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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

The Alternative To An Israeli Attack On Iran

Published Thursday, July 3, 2008

Serious diplomacy, not military action, will bring regional security

Trita Parsi-2
Mr. Trita Parsi is a political analyst and advocate for normalisation of relations between Iran and the US

By Shlomo Ben-Ami and Trita Parsi*


Washington and Jerusalem - Is war between Israel and Iran inevitable? To listen to Iran's radical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Israel's Iranian-born transportation minister Shaul Mofaz, or even recent reports that Israel carried out a major military training mission over the Mediterranean to rehearse an attack on Iran, you might be left with that impression.


Mr. Mofaz's comments last month indicating he would attack Iran didn't help perceptions either. The immediate effect of his statement was a record increase in oil prices – giving Mofaz's Iranian nemeses a windfall of several million dollars.

Mofaz and Mr. Ahmadinejad are wrong. Israel and Iran are not destined to be enemies, nor does the military option present a real way out of the current impasse. In reality, it doesn't offer a solution at all.


Logistical challenges of hitting Iran's nuclear facilities and regional consequences of war aside, military strikes wouldn't destroy any potential clandestine facilities in Iran nor Iran's knowledge of the enrichment process.


To listen to Iran's radical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Israel's Iranian-born transportation minister Shaul Mofaz, one might think that war between Israel and Iran is inevitable.

Even the most successful bombing raid would leave Iran with some nuclear capability. At best, proponents of this option admit, bombing would set back the program five years. During that time the expectation is that the Iranian people miraculously would unseat the country's ruling clergy and dismantle the nuclear program permanently.


This unjustified expectation underlines a central flaw in the outlook of both Jerusalem and Washington: the tendency to treat the risks and repercussions of military operations with extreme optimism, while treating the diplomacy challenges with extreme skepticism.


A much more probable scenario: Tehran would use the attack to invoke Article 10 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and withdraw from the treaty altogether.   


This article gives each party the right to withdraw if it decides that extraordinary events "have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country." Iran would cease all cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, expel all UN inspectors, and by that, deprive the international community of much-needed transparency and insight.


More ominously, the attack could prompt the Iranian leadership to make the crucial decision to seek an actual nuclear bomb and not just the capability to build one, while accentuating Iran's role as a power against the status quo.


Shaul Mofaz
Israeli Iran-born Transport minister Shaul Mofaz said all Iranian nuclear sites must be bombed by Israel.

Consequently, a successful bombing campaign by either the US or Israel would simply guarantee a nuclear armed and vengeful Iran five years down the road. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, said recently that if Iran left the NPT, it could build a nuclear weapon within a year.


To make matters worse, any military attack would reduce rather than increase the likelihood of a democratic takeover. As unpopular as the Iranian government is, the expectation that a secular democratic government would emerge in the aftermath of a bombing campaign is wildly optimistic and reminiscent of the Bush administration's miscalculations going into Iraq. War with Iran would be the death knell and not the savior of the Iranian democracy movement.


Any serious effort to address the Iranian challenge must recognize the true nature of the conflict. There is nothing apocalyptic about the nuclear stand-off or the Israeli-Iranian rivalry. Rather, these are strategically driven conflicts that can be managed and even resolved through the appropriate level of diplomacy.


A give and take is needed between Iran and Israel in which Iran must end its support for violent groups and acknowledge Israel's legitimate security concerns. Israel and the US must accommodate an Iranian role commensurate with its geopolitical weight and use Iran's inclusion into regional political and economic structures to tame Iran's revolutionary impulses.

War with Iran would be the death knell and not the savior of the Iranian democracy movement.


That said, Israeli-Iranian enmity is not entirely dissociated from the Arab-Israeli dispute. The latter definitely facilitates and enhances Iran's strategy of regional destabilization. A regional system of security and cooperation in the Middle East cannot be established without an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. And it is equally important to address the question of nuclear disarmament.


For regional security to be possible it is not only necessary for Iran, Israel, and the US to grant one another minimum levels of recognition, it would also be necessary that Israel discard the notion that the regional order should be based on its nuclear monopoly.


The real choice in the long run is not between suspension of enrichment or war – it is between a verifiably nuclear-free Middle East or uncontrolled proliferation. ENDS ISRAEL-IRAN 5708


Editor’s note: Mr. Shlomo Ben-Ami is vice president of the Toledo International Centre for Peace and former foreign minister of Israel.

Mr. Trita Parsi is the author of several books. "،Treacherous Alliance: Iran, US, Israel Triangle” is the latest of them

This comment was published on 2 July by the Christian Science Monitor

Highlights are by IPS






14 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

mirrar - philippines
Friday, July 4, 2008 06:16 [ 1 ]


Sunday, July 6, 2008 05:52 [ 2 ]

Trita parsi is a Triator. The new secular Democratic goverment of Iran, will bring people like him to Justice.Mr.Parsi enjoys good life in the USA, and travel all teh time to Iran. He is enjoying all the freedom, by spoending all the cash , the illegal Islamic regime in iran has been paying him.mean while Irannian people living under suffocating repression, inflation and horried conditions, of human rights. hundres of decent irannian man and woman are hanged, due to their struggle, against the Cruel islamic regime. MR. Parsi, should remember, what goes around, does come around. Irannian People will bring down the illegal regime, and will bring you to justice. Death to Illegal Islamic regime. Long live secular Democratic goverment of Iran.

Monday, July 7, 2008 19:27 [ 3 ]

To be honest with you, Mr. Parsi's integrity has been always questioned. This guy has been travelling to Iran for a long time now... Please remember that .. I do not trust him at all

Monday, July 7, 2008 23:01 [ 4 ]

Israel is trying to keep Iran from balancing the nuclear score in the region and wants maintain its superiority. Their attack won't fully destroy the Iranian program and it'll only ensure that Iran does pursue the program with full force afterwards. Iran will proceed to pull out of the NPT and cease all cooperation with the IAEA as well. Not only will Israel face a massive Iranian missile attack on it's own nuclear facilities and suffer extensive losses to its attacking aircraft, we all know that Israel will also pay a very heavy price via long term unconventional Iranian responses. With deadly consequences.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 00:02 [ 5 ]

AL you are a traitor too. your words are empty. WE will bring the illegal islamic regime down. Israel will help true irannian nation, to get rid of FILFTHY Mullahs, and THUGS like you AL. Pitifull, trash hypocrite.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 02:52 [ 6 ]

Maybe Iran will take the route that President Kennedy did in 1963 by not acting against Russia and just wait for the new election. Not everyone in the USA agree's that war is the only option. Iran should keep cool and open it's doors to prove this reponse is not necessary.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 22:10 [ 7 ]

Very classy and intelligent mattub, keep it up and you'll get your head cracked open very soon. You think American and Israeli bombs are gonna bring this regime down? It'll work the opposite you "THUG". I'm no fan of the Mullahs, do me a favor, go back and read what I said over again. Maybe by the 20th time you'll see there is no support for mullahs. I just don't like seeing Iran attacked by anyone. Now, go back to the trailer park you came from.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 02:43 [ 8 ]

AL IT seems, you so certain, and aware, of what exactly would happen, if Iran is attacked.ANY attack on Iran, will be in conjuction with a regime change. we all know that, this can not be left open ended, and i am sure Israel also knows it. Iran never cooperated with IAEA,to begin with. They lied about their program and kept it hidden, until it was exposed BY the MKO. After all, AL, why would you NOT be in favour of israel Nuke domination there anyways? you have something against Israel? About my head getting cracked open soon, well, it seems you use violance to get what u want. As a woman, I can CUT you to pieces , AL. wow AL. Death to Islamic regime in IRAN

Iranian Nation
Thursday, July 10, 2008 15:13 [ 9 ]

Death to all MKO traitors...

Friday, July 11, 2008 21:02 [ 10 ]

Mr. Mahtub, With regards, Mr. Parsi has now a court to prove that he does not work secretly for Mullahs in Iran. Let's first see the verdict than you may be right to call him"traitor". Until then he remains an IRI's lobbyist in Washington.DC.

Saturday, July 19, 2008 18:04 [ 11 ]

Reading what the lobbyists of the terrorist regime of Iran say makes me throw up. NIAC, AIC, and Iman Foundation are known dirty paws of the terrorist mullahs. They must be exposed whenever they speak and whereever they are. Be careful, These bastards/lobbyists of the terrorist tazi mullahs have the tendency to label their opposition as MKO just like the terrorist mullahs that feed them.

Somebody needs to tell this agent that people will not be fooled anymore. There is another option. Arming Iranians to get rid of terrorist mullahs and their bastard children made in Efaf houses.
Israel does it best when dealing with arab terrorists. Israel targets and eliminates their leaders.
Same must be done to the terrorist leaders of IRI starting from Mullah Khamenei, Mullah Rafsanjani, and Mullah Khatami.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 09:46 [ 12 ]

RBRK Right on. Killing Mullahs , one by one, is the only way. one by one by one, by one, to uproot, their FILFTHY roots, off beautiful Iran. I have always suggested, to loacte the islamist, where ever you are, and as an true Irani, when you ready to get revenge, take them out. when any irani is dying from a terminal disease, pick up a gun, locate the islamist/thug irani supporters, where ever you live, and KILL them. we will die with smile and peace, as one who contributed to the struggle of irannians, all over the world. one by one myfriend.we all die in peace, and take them with us.

Monday, August 11, 2008 17:16 [ 13 ]

It is obvious that the autor of this article is being fed by islamic republic. I think Unity of Iranian people inside and outside of Iran could easily bring down this regim if we come together world powers will have no choice but supporing such a movemeny.This solution is practical. I came to this conclusion that Islamic republic has created small opposition groups including different political and so called human right groups to creat dvision among Iranians, who have been fighting eachother insted of fighting Islamic republic. We don't need a leader to fallow evryone could be a leader for example let's one day all of us come out of our house and stay in front of our home for a short period Islamic republic would be Paralised and autors such as Mr. non Parsi would not dare to exclud Iranians from Iran . I also want to know if anouther country treatens to wipe out Iran from the map what reaction we would be taking. Thank you, Fard

John Hunt
Friday, September 26, 2008 18:02 [ 14 ]

No level of diplomacy will get Iran to stop enrichment. The more Iran enriches the closer they are technically to being able to produce nuclear weapons en masse. Also, there are many places in Iran which the IAEA has not inspected. Israel can have no certainty about what is being done in these uninspected places. Iran has had nuclear bomb designs, P-3 centrifuge designs, a hidden nuclear program, dealings with the AQ Kahn network, removed a facility and not allowed inspection of the equipment, milling of sperical metal, declined Russia's offer to provide and retrieve nuclear fuel, extended failure to resolve these issues with the IAEA, etc, etc. Iran also refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, funds Hizbollah and Hamas, and chants "Death to Israel" weekly.

Unless Iran can assure Israel through total transparency then we all are inevitably heading to war.

Comments on this page are closed.

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Shlomo Ben-Ami
Shlomo Ben-Ami is the former Foreign Affairs ministr of Israel.

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