Nonproliferation experts and Middle East analysts are skeptical of Israeli claims that the Tehran regime is so close to building a nuclear weapon that time is running out for a peaceful resolution of the decades-long standoff.
OK, let's hear them:
"This is a window that has been closing for 15 years now, and it's always imminently about to close," said Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian American Council. He sees the sudden flurry of diplomacy between Jerusalem and Washington as an outgrowth of the U.S. presidential campaign and Israeli interest in ensuring that the United States continues to hold a hard line against Iran.Hmmm... an advocate for Iran in America is the first "expert" the LA Times quotes. Sounds a little like an agenda, doesn't it?
Alon Ben-Meir, a professor of international relations at New York University's Center for Global Affairs, said Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak used the American visits to send a message to Tehran that Israel won't hesitate to take unilateral action.This seems pretty accurate - of course Israeli public statements are meant to send a message, but at least he acknowledges that time is running short.
Ben-Meir cautions U.S. and other officials against seeing the Israeli threats as mere posturing, pointing out the profound national security concerns that shape Israeli defense policy and the country's unshakable faith that Washington will come to its rescue if a strike against Iran triggers retaliation by Tehran or its well-armed allies in the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia.
"I don’t think Israel is bluffing entirely. There is an element of exaggerating its readiness to act and likelihood of winning. But many advisors to Prime Minister Netanyahu are saying that if he waits six or eight months, they may end up unable to do anything significant in terms of damage" to nuclear facilities that Iran has been moving underground to protect them from airstrikes, Ben-Meir said.
Threats of military action against Iran are spurred by Israel's frustration with the paltry progress being made at recently resumed negotiations between Iran and six major powers. The talks are aimed at ensuring that Iranian programs are limited to peaceful purposes like energy production and medical research, said Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, a nonproliferation scholar at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.Except that Iran's nuclear weapons program is on a pretty steady course. Hmmm.
"I don’t see any particular breakthroughs in the Iranian program. It's been on a pretty steady course," she said, adding that, as far as preemptive air strikes were concerned, "there is technically no urgency to do this."
Still, those pressures are mounting on Iran and raising the cost -- both financially and politically -- of the regime's nuclear pursuits, said Alireza Nader, senior policy analyst on Iran for Rand Corp. He pointed to reports of Iranian demonstrations against rising food prices and shortages, along with demands, even from Iranian elites, that the government give priority to social needs over nuclear investments.Here's a classic example of how some academics can't think.
"According to the U.S. intelligence community, the Iranian leadership hasn't even made the decision to weaponize their program," Nader said. "They've been creating the technical know-how and the infrastructure, but they haven't made that decision, and there is much more time than the Israelis portray there to be. I don't think an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is inevitable or imminent."
Nader doesn't think that anything bad will happen, and while Iran is doing everything besides publicly announcing it is building nuclear bombs, they haven't officially decided to do it. Iran has merely decided just to get to the point where they can build a bomb within 15 minutes if they choose to.
That's OK, isn't it? I mean, there will still be 15 minutes to act, right?
Now, I wonder if these "experts" would be so lackadaisical and pushing their "probablies" and "I thinks" if the warheads were aimed squarely at them?