An attack on Iran in 2013?

According to former top advisers to George W. Bush and Barak Obama, the United States will preventively strike Iran in 2013 if no diplomatic settlement is reached over its nuclear program. From the Times of Israel:

During an on-stage discussion with Dennis Ross and Elliott Abrams halfway through the evening, Washington Institute director Robert Satloff asked the former officials, “Will either America or Israel employ preventive military action against Iran’s nuclear program – yes or no?”

The two replied in unison, “yes.”“Will this happen in 2013?”

Satloff pressed.“Yes,” said Ross.

“Yes, I agree,” added Abrams.


Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran could be referred to the United Nations Security Council if it had “not begun substantive cooperation with the IAEA” by March 2013. This caused Micah Zenko to speculate about a deadline for a US attack, while others suggested the path is simply being prepared for another resolution.

Some well-informed Iran watchers are saying that Ross and Abrams’ prediction is on par with that of White House insiders. Whether that’s true or not, it’s undeniable that pressure will be very high on Obama to ‘do more’ if no headway is made with Iran in the next 6 months.

But according to Zenko, deadlines, while helpful on the pressure-front, can also be detrimental:

Setting a March deadline provides some certainty and perhaps coercive leverage to compel Iran to cooperate with the IAEA. But declaring deadlines also places U.S. “credibility” on the line, generating momentum to use force even if there is no new actionable intelligence that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon. Based on what we know right now, that would be a strategic miscalculation.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.



  1. Iran, as a member of the NPT should only give up its nuclear programs if Irael agree to liquidate all its nuclear wapons since it is not a member of the NPT. I trully belive Iran has all the rights to have a nuclear program just as 10 or more countries have their own. I can’t understand how the US will control its spending when all it thinks about is war, war, war and more wars. How about our education system, our infrastructure, schools, social well being of the citizens. its is all for the militaristic industry for few to make its millions of dollars. I believe oil is what it’s all about. Just keep burning more oil seems to me no one cares about our mother earth. lets get the planet earth all screwed up.

  2. Let’s be clear – this is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy we are talking about, which is in reality a front for AIPAC. Not exactly the most balanced of think tanks.

  3. Keeping the threat of war is itself the policy while war itself is not. This policy keeps non-US investors away from one of the best investment markets, keeps Iran’s influence in check, and the Israeli Lobby happy.

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