Bloomberg reports: Concern that a new report on Iran’s nuclear program might spur an Israeli military strike ignores a central factor: Experts say the odds such an assault could succeed are slim.
“The Israelis actually have limited means of attacking Iran’s nuclear program,” said Richard Russell, a professor at the U.S. National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington and a consultant to the U.S. command for the region. “This is a very, very difficult problem for the Israelis, and it’s getting more and more acute.”
The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday reported on Iran’s efforts to develop a bomb small enough to put on a missile with enough range to hit Israel. Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, outlined anew in the report, are dispersed over a broad area 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) and multiple countries to the east of Tel Aviv. Some are underground.
Iran has repeatedly asserted that its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian goals, such as power generation.
“The Israeli Air Force is capable of launching an attack on Iran and causing damage,” said Yiftah Shapir, director of the Military Balance Project at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. “It is far from capable of disabling the Iran nuclear program. That would take at least a month of sustained bombing. That’s not something Israel can carry out alone.”