Analysis

Is Iran Inviting Israel to Attack?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an Organization of the Islamic Conference in Mecca on August 14, 2012. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
August 24, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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With its extreme rhetoric in recent days, Iran seems to be daring Israel to attack. Either Iranian leaders do not think Israel is in fact prepared to attack and are calling its bluff, or they think an Israeli attack can not do significant damage to Iran's nuclear installations. They may have badly miscalculated. This analysis looks at the new spike in tensions and gives LIGNET’s latest estimate on how many nuclear bombs Iran could construct if it converted its low-enriched uranium stockpile to weapons grade uranium.

The calendar also is driving up Israel-Iran tensions. Many experts believe time is running out for Israel to significantly set back Iran’s nuclear program through airstrikes since Iran is moving its nuclear weapons-related activities underground and could rapidly produce enough nuclear fuel for several nuclear weapons even if most of its nuclear sites were destroyed by Israeli bombing. The internal Israeli leadership debate over an attack is also being driven by the U.S. presidential election and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likely belief that Israel’s best chance of gaining American support for an attack on Iran is probably prior to the U.S. election.

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