AFP reports: An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only set back Tehran’s programme by a couple of years, the head of a respected London-based think-tank said Wednesday.
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) head John Chipman said an Israeli attack against Iran was unlikely this year, following US assurances this week to Israel that it would not rule out military action.
Only the United States could conduct a serious campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities, he said.
Furthermore, a pre-emptive Israeli strike could backfire because it is likely to push the Tehran regime to accelerate its nuclear ambitions, warned the IISS director-general at the release of its annual “Military Balance” report.
Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, a charge denied by Tehran which says its atomic programme is for purely civilian purposes.
“My judgment is that an Israeli attack on Iran of an overt kind is unlikely this year,” Chipman told a news conference on the annual assessment of the global military power balance.
“Both Israel and the United States are conscious that Israel can conduct a raid; only the United States can conduct a campaign.
“I think that it’s the latter that would be necessary in order to delay, in any meaningful way, the acquisition of a confirmed Iranian nuclear military capability.
“The judgement of most military experts is that any attack — whether a raid or a campaign — would only delay such acquisition and could, of course, incentivise the regime, once it reorganises itself, to move ever quicker towards that goal.”