Kourosh Ziabari: During the recent years, Israel has been incessantly threatening Iran against a nuclear strike and a preemptive war. The United States also has repeated the same slogans with a different frequency. Don't these threats exemplify violation of the UN Charter and Geneva Convention? Do you take seriously these threats? Overall, do you think that either of these two stalwart allies will finally attack Iran?
Abolghasem Bayyenat: As you have also suggested, issuing unprovoked military threats against a sovereign state constitutes a breach of various instruments of international law governing peace and security. These threats should be taken seriously and condemned by the international community as they set a dangerous precedent in international relations. Yet they do not represent a genuine military threat against Iran and remain largely as a propaganda tactic. Israeli leaders understand both the risks and futility of any such military adventures against Iran. There are several factors which discourage the execution of such military threats against Iran. First, there is the feasibility problem in the sense that there are serious challenges for Israel in executing such a military threat against Iran. The long distance between the two countries poses various obstacles for carrying out such a military adventure, including flying over unfriendly countries, refueling problem for attacking aircrafts, Iran's effective air defense and so on.
Second, any such military attacks against Iran's nuclear facilities will largely be ineffective and futile. Most nuclear facilities of Iran are protected with passive defense arrangements, since they are buried deep in mountains or under ground and are also scattered all over the country. Under the best circumstances, any hypothetical attack by Israel on Iran's nuclear facilities will only exert minimal damage on Iran's nuclear capabilities and thus delaying its nuclear progress for only a short time. Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in most elements of its nuclear program and will be able to rebuild its nuclear facilities within a reasonable amount of time drawing on its indigenous capacities.
Third, the fallouts from such a military adventure will be unbearable for Israel. Iran will definitely retaliate against Israel with full force in the event of such an attack on its nuclear facilities. Iran's regional allies will also play their own part in carrying out such a retaliation against Israel. This in turn will raise the prospect of an all-out regional war and Israeli is all but willing to endure such costs. Cool-headed Israeli politicians grasp the extent of calamities that such a military adventure against Iran would unleash for Israel and have thus strongly warned in public against considering such an option.
Other fallouts from such a military adventure may include Iran's withdrawal form the NPT and terminating the IAEA inspections on its nuclear facilities. This would not necessarily mean that Iran will revise its attitude towards nuclear weapons and would rush to build atomic bombs, even though it might be forced to go down that path in the aftermath of such an attack, but would largely signify Iran's frustration with international organizations to guarantee the security of its peaceful nuclear activities. Taking these consequences into account, I think as long as rationality guides national security decision-making in Israel, such military threats will never materialize against Iran.
The United States is even more averse to considering a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities than Israel. The United States is already bogged down in two wars in the neighborhood of Iran and is well aware of its vulnerabilities in these countries , should Iran decide to seriously challenge it in those arenas. To this, one should add a host of domestic problems facing the U.S. government and a public weary of military adventures abroad. For similar reasons, U.S. policy-makers are also convinced of the futility and ineffectiveness of a military option against Iran.
Despite these realities, Israeli politicians tend to repeat their military threats against Iran in part to pressure the United States and other Western powers to intensify their pressure on Iran and in part to divert international attention form their own nuclear weapons arsenal and their continued occupation of the Palestinian lands and their other atrocities against Palestinians.