An American strike on Iran
could delay the Islamic Republic's nuclear program
by four years, an Israeli strike
could delay it by two, whereas a military operation could lead to an all out war in the Middle East,
unite citizens in Iran and widen gaps between the western and Islamic worlds, a report published Thursday by the 'Iran Project' revealed.
The report, which was compiled by former US defense officials and foreign policy experts, reviews the pros and cons of a strike against Iran.
report reveals that military action that relies on aerial strikes supplemented by cyber attacks, covert operations and perhaps special operations forces might destroy or severely damage Iran's nuclear facilities but "in our judgment, complete destruction of Iran’s nuclear program is unlikely; and Iran would still retain the scientific capacity and the experience to start its nuclear program again if it chose to do so."
The Fordow nuclear facility (Photo: AFP)
The report's authors warn that "if Iran’s nuclear program is attacked by the US or Israel in
the absence of an international mandate or a multinational coalition, support for maintaining sanctions against Iran could be substantially weakened."
The report was put together by over 30 former diplomats and senior officers who explained that their aim was to provide a foundation for clear thinking about the potential use of force against Iran. Yet it does not include any recommendations for the US or Israeli governments.
The report states that an American strike would only delay the nuclear program by up to four years and "disrupt Iranian government control, deplete the Iranian treasury, and raise internal tensions—although we do not believe it would lead to regime change, regime collapse, or capitulation."
"Our informed estimate is that a military strike by Israel alone could delay Iran’s ability to build a bomb for up to two years.
"In our view, Israel could not replicate the success of its earlier surgical strikes against single reactors in Iraq and Syria,
since Iran’s nuclear sites are numerous and widely dispersed, with one (Fordow) buried deep underground."
The report also warns that "Iran would hold Israel partly responsible for any attacks, whether or not Israeli forces participated in military action. While Israel’s anti-missile and civilian defense programs are strong, sustained air strikes by Iran would result in casualties and damage to facilities, perhaps including the Israeli nuclear complex at Dimona."
Moreover it noted that Iran could use "well-armed proxies such as Hezbollah
or Shiite militant groups in Iraq, as well as by Iran’s covert forces and the IRGC Qods Force," which could be "even more damaging to US and Israeli interests than direct Iranian retaliation.