3 reasons not to attack Iran

As tensions over a defiant Iran and its nuclear program escalate, the debate in Washington over preemptive military strikes heats up. Israel has warned US officials concerned about war with Iran: Stay to the side, and let us do it. 

Meanwhile, the United States continues to seek harsh diplomatic and economic sanctions against Tehran, while insisting “all options” for thwarting a nuclear-armed Iran remain on the table. 

Here, Edward Haley, professor of international strategic studies at Claremont McKenna College, gives three reasons not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities:

1. Economic consequences are huge

Carolyn Kaster/AP
President Obama pauses as he addresses thousands at the opening session of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual policy conference March 4. The president said the US will not hesitate to attack Iran with military force to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but he cautioned that 'too much loose talk of war' has only helped Tehran and driven up the price of oil.

The negative economic consequences – for the United States and the international community – are huge. Attacks on Iran and Iran’s reprisals would likely cause oil prices to spike and investors’ confidence to collapse. Such repercussions would doom worldwide hopes for ongoing economic recovery from the Great Recession. Unemployment in the US remains high, industrial production is struggling, the housing market continues to suffer.

If recovery is fragile in the US, it is in even more peril in Europe. The euro crisis remains unresolved, and not enough has been done to overcome the problems that followed the collapse of confidence in financial markets. Hundreds of billions in bad debts remain unpaid. Although the Greek government has accepted the latest draconian terms for remaining in the European Union, the near universal rejection of the austerity measures by the Greek people hardly assures that the agreements will stick.

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