Tel Aviv, May 30 — Despite international sanctions and other measures against Iran, the Islamic republic is still forging ahead successfully to build a nuclear weapon, said experts speaking Wednesday at a conference on Security Challenges of the 21stCentury: Israel’s Search for Opportunities in a Turbulent Region.
“In the last 10 years, Iran’s paid a very low price given all of the international action against her” and has the capability to become a nuclear power once it decides to do so, said Major Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former head of military intelligence and director of The Institute for National Security Studies, the organization hosting the two-day gathering, which brings together top experts in Israeli defense and policy.
The international community has five tactics at its disposal to stop Iran, said Yadlin: negotiations, crippling sanctions, regime change, covert measures and a military attack. Additionally, “We’ll have to see what happens with sanctions that enter force in the summer,” Yadlin said, referring to European measures set to begin July 1.
If Iran is allowed to achieve nuclear capacity, he said, it would lead to multilateral conflicts and a high risk of nuclear proliferation in the region; Iran sharing its nuclear know-how with its proxies; and a constant temptation to be the first to make a nuclear strike.
“How can you contain a nuclear Iran when you can’t contain a non-nuclear Iran?” Yadlin said.
Major Gen. (ret.) Meir Dagan, former head of the Mossad, argued that any attack on Iran wouldn’t stop the Islamic republic from pursuing its nuclear program.
First and foremost, he said, there must be significant political and economic pressure on Iran. “Regime change is no guarantee” that Iran will halt its nuclear program, Dagan said. But with greater rationale, “Iran might consider the economic price it would have to pay” if it were to forge ahead in its nuclear ambitions.
The international community must seize the opportunity with increased and continued sanctions, Dagan said. “There is a chance now to weaken Iran in the world.”