""We won't be intimidated ... You don't even want us to do some research," said Ahmadinejad. "That's not fair. Even if you bring in the international community, we're still not going to listen to you the way you want. You are just tricking us, and this is not fair. You're not going to stop our research."
He accused the Western nations of using the threat of referral to the U.N. Security Council as a "stick" to threaten Iran. "Every day, they bring in a stick and tell us either we have to listen to them and do what they want or be referred to the Security Council ... You are using it as a stick, you are threatening us with it."" Yahoo News
"And I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down..." (wolf to little pigs) It appears that the Iranian government (the one that Michael Rubin et al say is unpopular in spite of its recent election) has decided that our bark is worse than our bite. They are probably correct. There is a lot of "action" just now in the blogosphere concerning Western "plans" to raise hell with the Iranian "nucular" program with commandos or a massive air campaign. Forget the commando thing. Iran is a large, hostile country. There are literally millions of people there just waiting for an opportunity to help the "authorities" hunt down a commando force. You could get in, but how would you get out? The complex itself is composed of a large number of facilities, some of them hardened against attack. This is not a suitable target set for special operations forces. Could a US air campaign set back the Iranian program enough to be worth considering? Yes, but a fruitful result would require a maximum effort on the part of US Air Force and US Navy world-wide. We are talking about something in the nature of a thousand strike sorties of aircraft and cruise missiles using platforms deployed from all over the planet. One could do this with nuclear weapons at a fraction of the effort and cost, but the rational among us know that this will not happen.
The Israelis? With what set of imaginary assets could the Israelis do anything more than anger the Iranians? Their smallish air force lacks the strength, range, tanker capability, targeting capability, etc. The target set would require numerous waves of re-strikes after bomb damage assessments were made. The Izzies would have to overfly Jordan, Iraq, the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia. All of these countries would object loudly. They are all allies of the United States. Think about it! Would the Shia run government of Iraq give its assent to overflight or, better yet, to use of Iraqi air bases by Israel? Ignore them? Hey! They are the SOVEREIGN government of Iraq. We made them that, and they become more entrenched in government by the day. A talking head host observed last evening that the Israelis have "THE ARROW..." Say what? The Arrow is an anti-ballistic missile weapon with an engagement slant range of about 100 km. Arrow-Iran strike? Duh!
Oh yeah, Osirak. That always comes up in a discussion of Israel and the Iranian program. It is true that Israel struck the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak long ago. The facility was one single set of undefended above ground buildings and the Israelis struck it with half a dozen planes. Not the same thing at all.
So, what is going to happen? Probably not much. We and the Europeans will eventually go to the UN for sanctions against Iran. The Iranians will continue with their program and eventually weaponize. The Iranians will seek reprisals against us all in Iraq and elsewhere. With nuclear weapons in hand Iran will become the dominant local power in the Gulf. They will have no pressing need to use these weapons because their mere possession will ensure that everyone in the region, including Israel, will have to deal with them as a major power.
What do I think of that? I think that an Iran armed with such weapons will be a major rallying point and supply source for jihadi forces everywhere. The possession of such power by Iran will greatly undercut the goals of modernism and democracy which the United States has embraced (for good or ill) in the Islamic World. The probability of a major war in the region will have been greatly increased. What will be the posture of the United States if the Iranians have nuclear weapons and we still have forces in the Gulf and in Iraq? Should Europe feel safe? They should contemplate the ranges of ballistic missiles which the Chinese have previously sold to Middle Eastern countries (Saudi Arabia for example). Who knows what China will sell in the future and to whom.
People will ask if it is not "just" that Iran should have nuclear weapons. I don't care if it is "just" or not. A nuclear Iran is too dangerous to be tolerated.