World Citizen: U.S., Israel not Bluffing on Iran

In the aftermath of the U.S. elections, a central question regarding the West’s standoff with Iran remains crucial: How serious are U.S. and Israeli leaders who assert their determination to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?

The looming question, hovering for years over the diplomatic impasse, is whether the U.S. and Israel have been bluffing when they suggest they might attack Iran if it does not desist from its nuclear ambitions. Is the mantra “all options are on the table” coming from Washington an effort to exert psychological pressure on the Iranian regime, or is it a statement of fact? Are Israel’s ominous warnings about its “red lines” a means to persuade the U.S. and Europe to tighten sanctions, or are they a sign that the Israelis will, in fact, load their bombers and drop ordnance over Iran’s nuclear installations?

The question is a matter of growing urgency. the International Atomic Energy Agency reported a year ago that it had “credible evidence” of Iranian efforts to build a “nuclear explosive device.” And just this week, IAEA head Yukio Amano told the U.N. General Assembly that Tehran is still refusing to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog agency’s investigation into what it suspects is a nuclear weapons program.

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