Opinion

Five reasons to attack Iran

Sanctions against Iran are tightening, including Europe’s ban on oil imports. Tehran is highly unlikely to reach a negotiated agreement over its nuclear program, says Matthew Kroenig, a Stanton Nuclear Security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations believes. In the choice between Iran having nuclear weapons and a US military strike to prevent that, a strike is the least bad option. Here Mr. Kroenig gives five reasons the US should attack Iran.

4. The consequences of a strike are manageable

While serious, the consequences of a US strike on Iran’s nuclear program would be less grave than many people fear. The US could also put in place a strategy to mitigate the worst-case outcomes.

Some have speculated, for example, that a US strike would lead to a full-scale war. But, while Iran would certainly retaliate, it wouldn’t want to commit national suicide. It knows that a major conflict with the United States could lead to the destruction of its regime. It would almost certainly, therefore, aim for a calibrated response that allows it to save face, but that stops short of risking the regime’s survival.

America can play on Iran’s fears by clearly communicating the red lines that, if crossed, would provoke a devastating US response. One such red line would be Iran closing the strategic oil shipping gateway, the Strait of Hormuz.

By promising to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat, Washington should be able to get agreement from regional allies including Israel to stay out of the fight even if they become the victims of Iranian retaliation. And while the White House might feel political pressure to respond to Iranian provocations, the US should be content to trade Iran’s nuclear program for a round of retaliation, which would likely include missile and terror attacks against US and allied interests in the region.

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