If Attacked, How Would Iran Respond?

(Strategic Assessment-Institute for National Security Studies) Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov - The main Iranian military threat in the event of an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a volley of conventional missiles and rockets launched at Israel's cities and nuclear installations by Iran and Hizbullah, along with the threat of terrorist attacks against military and civilian targets. A review of Iranian capabilities indicates that Israel can successfully deal with Iranian responses to an attack. These scenarios are far from large-scale war, which is highly improbable. Nevertheless, the risks of escalation must be minimized through pinpoint strikes on the infrastructures that support Iran's military nuclear program that leave Tehran with all the other assets that are important to the Iranian economy and the survival of the regime. In such a situation, the regime would have a great deal to lose from escalation. Many experts argue correctly that an attack, no matter how successful, cannot stop Iran's military nuclear program forever. Nonetheless, this does not justify inaction and passivity. If Iran does not agree to an acceptable settlement that will ensure that its breakout time to a bomb allows for detection and response in time, use of the military option could buy time until there is regime change. It could also send a very clear message to the Iranians that their attempts to arm themselves with nuclear military capabilities will be thwarted in the future as well. Correct preparation and Western cooperation can significantly reduce the chances of a regional war in the wake of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin is the Director of INSS, where Avner Golov is his research assistant.

2013-11-18 00:00:00

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