Academic head warns against airstrike on Iranian nukes

IDC’s president says danger of years of war exceed benefit of Islamic Republic without bomb.

By
September 16, 2010 03:32
3 minute read.
IDC war games discussion

IDCIranWarGame311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would be a “grave mistake,” the president of the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Prof. Uriel Reichman, said on Wednesday evening.

Reichman, who spoke during the closing evening of the Tenth International Conference on Terrorism’s Global Impact, held by the IDC’s International Institute for Counter- Terrorism, directly contradicted the views of other speakers during the conference, who urged a strike on Iran.

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“Beyond the serious issue of terrorism looms the danger of Islamic Jihad equipped with Iranian nuclear capability,” Reichman said.

“Several conference speakers suggested that Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure to stop its atomic bomb project, he added. “Voices among Israeli decision- makers support such a plan. Following consultations with experts, I am convinced that such an attack will be a grave mistake. The dangers to Israel’s security and existence, from even a successful attack, are greater than a nuclear Iran,” he added.

“Following an attack, many years of warfare will follow – a kind of belligerency which is especially cumbersome for Israel and yet may be considered legitimate by international law. Iranian missiles and [those of] its allies may explode from time to time in Israel, disrupting tourism and economic activities. Israel’s interests all over the world will be attacked,” Reichman said.

“Three or five years after the nuclear capabilities will be restored, an atomic attack by Iran might be considered justified by them or even a preemptive necessity,” he added.

The task of destroying all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is “complicated and difficult,” Reichman argued, adding that the success of such a mission could never be guaranteed.

“Furthermore, such an attack may unite the presently divided Iran under its present leader and strengthen his position in the world of Islam,” he said.

“Iran’s future ‘A’ bomb is probably not designed to terminate Israel. Its main purpose is likely to supply Iran with a nuclear umbrella to facilitate its control over the majority of the world’s known oil reserves. That can be done by sponsoring the overthrow of governments in Iraq, Kuwait and the Gulf countries without an invasion,” Reichman said.

By gaining the supply of oil reserves, Iran hopes to rebuild itself as a Middle Eastern empire, he added.

“It seems that Iran will be reluctant to threaten its possible future greatness by an atomic attack of Israel. Such an attack may not be effective [due to] Israel’s sophisticated anti-missile defenses and yet bring a retaliation that will wipe Iran off the map,” Reichman argued At the same time, he asserted, other forms of “operations” against the Islamic Republic are legitimate so long as Iran supports Hamas and Hizbullah with weapons and training and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls openly for Israel’s destruction.

Earlier this week, former Mossad head Danny Yatom said Western countries need to mobilize into a coalition that will strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“Since the sanctions are not enough, I am hopeful that the world will come to its senses and reach the conclusion that in order to stop the Iranian nuclear arms race we will have to attack some of their nuclear facilities,” Yatom said in rare comments for a former top Israeli security official regarding the use of military force against Iran.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.


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