X

News & Publications

February 23, 2010

Would Ahmadinejad Welcome an Attack on Iran?


“Bomb Iran!” Few words cause more apprehension among Iranians and Iranian Americans than those two put together. Yet attacking Iran is always among the list of suggestions for how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.
Whether Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy or a weapon is, however, actually becoming irrelevant.  The international community is rallying around the most recent IAEA report, which criticized Iran’s lack of cooperation with the Agency, to lambaste Iran’s continuing nuclear work.
This is exactly what Ahmadinejad was hoping for.
The world’s breathless reporting on Iran’s nuclear program takes the focus off of human rights abuses and the domestic unrest, and ratchets up the possibility of a future confrontation.  And Ahmadinejad is never happier than when he’s in a clash of civilizations with the West.
A recent war game conducted at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy demonstrated that an Israeli-US pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear sites could delay an Iranian bomb for a few years. That said, according to one participant:

There would be almost no incentive for Iran not to respond with force…It was interesting to see how useful it was for Tehran to push the limits. The Tehran regime was also able to crush its domestic political opposition.”

One has to wonder why Iran recently made the decision to move nearly all of its stockpile of enriched uranium to an above-ground facility with wholly inadequate defense against an airstrike.  Could it be that Tehran would actually invite an Israeli attack?
A former Deputy Director General of the IAEA thinks so:

Very recent signals from Tehran indicates that the Ahmadine-jad faction – it seems with the blessing of the Supreme Leader – would welcome a limited Israeli attack on a nuclear facility – for sheer internal political reasons, in order to strengthen the govern-ment and to silence the opposition.

If an attack were to occur, it would do little to actually end the nuclear program in Iran. Rather, it would almost guarantee the end of a legitimate opposition movement inside Iran.

Continuing the nuclear program.  Crushing the Green Movement.  And being able to play the victim on a global stage?  That’s a dream come true for Ahmadinejad.

Back to top