelligence officials are suggesting that military strike would be necessary if Iran has advanced to the stage of making nuclear weapons. Prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu does not see the possibility of diplomacy or sanctions working. He said that they cannot wait any longer, and now it is time to act and stop the Iranian nuclear program[15]. This is a clear indication that Israel might attack the Iranian nuclear sites soon.

Another poll conducted by Reuters shows that a great number of Americans would support a military strike against Iran if empirical evidence indicates Tehran is actually building nuclear weapons. Those who were involved in this poll would not mind the consequences of such an action that might include higher gasoline prices. 56% supported military strikes if there were evidence while 39% opposed the military strikes[16]. U.S. president, Obama advised Israel to give the sanctions against Iran more time so that they can see how Iran we react when the effects of the sanctions starts taking their course[17]. However, the president insisted that all options are in place and any of them can be used to deal with Iranian nuclear program.

In conclusion, war in Iran is unpredictable because of the controversies which have risen over the issue. Israel is planning to strike Iranian nuclear sites, but US is of the opinion that there is no need to do so at the moment and Israel should wait to see how Iran will respond over the sanctions imposed on them. However, Israel feels this is taking too long and they might strike any time soon.

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