Israel’s nuclear option for Iran

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The Age & Sydney Morning Herald | Peter Hartcher | 16 April 2024

Surely even Netanyahu would not launch a nuclear strike – even bombing places in Iran that may be developing nuclear technology would escalate this into full blown WW3 – somebody has to stop the madmen who lead Israel – Mark

Iran’s attack on Israeli territory gives Netanyahu licence to respond. But he must weigh the risk of alienating allies.
Israel faces a dilemma of historic proportions as it decides how to respond to Iran’s weekend attack.
On the one hand, the Iranian barrage of over 300 missiles and armed drones fired at Israel on the weekend has given the Jewish state an invitation to address its deepest fear. Iran is working towards creating a nuclear bomb. Israel for decades has feared the day when the ayatollahs achieve their aim. By launching its first direct military assault on Israeli territory, the Islamic Republic now has given Israel licence to strike back. And the Iranian nuclear facilities present a very tempting target.
The latest indications are that it has made serious progress.
‘‘They have already taken most of the steps they would need to take’’ to build a nuclear weapon, says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and formerly an inspector of the Iranian facilities for the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. Tehran’s greatest obstacle had been how to create highly enriched uranium but now ‘‘they have solved that problem, even better than they expected,’’ Albright told the Washington Post last week. ‘‘You can tell from their statements that they are well aware of what they have.’’
The IAEA still has limited access to the Iranian facilities. According to the Post, the most recent inspection, made in February, reported a stockpile of about 120 kilograms of Uranium-235 enriched to 60 per cent purity, near weapons grade, in Iran’s labs – enough to make at least three bombs.
Israel has its own nuclear weapons, perhaps the world’s worst-kept nuclear secret. So it has a deterrent against an Iranian nuclear strike. And it has time; it’s estimated that while Tehran already has the makings of a bomb, it would need perhaps two years or more to mount it on a deliverable warhead.

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