The risk of a military confrontation with Iran is likely to increase should indirect talks in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal with Tehran fail, Israeli analyst Danny Citrinowicz warned.
“Chances of confrontation are getting higher and higher,” he warned.
An IDF Major (res.), Citrinowicz headed the Iranian nuclear desk from 2013-2015 and the Iranian strategic branch from 2015-2016 for Israeli military intelligence.
He is among those Israelis in the intelligence community who supported the 2015 Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Former US President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the deal was a mistake, he said, because no viable alternative was created to prevent Iran from enriching uranium in the absence of an agreement.
Israel has made a mistake in vocally warning that it will halt Iran’s nuclear program, Citrinowicz said. The Jewish state “puts itself directly in a clash with Iran” transforming the conflict into an Iranian problem rather than a global one.
It’s not possible for Israel to halt Iran’s nuclear program with a military strike, at best it could delay it, he said.
Iran’s nuclear facilities are spread out, so it would be hard to eliminate them, Citrinowicz said, adding that even if a military strike were successful, the Islamic Republic can rebuild its program because it was locally designed.
“Nobody can push Iran backward,” Citrinowicz said. “The fact that Iran is very close to acquiring fissile material to build a bomb – this is something we have to live with.”
Iranian “knowledge is there, the confidence is there, advanced centrifuges are there,” he said.
“Even if you will see a change in the Iranian leadership... I do not see any change regarding the nuclear facilities. The fact that this program enjoys support from the Iranian population means that no Iranian leadership will dismantle the facilities,” he said.
“The real question is whether just to delay the program, Israel is willing to take the risk of attacking Iran and encountering a war.”